Member Spotlight: New York Law School

Posted on August 2nd, 2019

Founded in 1891, New York Law School (NYLS) is an independent law school located in Tribeca—the heart of New York City’s legal, government, financial, and emerging tech centers. Campus is steps from the courts, government agencies, Wall Street businesses, law firms, and tech companies. NYLS proudly embraces the city as its classroom and has adopted the motto We are New York’s Law School. NYLS offers full-time and part-time J.D. programs, as well as an LL.M. in Taxation program. The School enrolls more than 1,000 students.


NYLS was founded in 1891 by faculty, students, and alumni who broke away from Columbia Law School. NYLS soon became known for its innovative educational methods, launching one of the nation’s first J.D. evening programs in 1894.

From early in NYLS’s history, the School has welcomed people of all backgrounds, and its graduates have distinguished themselves as builders, icons, and visionaries. Early alumni were among the founders or name partners of several prominent law firms, including Proskauer, Davis Polk, Jackson Lewis, Milbank, and Paul, Weiss; others achieved historic firsts in law, business, and government. Today, alumni serve in all levels of the judiciary, in large and small law firms, as global leaders in industry, and as national and local elected officials.

During 2015 and 2016, NYLS celebrated its 125th Anniversary, a tribute to its rich history and a look ahead to its vision for the next 125 years. During 2019, NYLS’s Evening Division is celebrating its 125th year.


Anthony W. Crowell was named NYLS’s 16th Dean and President in May 2012. Dean Crowell previously served as Counselor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

His initiatives have included implementing the School’s first comprehensive Strategic Plan; creating the School’s first Institutional Diversity and Inclusion Plan and its Office of Diversity and Inclusion; adopting a new curriculum, “Think BIG,” that targets areas of growth in the global economy; vastly expanding clinics; initiating a Public Service Scholarship Program; and enhancing career planning and placement, student and alumni engagement, and fundraising.


NYLS’s faculty members are internationally renowned experts in their fields and caring mentors to their students. They have served as leaders in law firms, businesses, government, and public-interest organizations; testified before Congress; founded nonprofits and startups; authored noteworthy books and articles; and appeared on national television to discuss timely news issues. The School also benefits from its adjunct faculty, a group of talented practitioners drawn from New York City’s rich legal marketplace.


In response to the changing legal marketplace, NYLS redesigned its curriculum to align with key areas of job growth. The new curriculum, called Think BIG, enables students to select one of three specialized career pathways:

  • Business and Financial Services
  • Intellectual Property and Privacy
  • Government and Public Interest Law

Beginning in their second year (Day Division) or third year (Evening Division), students choose from a broad array of elective courses organized under the above three umbrella practice areas. NYLS’s academic centers and clinics also align with these priority areas. As a result, students train both in and out of the classroom for today’s in-demand legal careers.

Academic Centers and Institutes

NYLS’s six academic centers allow students and faculty members to collaborate on specialized projects:

  • Center for Business and Financial Law
  • Center for International Law
  • Center for New York City Law
  • Center for Real Estate Studies
  • Impact Center for Public Interest Law
  • Innovation Center for Law and Technology

Other specialized offerings include NYLS’s Business of Law Institute, which launched in 2018 and prepares law students and lawyers for careers in the burgeoning legal tech sector, and its Racial Justice Project, which was expanded in 2019 to include both domestic and international projects.

Clinical and Experiential Programs

NYLS’s Joe Plumeri Center for Social Justice and Economic Opportunity houses more than 20 clinics and experiential learning programs that teach students practical lawyering skills, provide free legal representation to low-income clients, and address critical and newsworthy legal needs. Highlights include a new Asylum Clinic, aiding refugee families; a Cyberharassment Clinic, the nation’s only law school clinic exclusively dedicated to protecting victims of online harassment; and dual patent and trademark clinics operated in partnership with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. NYLS also offers cutting-edge simulation courses and a wide range of externships, made possible by the School’s prime location.

Co-Curricular Programs

Three student competition teams and the New York Law School Law Review provide additional avenues for students to think, write, and speak like lawyers. NYLS students have placed at the top of student competitions whose topics range from immigration law to dispute resolution, family law, and technology.

A Community and a Destination for Civic Discourse

NYLS’s student body—tenacious, engaged, and diverse—represents a wide cross-section of talent. Of the 2018 entering class, nearly 60 percent are women, 31 percent are underrepresented minorities, and 30 percent are first-generation college students. The same cohort hails from 182 undergraduate institutions and speaks 38 native languages. NYLS’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and numerous student affinity groups help students of all backgrounds thrive on campus.

In 2018, NYLS was recognized by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. for outstanding commitment to diversity as a legal educator. Its chapter of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) won northeast regional awards in 2016 and 2017, and in January 2019, the President of NYLS’s BLSA chapter was named the 2019 Chapter President of the Year for the Northeast Region of BLSA.

The School’s vast and high-powered alumni network, most of whom reside in metropolitan New York, are highly engaged with NYLS and professionally successful. NYLS’s Alumni Association regularly provides mentoring and networking opportunities to students.

Every year, national leaders address the NYLS community. Speakers have included current or former U.S. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan Jr., Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Sandra Day O’Connor; former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo; former New York City Mayors Edward Koch, David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani, and Michael R. Bloomberg and current Mayor Bill de Blasio; then-United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; then-U.S. Senator John Kerry; and former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara.