Brooklyn Law School has long been known as a trailblazer in providing clinic experience. Recently, BLS faculty took this reputation a step further, mandating that students complete at least one clinic or externship course before graduation.
The new guidelines, which take effect with this fall’s entering class, are not a radical departure for the Law School: Nearly all BLS students already fulfill the clinic requirement. In last year’s graduating class, 452 of 484 total students — both full-time and part-time — took at least one semester of a clinic or externship. The new mandate not only addresses increased emphasis on experiential learning in legal education, but also reinforces the Law School’s priority on graduating new lawyers who have real-world practice.
The announcement coincides with a National Jurist survey that included BLS among the top 20 “law schools for clinics.” The magazine ranked 200 law schools nationwide based on “most clinical opportunities,” dividing the total number of filled slots in full-time clinical course offerings by the number of full-time students.
Brooklyn Law School offered 378 clinical positions in 2013, according to the report, reflecting enrollment in 25 clinics — one of the strongest showings in the country. Worth noting is that the number did not include the 750 students enrolled in externships during the 2012-2013 academic year. Surely if it had, the Law School would have ranked at the very top of the survey.
“Our program is so rich and deep that students are faced with the enviable dilemma of deciding which clinics to take,” said Professor Stacy Caplow, Associate Dean for Professional Legal Education, who has served as Director of the Clinical Education Program since 1984. “It’s long been part of our vision — and now it is a requirement — that our students spend time accruing significant and high quality experience as they make the transition from school to practice.”
Read more about the Clinical Education Program.