NYLS Named a “Top Law School” in Family Law, Human Rights Law

NYLS earned A’s from preLaw magazine in both Family Law and Human Rights Law. (Read preLaw’s 2019 back-to-school issue.)

A Top School for Family Law

preLaw MagazineFamily Law is an important area of interest for NYLS students. The School has a dedicated academic institute, the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families, part of its highly active Impact Center for Public Interest Law.

NYLS alumni have pursued a variety of careers in this field, including representing children in custody or child welfare cases, domestic violence advocacy, private matrimonial practice, education advocacy, and work with government child welfare and juvenile justice agencies.

In addition to “Family Law,” an introductory doctrinal course, NYLS’s family and children’s law offerings include:

  • An Education Law Clinic, in which students represent children who have been suspended from school
  • An Immigration Law and Litigation Clinic, in which students help provide legal representation to unaccompanied children and teenagers in New York immigration court and Family Court
  • An Elder Law and Guardianship Field Placement and Seminar, in which students assist with adult guardianship proceedings
  • Street Law, in which law students teach New York City high schoolers about legal topics
  • The Marriage License Project, through which students represent individuals who have been wrongfully denied marriage licenses because they were victims of identity theft
  • Family law externship opportunities
  • Simulation courses: “Family Law in Practice” and “Children and the Law in Practice”

Faculty leaders in Family Law include Professors Richard Chused, Kris Franklin, Lisa Grumet (Director of the Abbey Institute), Arthur Leonard, Richard Marsico (Director of the Impact Center), and Samantha Pownall ’11.

A Top School for Human Rights Law

Many NYLS students pursue Human Rights Law. For more than 20 years, the School’s Center for International Law has been a hub for student projects and major events on human rights law and international law. Past events have featured internationally recognized leaders, including former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The center is planning timely new activities and projects this year.

Regularly offered courses in this practice area include:

  • Comparative Human Rights Systems in Context—Africa and the Caribbean
  • Constitutional Law in South Africa After Apartheid
  • International Human Rights Field Placement and Seminar
  • International Human Rights and Mental Disability Law
  • Racial Justice Advocacy
  • Refugee and Asylum Law
  • Transitional/Global Justice Network

In fall 2017, NYLS launched its Asylum Clinic, which complements the School’s existing immigration law courses. The Asylum Clinic’s special focus is international refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries and seeking safety in the United States. The clinic handles cases in-house and works with outside nonprofit organizations on ancillary services, such as access to public benefits, with the goal of helping refugees achieve self-sufficiency.

In 2019, NYLS created the Stephen J. Ellmann Fellowship, in memory of Professor Stephen J. Ellmann, who was a leading scholar on the rule of law in South Africa and a beloved member of NYLS’s faculty. Stephen J. Ellmann Judicial Fellows serve as judicial clerks at the Gauteng Division of the High Court in South Africa.

Faculty leaders in this field include Professors Penelope Andrews, Lenni Benson, Frank Munger, Nadine Strossen, and Ruti Teitel, as well as Adjunct Professors Barry Appleton (Co-Director of the Center for International Law), Desiree Hernandez ’08, and Claire Thomas ’11.

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