Responding to criticism that law schools aren't doing enough to prepare graduates for employment, New York University School of Law has decided to bolster its third-year offerings with enhanced opportunities to study abroad, practice area-specific tracks and a new government law clinic.
Dean Richard Revesz, who announced the plans to students yesterday, said in an interview that the changes would make students "better lawyers and better able to succeed as lawyers."
NYU Law yesterday announced enhanced programs for its third-year students. On the panel, from left, are Melody Barnes, NYU vice provost for global student leadership initiatives; Evan Chesler, presiding partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Dean Rickey Revesz; Vice Dean Kevin Davis; and Sally Katzen, a visiting professor and senior adviser at the Podesta Group. NYLJ/Rick Kopstein
Students expressed mixed feelings, reacting with enthusiasm but wondering whether the offers could directly impact their employment prospects.
The foreign programs will be located in Buenos Aires, Paris and Shanghai for students' final semester. Each program can accommodate 25 students starting in spring 2014. They will get language training and work on internships with firms, NGOs and other organizations.
NYU will work with law schools in Buenos Aires and Paris and will operate the Shanghai program through the university's Shanghai campus. The programs are awaiting approval from the American Bar Association.
The voluntary practice-area tracks would guide students to a speciality, such as intellectual property, litigation and dispute resolution, and criminal law. Students will take either a clinic or business transactional class and complete a capstone project, including an internship and research paper.
For expertise on U.S. legislative and regulatory processes, the school is adding a government law clinic in the next school year in which interested students can spend third-year semesters in Washington, D.C., for classroom study and work in a government agency.
The school also is planning to expand training on business and financial concepts in a first-year required class and will create a new elective class in the upper years to introduce concepts in business, statistics, accounting and quantitative analysis.
Revesz said the specialty tracks would not eliminate any required classes. Rather, students will have the option of taking certain electives in each of the tracks.