Brooklyn Law School: Wikis


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Brooklyn Law School

Students in front of Brooklyn Law School's main building located at 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn New York
Established 1901
Type Private
Endowment $115 million [1]
Dean Joan G. Wexler
Location Brooklyn, New York, USA
Campus Urban
Brooklyn Law School Seal

Brooklyn Law School (BLS) is a law school located in Downtown Brooklyn, New York City.



Founded in 1901 by William Payson Richardson and Norman P. Heffley, Brooklyn Law School was the first law school on Long Island.[2] Using space provided by Heffley’s business school, the law school opened Sept. 30, 1901 with five faculty members (including Richardson as dean and Heffley as president) and two special lecturers.

The year started with five students and ended with 28.[3] In late 1901, the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York gave the school a limited charter. Although the school could not grant degrees, the Board of Regents could confer law degrees once students passed the bar exam.[4] By 1902, in its second year, Brooklyn Law School’s enrollment had increased to 112.[5]

From its earliest days, Brooklyn Law School opened its door to minorities, women, and immigrants, and it offered night classes for those with full-time jobs. Dean Richardson also allowed students who had trouble paying tuition to remain enrolled on credit. The school moved twice between 1901 and 1928, when it finally moved into the first building designed and built specifically for it on Pearl Street in downtown Brooklyn.[5] Though the school lacked a campus, dormitories, and a cafeteria, students could engage in a wide range of extracurricular activities.[5]

World War II struck Brooklyn Law School especially hard, and by 1943, enrollment was down to 174 students.[5] St. Lawrence University, which until then operated Brooklyn Law School and conferred its degrees, decided to shut down the school. Prominent alumni were galvanized into action and negotiated the repurchase of the school’s assets, ensuring that Brooklyn Law School would operate as an independent institution.[5]


  • The 2009 edition of U.S. News ranked Brooklyn Law School 61st in its list of top 100 law schools.[6]
  • The 2009 Leiter Report ranked Brooklyn Law School 39th nationwide in Student Quality based on the 2008 entering class. [7]
  • In the 2008-2009 term, six current alumni will be clerking with federal circuit judges, which places BLS 19th in the country, according to the latest Leiter Report ranking. Three will be working for judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, two for the Eleventh Circuit, and one for the Third Circuit. [8]
  • The 2008 Leiter Report ranked Brooklyn 25th in the "Most 'Prestigious' Law Firm Placement" category. [9]
The U.S. News ranking was later questioned because part time program data was not included in the Brooklyn Law School's survey response. U.S. News stated that they are not going to recalculate the rank, but did say that the ranking would have been lower if preliminary data (entered earlier, but later deleted) had been used in the rankings.[10] The school responded in a statement explaining the situation.[11]

Location and facilities

Entrance to Feil Hall, 205 State Street

Brooklyn Law School’s academic and administrative buildings and ten student residences are located in Brooklyn Heights Historical District, across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan, where many federal and state courts and corporate and public interest law offices are located.

Brooklyn Law School’s main academic building at 250 Joralemon Street houses classrooms, faculty offices, a conference center, dining hall, and a four-story law library with 550,000 volumes. The office building across the street at One Boerum Place houses many of the law school’s clinics, the student journals, the bookstore and administrative offices.

Brooklyn Law School guarantees housing in its residences to all entering students, about 500 in all. The largest residence is Feil Hall, a 21-story building at 205 State Street. Designed by noted architect Robert A. M. Stern, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, it accommodates about 360 students in 239 furnished apartments of varying sizes and includes a conference center and café.

All the student residences are within a short walk of the main building. In addition to Feil Hall, the law school owns and operates apartment buildings at various places in the neighborhood.


Brooklyn Law School’s faculty includes 68 full-time professors and five emeriti faculty[12]. It also draws on a large body of practitioners, public officials and judges as adjunct faculty to teach specialized courses in many areas of law, including trial advocacy, business crimes and corporate litigation, sports law, real estate development, and border and homeland security law. In addition, in any given semester, visiting professors come from all over the United States and from around the world to teach at the school.

The law school is home to several well-known scholars, including torts expert Aaron Twerski, who holds the Irwin and Jill Cohen Professor of Law Chair at the school; Margaret Berger, the Suzanne J. & Norman Miles Professor of Law and an authority on scientific evidentiary issues; and Rose L. Hoffer, Professor of Law Elizabeth Schneider, an expert on gender, law and civil procedure. All three were highly ranked recently in Brian Leiter’s survey of “Most Cited Law Professors by Specialty.”[13]

In the last two years, the law school has hired 15 new junior faculty whose work draws on a variety of influences to contribute scholarship to fields from scientific evidence to tax havens, and international business law to the secondary mortgage market.[14]

Journals and moot court



The Law School currently publishes four student-edited law journals: The Brooklyn Law Review, Brooklyn Journal of International Law and The Journal of Law and Policy, and the Brooklyn Journal of Corporate, Financial and Commercial Law. Over 290 second and third year students have the opportunity to write for one of the journals.

The journal selection process takes place at the end of the first year of study. Students have the opportunity to take part in a writing competition where they are given 48 hours to write a case comment based on pre-provided materials. The e-board members of each journal select new staff members based on the participant’s performance in the competition.

Moot court

Best Moot Court Programs ranks Brooklyn Law School’s Moot Court Program 7th in the nation based on its performance in the 2006-2007 season.[15] The law school has both trial and appellate advocacy moot court divisions. Each year the law school enters approximately 30 teams in national moot court competitions. These competitions span all areas of the law, from family law to criminal procedure, from white-collar crime to international law.

In the 2006-2007 school year, BLS took home four national titles and top regional titles. The Bankruptcy Appellate Advocacy Team placed first in a field of 42 teams in the Duberstein National Bankruptcy Memorial Moot Court Competition, the Immigration Team defeated Georgetown University Law School in the semi-finals and Harvard Law School in the finals to take first place in the 2nd Annual Immigration Law Competition. The Ethics Trial Advocacy Team won first place at the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law Trial Advocacy Competition and the Civil Rights Trial Advocacy Team II took top honors at the St. John’s National Civil Rights Competition judged by leading national trial experts.

Jerome Prince Evidence Competition

Each year Brooklyn Law School hosts the Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition, a national moot court competition. Named in honor of the late BLS Dean and renowned evidence scholar, the competition draws over 30 law school teams from across the country. Many of the students from the Moot Court Honor Society are involved in the coordination of the Prince Competition, and a few students have an opportunity to work with faculty members to research and write the problem – an issue at the forefront of evidentiary law – that is used in the Competition.

Academic offerings

Brooklyn Law School's main building located at 250 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn New York

Brooklyn Law School offers students courses and seminars in over 190 courses in the law.


  • Dennis J. Block Center for the Study of International Business Law - Established by the Law School to study and shape international business law and policy.[16]
  • Center for Law Language and Cognition – Explores how developments in the cognitive sciences – including psychology, neuroscience and linguistics – have implications for the law at both theoretical and practical levels.[17]
  • Center for Health, Science and Public Policy - Provides students knowledge and skills necessary in health and science law.[18]

Fellowship programs

  • International Business Law Fellowship - provides educational experience for students interested in pursuing careers in the field.[16]
  • Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship - places fellows in summer internships at public interest organizations across the United States, as well as abroad.[19]

Joint degree programs

Brooklyn Law School offers five joint degree programs:[20]

  • J.D./Masters of Business Administration - Brooklyn Law School and Baruch College jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in Business Administration and Policy.
  • J.D./Masters in City and Regional Planning - Brooklyn Law School and Pratt Institute jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Science (M.Sc.) in City and Regional Planning.
  • J.D./Masters in Library and Information Science - Brooklyn Law School and the Graduate School of Information and Library Science of Pratt Institute jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Science in Library and Information Science (M.Sc.).
  • J.D./Masters in Political Science - Brooklyn Law School and Brooklyn College (City University of New York) jointly sponsor a program leading to the award of the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Political Science, with a concentration in Policy Analysis.
  • J.D./Master in Urban Planning - Brooklyn Law School and Hunter College's Graduate Program in the Department of Urban Planning (Urban Affairs and Planning) jointly sponsor a program leading to the degrees of Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Urban Planning (M.U.P.).

Study abroad initiatives

Summer abroad

Brooklyn Law School, in conjunction with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, runs two summer abroad programs each year. Students study international or comparative law for two or three weeks in Beijing or Bologna and earn academic credit.[21]

  • The Beijing Program is hosted at China’s University of International Business and Economics (UIBE). The program offers students the opportunity to study a range of international or comparative law topics. Courses are taught in English by faculty from BLS and Loyola, with lectures by members of UBIE’s Law Faculty. The program also allows time for visits to local cultural and legal institutions and for meeting Chinese law students.
  • The Bologna Program is hosted by the University of Bologna. Founded in the 11th century, it is the oldest university in Europe, and a center of law study since the Middle Ages. Courses in international business law and comparative topics are taught by faculty from American and European law schools.

Semester abroad

  • Exchange Program with Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany

Each year, the Law School selects two students to attend Bucerius Law School, and Bucerius selects two German students to study at Brooklyn Law School. The program is aimed towards international business law.[21]

  • Exchange Program with University of Essex in Colchester, England

The law school's newest exchange program, begun in fall 2008, allows two students to attend the University of Essex while two English students are chosen to study at BLS. Courses focus on international law.[21]

Student organizations

Brooklyn Law School's administrative building located at One Boerum Place, near the Fulton Mall
Brooklyn Law School students outside the main building

Brooklyn Law School’s numerous student led organizations reflect the diversity of the student body.[1]

Student organizations include:

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Constitution Society
  • Art Law Association
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
  • Bankruptcy Society
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Brooklyn Entertainment Law Society
  • Brooklyn Law School Democrats
  • Brooklyn Law School Republicans
  • Brooklyn Law School Food & Wine Club
  • Brooklyn Law School Investment Club
  • Brooklyn Law School Legal Outreach- Constitutional Law Debate Program
  • Brooklyn Law School Students for the Public Interest
  • Brooklyn Real Estate Society
  • Chess Society
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Corporate and Securities Law Association
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Get Along Gang
  • Health Law and Policy Association
  • Hellenic Society
  • Intellectual Property & Technology Association
  • Intramural Club
  • International Law Society
  • Italian-American Law Students Association
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Latin-American Law Students Association
  • Law Students for Veterans Rights
  • Legal Association for Women
  • Muslim Law Students
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Phi Delta Phi
  • OutLaws
  • Secular Society
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • South Asian Law Students Association
  • Student Hurricane Network
  • Tax Law Association
  • Unemployment Action Center
  • Yoga Club

Former deans

  • William P. Richardson, dean from 1901-1945.
  • Jerome Prince, dean from 1945-1971.
  • Raymond E. Lisle, dean from 1971-1977.
  • I. Leo Glasser, dean from 1977-1983.
  • David G. Trager, dean from 1983-1993.

Notable alumni

Historically significant alumni

See also the related Category:Brooklyn Law School alumni.

News articles

  • In April 2009, the Blackbook Legal Blog published an article illuminating the school's policy of cutting off the ability of faculty to write recommendation letters for students who attempted to transfer to other institutions. The Dean responded to the allegations by stating that the school employs a non-binding procedure that simply discourages faculty from recommending anyone other than current students.[22]
  • In March 2008, Crain’s New York Business mentions Brooklyn Law School in an article about law schools which produce large numbers of public service lawyers.[23]
  • In September 2007, The Wall Street Journal published an article regarding the waning job market for U.S. lawyers, and questioning the integrity of law schools’ employment data and marketing campaigns, mentioning Brooklyn Law School, among others. [24]
  • A May 2007 article noted that, due to increasing demand for lawyers, top Manhattan firms which had not traditionally recruited from Brooklyn Law School were now recruiting from it.[25]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Jeffrey Brandon Morris, Brooklyn Law School: The First Hundred Years, p. 13
  3. ^ Jeffrey Brandon Morris, Brooklyn Law School: The First Hundred Years, p. 17.
  4. ^ Jeffrey Brandon Morris, Brooklyn Law School: The First Hundred Years, p. 18.
  5. ^ a b c d e "The First Hundred Years," BLS LawNotes, Fall 2001:
  6. ^ "Best Graduate Schools, Best Law Schools (Ranked in 2009)". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2009-05-08.  
  7. ^ "Ranking of Top 40 Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality 2009". Leiter's Law School Rankings. Retrieved 2009-11-19.  
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Schools From Which the Most "Prestigious" Law Firms Hire, 2008". Leiter's Law School Rankings. Retrieved 2008-10-20.  
  10. ^ Bob Morse (May 18, 2009). "What Happened With Brooklyn Law School". U.S. News. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  11. ^ "Brooklyn Law School Statement on U.S. News & World Report rankings". Brooklyn Law School: News. May 7, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-18.  
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b c
  22. ^ "Are Law Schools Overreacting to the Annual Exodus of Students?". Retrieved 2009-04-06.  
  23. ^ "Harvard Law challenges NY schools to do good". Crain’s New York Business. Retrieved 2008-06-09.  
  24. ^ "Hard Case: Job Market Wanes for U.S. Lawyers". The Wall St. Journal. Retrieved 2008-06-09.  
  25. ^ "Lawyer Search Spurred by M&A Sends Manhattan's Best to Brooklyn". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2008-06-09.  

External links


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