Curriculum and Requirements

Curriculum and Requirements

New York Law School’s 86-credit J.D. Program is demanding yet flexible, providing the high-caliber foundational education all lawyers need while allowing plentiful opportunities for students to follow their interests, find their focus, and gain skills in a rapidly growing area of law.


Through NYLS’s Think BIG curriculum, students choose one of three in-demand legal pathways: Business and financial services, Intellectual property and privacy, and Government and public interest law. The curriculum includes core foundational courses and more than 250 upper-level electives. Explore all courses. NYLS also offers summer programs for those who wish to accelerate their study of law during the summer.

Core Curriculum

NYLS’s day and evening J.D. pathways share a core curriculum. Day Division students follow the timeline below, while Evening Division students complete the same courses over their four years of study, with slight variations in their 1L and 2L year course sequencing.

1L Year

2L Year

Students interested in careers in transactional practice should take Corporations, and students interested in criminal or litigation-focused careers should take Evidence.

Between the 2L and 3L Year

Students must take two to three of the above Gateway/Bar Topic courses. Students must also take an additional course in either Corporations or Evidence.

3L Year

Introduction to MEE is required for students who finished in the bottom 75 percent of their first year.

Degree Requirements

Successful completion of each requirement listed below is necessary to earn a J.D. from NYLS. 

1. Complete a minimum of 86 credits.

2. Earn a "B-" or better in a course approved to satisfy the Writing Requirement. Note: This requirement is in addition to the first-year required courses Legal Practice I and Legal Practice II. Detailed guidance on the Writing Requirement can be found on the Academics section of the NYLS Portal.

3. Earn a "B-" or better in 6 credits of coursework approved for the Experiential Learning Requirement. Learn more about the School’s Clinical and Experiential Learning programs.

4. Completion of the 3-credit Professional Responsibility course (or its criminal practice counterpart) preferably during 2L or 3LE year.

View the School’s grading policy.

New York State Bar Requirement

In order to be admitted to the New York bar, candidates must submit certification that they have done at least 50 hours of pro bono legal work, supervised by an attorney, on behalf of low-income people or organizations that cannot otherwise afford representation, or work at a government agency or court. This is not a School requirement; it is set by the New York State Court of Appeals for admission to the New York bar, which the vast majority of NYLS students seek upon graduation. Some clinics and field placements may help a student satisfy those requirements. Learn more about the School’s Clinical and Experiential Learning Pro Bono Initiatives.

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