Clinics, Externships, and Experiential Learning

We believe that clinics, externships and other experiential learning courses are exceptional opportunities for you to learn about the law and lawyering and to begin to develop your professional identity.

Our Experiential Learning Guarantee

New York Law School believes that clinical and experiential learning is a critical part of legal education and is committed to providing clinical or experiential learning opportunities for every student. Experiential learning begins in the first year with the required Legal Practice course, and continues in the upper years with a broad, diverse, and exciting array of courses and co-curricular programs. Six experiential learning credits are required for graduation, so every student – day and evening – will be able to participate in sufficient experiential learning opportunities to earn the six credits.
In addition, New York Law School offers a simple guarantee: Every student – day and evening – will be able to enroll in a clinic or externship course. Since most of the upper-level clinical and experiential learning courses are by their nature limited in enrollment, there is no guarantee that you will be admitted to any particular clinic or externship. You may not get your first-choice class – but will be able to take one of these courses.[1]

Clinics and externships are exceptional opportunities for you to learn about the law and lawyering, and to begin to develop your professional identity. The courses are demanding and require time, focus and commitment.

We encourage you to consult with Academic Affairs, with your faculty adviser, or with the Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning (“OCEL”), as early as possible, to plan your schedule.

[1] One caveat: part-time evening students with commitments throughout the regular work week who do not have flexibility in their schedules may not be able to participate in clinics and externships that require daytime availability.

Clinical and Experiential Learning Courses

In 2019-20 New York Law School will offer a broad and robust array of experiential learning opportunities, including:  nineteen clinics, fifteen simulation courses, four field placements, three competition teams, law office and judicial externships, upper level writing courses, and coordinated course programs.

At the heart of all of these programs is the opportunity to learn by doing. In clinics, students may work directly on cases or transactions or advocacy campaigns. In externships they may work for an outside lawyer or judge.  In field placements they may work in government or legal services offices.  In classroom simulations, they may practice interviewing clients or cross-examining witnesses, among other skills.  Students may build their research and writing skills in upper-level writing courses by preparing the sorts of documents, from contracts to briefs, for which they may be responsible in actual practice later on. Students may also join one of our competition teams, whether traditional moot court (focused on appellate advocacy) or newer teams focused on such skills as interviewing, negotiation, and trial advocacy. Last but not least, our coordinated course programs offer sets of courses that together will give you the chance for repeated and deepening exposure to important legal skills areas. These programs include the Alternative Dispute Resolution Skills Program, the new Advocacy Program (which will offer Advocacy Certificates in Civil, Criminal or Appellate Advocacy), and the Pro Bono Scholars Program.

These classes and activities offer training in skills. They also offer training in substantive law and procedure, and legal reasoning and analysis in the context of the problems of real or simulated client.  Lawyers employ their skills on actual problems and controversies, and for law students the experience of performing as lawyers is a powerful way to learn what lawyers do.  Many of the programs give students direct experience in the particular areas of practice in which they are interested, and provide networking opportunities that will be of real assistance in a job search.

Additionally, a student’s work in many of these courses satisfy in full or in part the New York Court of Appeals’ new requirement of 50 hours of pro bono legal work as a prerequisite for admission to the New York bar.  Students should, of course, confirm with Academic Affairs and the professor teaching any course they’re interested in to determine whether work in that particular course qualifies to meet the pro bono requirement.