Directory

City University of New York CUNY School of Law

City University of New York
CUNY School of Law
2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
www.law.cuny.edu

Law School Pro Bono Programs 

Contact Information

Cheryl Howard
Interim Assistant
Dean of Student Affairs
Director
Pipeline to Justice Program
E-mail
P: (718) 340-4487

Category Type

Public Service Graduation Requirement Program

Description of Programs

CUNY School of Law pro bono program is a hybrid of the above types of two of the above types of pro bono programs; it is both an independent student pro bono group projects as well as a program in which there is a graduation requirement for pro bono service. The Law School's pro bono program is in effect a pro bono graduation requirement program by virtue of the requirement that all students are required to take a clinical or concentration course; since all the clinics and concentrations require a degree of providing pro bono assistance to disadvantaged persons or groups, the clinical/concentration requirement amounts to a pro bono graduation requirement. Moreover there are independent student pro bono projects that are primarily organized and maintained by the students themselves.

Location of Programs

The Law School Clinics houses the public service graduation requirement program while the Office of Student Affairs which provides administrative support to independent student run pro bono projects. The Career Planning Office publicizes pro bono opportunities open to individual students and groups.

Staffing/Management/Oversight

Dean Michelle Anderson oversees the CUNY School of Law which is a public interest law center. The Clinic is overseen by the Associate Dean of the Clinic, Sameer Ashar. The Associate Dean of Student Affairs oversees administrative support provided independently maintained student pro bono group activities such as the Mississippi project and the Career Planning Office publicizes group and individual pro bono opportunities and is overseen by Director Sam Sue.

The Community Legal Resource Network which is an incubator program for community based private law firms started by CUNY Law graduates is directed by Fred Rooney. He also oversees the innovative post graduate public interest project called Launchpad for Success which employs 2009 year law graduates in positions providing assistance to pro se litigants in housing and civil courts in New York City. The Director of the Center for Latino Rights and Equality is Jenny Rivera and the Director of the Center on Diversity in the Legal Profession is Pamela Edwards.

Funding

CUNY School of Law is a public interest law center and law school, which is a New York State funded entity of the City University of New York.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Asian Pacific American Law Students Association - Organizes student participation in projects of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund.

Domestic Violence Coalition - Runs the Court Advocacy Project in which trained students assist domestic violence survivors seeking protection orders in Family Court.

National Lawyers Guild - Coordinates student involvement in Street Law Project.

The Mississippi Project - Student volunteers work with community and public interest groups in the Mississippi delta during the break between fall and spring semesters.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

The CUNY Law faculty is made up of public interest practitioners and scholars most of whom who actively engage in pro bono activities. Among them and affiliations are: Franklin Siegel and Rhonda Copelon (Center for Constitutional Rights); Sameer Ashar and Shirley Lung (Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund).

Awards/Recognition

Because the CUNY School of Law's mission is to train students to become public interest lawyers, there are no formal awards. There is recognition for the pro bono hours that students put into volunteer public interest legal work at Commencement.

Community Service

Students engage in various non legal community service activities such as blood drives, clothing collections for victims of natural disasters.

Law School Public Interest Programs 

Contact Information

Cheryl Howard
Interim Assistant
Dean of Student Affairs
Director
Pipeline to Justice Program
E-mail
P: (718) 340-4487

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

The entire curriculum at the CUNY School of Law is designed by a faculty of public interest lawyers and scholars to serve students who plan to do public interest practice. Public interest is infused throughout the Law School's curriculum. The mission of the CUNY School of law is to educate students for the practice of law with special emphasis on public service and public interest law.

Public Interest Centers

The CUNY School of Law is a public interest law center. The mission of the CUNY School of law is to educate students for the practice of law with special emphasis on public service and public interest law.

Public Interest Clinics

Criminal Defenders Clinic
Mediation Clinic
Immigration & Refugee Rights Clinic
Elder Law Clinic
Economic Development Clinic
International Women's Human Rights Clinic
Economic Justice Clinic
Heath Law Concentration
Equality Concentration

Externships/Internships

Most students engage in public interest/public service internships during the summer. During the school year, students have several externship opportunities that are available for credit: the 2nd year, 2nd semester lawyering seminar called "Writing from a Judicial Perspective," involves a short term placement with a state or federal court or administrative court. All students are required to take a public interest law clinic in their third year; the clinic placement usually requires providing service to economically disadvantaged clients.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Our entire curriculum is designed to serve students who plan to do public interest practice. The mission of the CUNY School of Law is to educate students for the practice of law with special interest on public service and public interest law. Thus a law degree from the CUNY School of Law is a degree in public interest law. Moreover, students may choose to take specialize by taking sequences of course. The specialization may be in any one of the following areas of practice: immigration, labor law, international human rights, civil rights and equality, and health.

Public Interest Journals

New York City Law Review http://www.law.cuny.edu/academics/LawReview.html

Public Interest Career Support Center

Because the mission of CUNY School of Law is to train attorneys who practice "law in the service of human needs," the Career Planning Office is primarily geared to providing public interest career assistance. The Career Planning Office has two full time counselors, both highly experienced public interest law practitioners. Moreover we provide students with many, many different online resources on public interest opportunities including but not limited to www.pslawnet.org, our own Law Job Portal maintained by Symplicity. CUNY Law School is the leader in public interest post graduation employment. By percentage, CUNY Law School is the national leader in public sector (nonprofit, government and judicial) employment.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Law School tuition for in-state residents and out of state residents is highly affordable and as a result, there is only a limited LRAP program that has in past years provided assistance to 2-5 recent graduates who are in public interest positions.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None

Graduate Student Funded:

None

Other Funding Sources:

CUNY Law students have consistently won public interest fellowships for post-graduate positions from funding sources that include the following: Equal Justice Works Fellowships, the Skadden Fellowship, the Yale Public Interest Initiative Grant as well as Echoing Green, the Borchand Fellowship, Independence Foundation Fellowship and New Voices.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Scholarships With Programmatic Requirements 2007-2008

Award made to those applicants with academic credentials as well as previous accomplishments in public service.
60 inclusive of all students not just 3L's
Grad Fellows

Award made to those applicants with academic credentials as well as previous accomplishments in public service.
60 inclusive of all students not just 3L's
Pipeline to Justice Fellows

Awards made to students from underrepresented groups who have been participants in the pre-law Pipeline to Justice Program.
60 inclusive of all students not just 3L's
Number of Public Interest Scholars or Fellows who Received Financial Assistance in 2007-08:60

Public interest scholarships without programmatic requirements

Dean's Scholar
Financial assistance outside of fellowships to students demonstrating strong public interest commitment.
14
Full tuition scholarship
Kyle Jewell
In conjunction with a summer fellowship to work with at risk children, students receive a scholarship that amounts to a tuition waiver.
4
Full tuition scholarship
Equity scholarship
For students interested in working in the area of educational equity
6
Full tuition scholarship

Graduate Student Funded:

None

Other Funding Sources:

Project Equity - We have Project Equity, a program that gives funding ($10,000/year) to law students who are interested in addressing issues involving special education especially those faced by autistic students. Students receiving these fellowships will receive special course work and connect public interest organizations in the city that work with students in special education.

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Frank Durkham Fellowship $5,000

O'Dwyer Human Rights Fellowship $3,000

Boyers Davis Zerdin Fellowship $3,000

Jo-Anne Weissbart Fellowship $4,000

Shannara Gilbert Fellowship $1,500

Natalya Paul Cowan Fellowship $2,500

Kyle Jewell Fellowship $500

Graduate Student Funded:

PILA fellowships $2,500

BLSA Fellowships $3,000

rish Law Students Fellowship $3,000

Other Funding Sources:

CUNY Law Students have consistently been awarded the Charles H. Revson Law Student Public Interest fellowship ($4500) and have consistently obtained fellowships from the New York County Lawyers' Association Minority Judicial Internship grant, Community Service Society Haywood Burns summer fellowship, the National Lawyers Guild summer fellowships, the Peggy Browning Fund summer fellowships

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

New York City Law Review Symposium - The Law School's Law Review conducts symposia on public interest topics. Past symposia have been held on community economic development and more recently nonprofit organizations.

Heywood Burns Annual Lecture - There is an annual lecture from those appointed to the Heywood Burns Chair. Haywood Burns, the Law School's second Dean, died tragically in an automobile accident in South Africa on April 2, 1996. In his memory, the Law School established a Chair in Civil Rights

Student Public Interest Groups

  • The Mississippi Project
  • Labor Coalition
  • Asian/Pacific American Law Students Association
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Court Advocates Project
  • Irish Law Students Association
  • Latin American Law Students Association
  • National Lawyers Guild chapter
  • Public Interest Law Association
  • Constitution Law Society
  • New York City Law Review
  • Moot Court
  • Contemplative Urban Law Program
  • Criminal Law Society
  • CUNY OUTlaws
  • Muslim Law Students Association
  • South Asian Law Students Association

August 6, 2018