The CUNY Law Program: Integration of Doctrine, Practice & Theory in the Preparation of Lawyers

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Bezdek, Barbara L.
clinical legal education; Law
article description
The CUNY Law Program differs markedly from every other law school in the United States. Founded in 1983, at a great, diverse, public university sprawling across New York City, its curriculum emerged from the Law School's mandate to rethink the traditional law school curriculum and develop approaches oriented toward public interest and public service law, with emphasis on clinical teaching methods. In this paper, the author provides a concrete description of the CUNY Program, and articulates the principles expressed by CUNY's extensive redesign of typical American legal education. Since it began in 1983, the CUNY Law Program has been the subject of much scrutiny, in academic journals, bar publications, and the general press. Articles published in American law journals are indicated in the note on further sources, below. The author was a member of the CUNY Law Faculty from 1984 until she joined the faculty of the University of Maryland in 1989. Special gratitude is owed to Howard Lesnick, principal conceptual architect of the CUNY curriculum, from whose papers a portion of this report draws.