“The law never is, but is always about to be.”
—Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo
The academic program at Cardozo School of Law is shaped by our namesake’s abiding belief that legal practice must not only evolve with the times, but also anticipate future needs.
Cardozo Law’s combination of stellar academic courses, special programs, and clinics, field clinics and externships meld theory and practice to produce lawyers who are thoroughly trained for tomorrow’s demands.
The school offers a rigorous and stimulating curriculum, with a wide range of electives to customize your J.D. degree. You can choose among 10 concentrations all taught by internationally recognized leaders in their fields.
The core first-year requirements teach critical analysis and require close reading so that students learn to think like lawyers. Cardozo's courses lay a foundation for understanding the law, fundamental legal concepts and doctrine. First year courses include:
- Civil Procedure, which examines legal rules governing the process of litigating a civil case in federal court.
- Criminal Law, which covers the basic principles of substantive criminal law, such as when and why conduct is labeled and punished as criminal.
- Elements of Law, a course designed by Cardozo professors that teaches students how to read, analyze and use judicial decisions and statutes.
- Constitutional Law I, which introduces issues of governmental structure and authority arising under the U.S. Constitution along with approaches to judicial review by the Supreme Court.
- Lawyering Skills and Legal Writing, which teaches case reading, analysis and synthesis, research skills, and how to write legal documents and briefs. In this course, students participate in a mock oral appellate argument.
- Torts, a course concerning the civil legal remedies for private contract harms in which students examine questions such as: Under what circumstances should someone who harms another person or property pay for that harm?
- Property, a course exploring American property law, with a focus on real property and the many complex ways in which ownership of real property may be divided. Students study conflicts in nuisance law, easements and covenants, and takings and zoning law.
Upper-level courses enable students to specialize and to develop skills essential to practice. Courses include professional responsibility, advanced legal research, and classes that meet a students' choice of concentration. In addition, students in their second and third year participate in clinics, field clinics and externships.
Cardozo's programs are consistently ranked in the top tier. Our Intellectual Property & Information Law program is one of the strongest in the country, and the Kukin Program for Conflict Resolution is a pioneer in the field.
Seminars abroad allow students the opportunity to study international and comparative law around the world. Recent seminars abroad have been conducted in China, Ecuador, India, Cuba, South Africa and Israel.
In addition to our core offerings and certificate programs, joint degree programs give you numerous opportunities to distinguish yourself in the legal field. For example, we are the only law school with a joint J.D. and Masters of Science in Bioethics program. Offered in partnership with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the joint program in Bioethics immerses students at the nexus of science, health care and law.
No matter what academic path you take, Cardozo Law recognizes that the law lives and changes in a technologically advanced, round-the-clock global environment.