I came across this post in the Pre-Law discussion group and thought I'd pass it on:
(From a person who just completed 1L at NYLS)
Of course I'm biased, I just finished my first year at New York Law School.I won't tell you that New York Law School is for everyone, but here are some of the good things about the school and some of the bad.
1. It knows it's a third tier school and it's trying to improve. This means that the Dean and faculty are doing a lot to try to make it a second tier (or better) school going forward. What does this mean? LOTS of programs. If you're in the top 15% (not an easy feat) there's the Harlan Scholarship program, this means that you get to join Law Review, affiliate with one of the school's centers (which specialize in all types of law, especially strong are the Media Law, New York City Law and Justice Action Centers). SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS BEWARE: If you come in on scholarship you are expected to maintain your grades, 3.3 for Harlan Scholars, 3.2 for Dean Scholars (at least when I came in). There is a strict curve at New York Law School. Fifty percent get a B or better fifty percent get a B- or worse. Unlike top schools people get Cs and Ds regularly here, you WILL have to hussle to do well.
2. There is a lot of help for students who struggle. There is a new program, started just this past year for the botton 25% of the student (aka the ones who fail the bar consistently). These students are put into what can only be called, as much as the faculty would like to call it otherwise, a remedial program. This is something to be aware of, if you're in the bottom 25% (after the people who flunked out are told they can't come back) you have to go into this alternative program. If you're not interested in specializing or are interested in criminal law, corporate law, or other types of law tested on the bar, this is really no big deal. BUT if you came to the school to study something like Media law (which the school specializes in) or some other type of law not typically covered on the bar you want to seriously consider this. The program adds an additional 6 required courses (most of them you should take anyway) but more importantly limits what elective you are allowed to take. It can mean you have to stay an extra semester (paid by the school) and aren't allowed to participate in certain programs (like some clinics, write-on to bar review etc.)
3. I'm not sure about job prospects when you leave school. That's what it's all about right, getting a job. I still can't get a good sense at how difficult/easy it is to get a job after graduation. I hear all sorts of things. If you have your heart set on a huge law firm, that's not going to be easy from New York Law School, or really any third tier school. Only the top 5-10% probably get interviews each year at the big firms. However, lots of public interest, small and medium firms, and government agencies recruit at the school and/or hire graduates. New York Law School has an advantage over all of those suburban campuses and even Columbia or some of the other New York Schools. We're in downtown Manhattan, right near the courts and right near Wall Street. While companies might not bang down the door to recruit New York Law School students a huge number of alumni got their jobs because they were working at their current employer's office durring the school year. You can't do that at every school and if you want to get our and practice law while you're in law school, this is one way to do. There are great clinical and externship opportunities available too.
4. Price. Slightly over $31,000 for me. There's a flat tuition plan in place, which means that I'm paying this next year what I paid last year. I'm not sure how much it is for incoming students but I'm pretty sure it hasn't reached $37,000.
5. Practical courses. I'm not sure if I'd put this in the good or the bad category. There are a lot of "practical" courses at New York Law School. They're graded on a strict curve and four of them are in your first year. They're on things like legal writing, exam writing and counseling and interviewing. Good things to learn, I always have had a problem with the grading system, I'm not sure why they aren't either pass/fail or combined into one program or something ...
6. Atmosphere. New York Law School doesn't have a ton of "campus life"--well, there's really no campus. It took me quite a while to make friends and still, I'd call most people I know aquaintances. A lot of people are from New York and already have friends. I'm not from New York and instead decided to make friends from outside of the school, which is nice anyway, in law school you need something "difffent"-whatever that is. If you really want to have school friends you could live in the dorms (the school has an arrangement with Polytechnic in Brooklyn Heights) but it's cheaper and often nicer to live with a roommate off campus. Still, I know a lot of people who lived happily in the dorms and made really good friends.
I don't know about the other school you're considering but I thought I'd try to give you a fair perspective on New York Law School, regardless of our ranking. Best of Luck deciding.