Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
Cardozo Law offers a well-rounded and stimulating intellectual law school experience, combining theory and practice in the heart of Manhattan. The school is known for superb programs in intellectual property and information law, alternative dispute resolution, and criminal law, as well as for offering extensive hands-on clinical experiences that include the original Innocence Project. In addition to offering over a dozen clinics, the school recently developed a new field clinic model in partnership with major law offices in the New York region. Field clinics offer students pathways into emerging fields of law including health care, immigration law, consumer debt, city and state government, art law, and special education.
As part of a leading research university, the school holds to a deeply rooted mission in ethics, public service, and scholarship. Innovation in programming has been a hallmark of the school since its inception with a host of groundbreaking initiatives, including the Innocence Project; the Intensive Trial Advocacy Program; the Filmmakers Legal Clinic; the Tech Startup Clinic; the Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights; the Cardozo Patent Diversity Project; the Blockchain Project; the Fashion, Arts, Media and Entertainment (FAME) Center; and the Program in Law and Literature. Six January Law & Life Intensives teach lawyering skills through immersion programs in specific areas of law. The January Intensive in Transactional Law is a two-week simulation course for lawyers working on all aspects of business deals.
Cardozo provides students with creative problem-solving skills as well as a deep understanding of how law relates to other expressions of the human spirit, including philosophy, economics, politics, history, art, and literature. The school offers robust programs in international and human rights law, public interest law, and comparative legal theory.
The Cardozo faculty is nationally recognized for scholarly achievement. They are the heart of an energetic and intellectually vibrant community that engages a diverse student body from almost 30 countries and all regions of the United States. The Heyman Center for Corporate Governance connects business leaders to Cardozo students.
Six student journals include the highly regarded Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal and the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, which has bestowed its International Advocate for Peace Award to two US presidents and a highly prestigious group of activists, filmmakers, diplomats, and negotiators.
The JD Program
Cardozo's Juris Doctor (J.D.) program combines a strong foundation of first-year courses in legal skills and methods with a rich and varied upper-level elective curriculum. We offer a traditional law school program of study consisting of 84 academic credits earned over three years. The first-year program consists of 30 credits, all in required courses. Second- and third-year courses are largely elective.
Cardozo Law offers two entry programs; the traditional Fall-entry program, and our unique May-entry program. Students who begin in May spread out the first-year curriculum over three semesters: summer, fall and spring and learn from the same renowned faculty as students who start in the fall. May and fall-students take classes together in the fall and spring semesters. May students enjoy the same opportunities to participate in clinics, journals and internships, and graduate at the same time as fall-entering students.
Cardozo's upper-level courses vary from year to year, and new offerings are added to the curriculum in response to student interest and global and national events that impact the law.
Cardozo offers 11 in-house clinics taught by full-time faculty that enable students to work on real cases with significant social impact while they are still in law school. Clinic students meet one or two days a week in the classroom, with students typically spending multiple days each week working on their cases, meeting with clients or partner organizations. Clinic students interview clients and witnesses, draft pleadings and briefs, conduct discovery, counsel clients, mediate, draft and negotiate contracts, argue motions or appeals and conduct hearings in court, an negotiate settlements, among other tasks.
Our in-house clinics include:
Bet Tzedek Civil Litigation Clinic
Civil Rights Clinic
Criminal Defense Clinic
Divorce Mediation Clinic
Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic
Immigration Justice Clinic
Filmmakers Legal Clinic
The Innocence Project
Securities Arbitration Clinic
Tech Startup Clinic
Cardozo Law’s Field Clinic Program offers students unique opportunities to participate in the practice of law under the direct supervision of experienced mentor-attorneys. Students work with individual clients, assist with impact litigation, contribute to policy initiatives, engage in community legal education and support legislative advocacy. Cardozo Law’s Field Clinics partner students with select dynamic nonprofit and government law offices throughout the New York City metropolitan region.
Field clinics help students who are eager for real-world experience gain an edge in a legal landscape in which employers expect graduates to be practice-ready. At the forefront of legal education, they enable students to work collaboratively in a focused area of law with accomplished practitioners who provide intensive instruction and supervision. Students work at legal placements while attending seminars taught by supervising attorneys. Students develop powerful advocacy and critical-thinking skills by assisting with impact litigation, prosecuting and defending their own cases, drafting and commenting on legislation, helping formulate policy initiatives and engaging in rigorous research, writing and legal analysis.
Cardozo's Field Clinics include:
Appropriate Dispute Resolution Field Clinic
Bronx Defenders/Mainzer Family Defense Field Clinic
Civil Rights in Immigration Law Field Clinic
Consumer Rights Field Clinic
Criminal Appeals Field Clinic
Department of Financial Services Field Clinic
Federal Criminal Prosecution Field Clinic
Health Care Reform Field Clinic
New York City Law Department Appeals Division Field Clinic
New York City Law Department Juvenile Delinquency Field Clinic
New York City Law Department Labor and Employment Law Field Clinic
New York State Office of the Attorney General Field Clinic
Special Education Law and Advocacy Field Clinic
State Criminal Prosecution Field Clinic - Queens County District Attorney
Tax Law Field Clinic
Visual and Performing Arts Law Field Clinic
Cardozo offers students a wide variety of externships where students obtain credit for substantive legal work under the direct supervision of an attorney or judge at the work site, while taking a related seminar. The Intellectual Property Externship Program and the Real Estate Externship Program combine a specialized curriculum with related externships in this burgeoning area of their respective practices; the Public Sector Externship Program offers students the opportunity to extern in one of the hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the New York area, in the chambers of a federal or state judge, or in one of the many government agencies; the Private Sector Externship Program allows students to learn about small and midsized law firm culture and dynamics while gaining exposure to diverse practice areas; and the Heyman/ACCA In-House Counsel Internship introduces second- and third-year students to the practice of law in a corporate law department. Finally, the Alexander Fellows Program places outstanding second- and third-year students in clerkships with prominent federal judges.
Study Abroad and International Programs
The aim of Cardozo's study abroad programs is to offer law students and future lawyers a large variety of international elective courses in their fields of interest, in-depth acquaintance with the intricacies of other legal systems around the world and a new perspective on current global legal issues.
Students may apply to spend a semester abroad during their fourth, fifth or sixth semesters of law school.
Cardozo Law offers the following semester study abroad programs:
Amsterdam Law School (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Bucerius Law School (Hamburg, Germany)
Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
ESADE (Barcelona, Spain)
Peking University Law School (Beijing, China)
Tel Aviv University (Tel Aviv, Israel)
University of Oxford (Oxford, England)
University of Paris X-Nanterre (Paris, France)
University of Roma Tre (Rome, Italy)
University of Sydney Law School (Sydney, Australia)
Additionally, in some cases students may receive permission to study abroad at other institutions through an individual study abroad program. In the past, students have arranged independent study abroad programs in Shanghai, China; Santiago, Chile; Copenhagen, Denmark; Cairo, Egypt.
Students have also studied abroad in ABA-approved programs through other U.S. law schools in Japan and London.
Dual J.D. and MBE Program
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Cardozo School of Law offer a joint-degree pathway for law students to obtain a J.D. and an M.S. in Bioethics. Students are able to complete requirements for both degrees in 3 to 4 years at significantly reduced tuition.
Journals and Honor Societies
The school sponsors student-run journals that publish articles by distinguished academics and practitioners along with student notes and comments. These journals often sponsor symposia that lead to special volumes. Cardozo students and faculty also produce the New York Real Estate Law Reporter and, in cooperation with the University of California Press, Law and Literature.
Students are selected to join the journal staff on the basis of academic achievement and writing ability. Second-year students write scholarly comments and conduct research, verify sources and perform other editorial duties. Third-year students can become members of a journal’s editorial board; as board members, they are responsible for editing student comments and outside pieces. Each year, students receive one credit for staff positions or two credits for editorial-board positions.
Additionally, students have the opportunity to join the Moot Court Honor Society or the ADR Competition Honor Society instead of a journal.
Cardozo Law students participate in a variety of student organizations that reflect the diverse and distinctive student body. These organizations often collaborate with programs and centers to host events and symposia, and each group selects its leadership and activities.
Living and Working in NYC
Cardozo students come from more than 135 diverse undergraduate institutions and bring with them a wide cross-section of skills, backgrounds and experiences that enhance the life of the school.
New York City’s museums, sports arenas, clubs, theaters and concert venues offer a break from students’ studies. Urban life includes sights such as the windows of Fifth Avenue, the scenic waterfront, The High Line and Washington Square Park. And then there’s the food—from “Little Tokyo” on St. Mark’s Place, to cozy village gastropubs and bakeries, to Chinatown’s dumpling counters, New York cuisine offers something for every palate.
Cardozo Law is in the heart of New York City, one of the largest legal communities in the world. Our students work throughout the five boroughs, and groundbreaking legal and business events occur at the school. As a Cardozo Law student, you’ll also benefit from our strong ties to institutions and organizations—from the Manhattan D.A.'s office, where over 32 Cardozo alumni are practicing, to the United Nations.
Cardozo offers student housing at The Benjamin, one subway stop away at Lexington Avenue and 29th Street. It offers fully-furnished, air-conditioned units ranging from studios to three-bedrooms.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
Cardozo students benefit from a large network of working alumni and a career services office staffed by seven professional counselors, all of whom have JD degrees. Students are offered individual assistance with interviewing techniques, résumé writing, and job-search strategies, as well as workshops and opportunities for learning about a variety of legal careers from attorneys in the field.
Tuition and Aid
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Once you are admitted to Cardozo Law you will automatically be considered for merit-based scholarships and grants based on the strength of your admissions application. Merit-based scholarships are guaranteed to be automatically renewed each year provided that students remain in good academic standing and are registered full-time.
All applicants are considered for the following scholarships or grants upon admission to Cardozo:
The Dean’s Merit Scholarship is offered in varying amounts to entering students nominated by the Admissions Committee on the basis of academic credentials and demonstrated potential for success in the legal profession.
The E. Nathaniel Gates Scholarship, named after a former Cardozo professor, recognizes outstanding potential in those who are first-generation graduate students or who come from backgrounds under-represented in the legal profession. Professor Gates, a member of the Cardozo faculty from 1992 until his death in 2006, was the first member of his immediate family to attend college and law school. He served as advisor to important student initiatives and organizations, including the Diversity Coalition and the Black, Asian, and Latino Law Students Association, and at the time of his death was working on a sweeping examination of race in American law dating back to the colonial period.
The David Martinidez Scholarship, named after the former Dean of Admissions, provides scholarship funding for eligible underrepresented students from diverse backgrounds.
Cardozo awards a limited number of need-based grants to qualifying J.D. students. Applicants must file a FAFSA (international students should file the International J.D. Student Financial Aid Application) to be considered for these awards.
Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
In recent years, Cardozo has received thousands of applications from an impressive pool of J.D. applicants. The Admissions Committee generally reviews applications in the order in which they become complete. However, decisions are not necessarily made in the order in which applications are forwarded for review.
During the review process, the Committee not only evaluates the merits of each application individually, but also relative to all other applications in the pool. Some applications may receive a decision fairly quickly; in many cases, however, the Committee’s comparative appraisal of a file is a lengthier process, to allow the Committee to re-review an application and carefully assess a candidate’s strength in comparison to the full applicant pool.
As long as a candidate’s file is completed in a timely manner, her/his application will be thoroughly reviewed and given full and complete consideration. Due to the careful assessment of each individual application, the Admissions Committee is unable to guarantee a decision will be made on an application within a particular time frame.
We are charged with shaping a talented, interesting and diverse class that we feel will contribute to the continued growth of the Cardozo School of Law. In this quest, we complete a holistic review, which allows us to assess the applicant's academic competitiveness as well as to assess the other ways that we feel an applicant will contribute to the Cardozo community.
Cardozo considers a variety of factors when evaluating an application. Some of those factors are prior academic performance, your LSAT score, letters of recommendation and personal statement--both as a writing sample and as a tool to learn more about you. The Committee will also consider graduate work, professional background, internships, research experience, ethnicity and geography. You are also encouraged to include an addendum if there are other factors you would like to bring to the attention of the Admissions Committee.