University at Buffalo School of Law: A Historical Legacy Cultivating Future Leaders

The famous French poet and novelist Victor Hugo once said, “What is history? An echo of the past in the future; a reflex from the future on the past.” Within the same context, being one of the oldest law schools in New York State and an excellent center for interdisciplinary studies, the University at Buffalo School of Law draws on nearly 135 years of historical legacy, experience, and innovation in legal education. UB is among the most internationalized universities in the United States, providing numerous programs and services to support its diverse student body. The School of Law shares this commitment and welcomes students from wide-ranging backgrounds to its vibrant collegial community, making the law school stronger and better able to view the changing world through a multicultural lens.

The law school is situated on the flagship campus of apremier public university- the University at Buffalo – a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). It is located on an international border, just 20 minutes from Canada. Being the only law school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, its mission is to promote justice, to serve the public interest, and to cultivate socially responsible students and future leaders in their areas of practice and fields of scholarship.

Upholding its historical legacy, the law school has over 12000 graduates working at firms and agencies in Buffalo, Tokyo, New York City, Washington, D.C. and other major cities around the globe. Moreover, U.S. News & World Reports has ranked the University at Buffalo among the ‘Top 50’ public universities in the nation for the sixth consecutive year, as well as one of the top public universities in New York State.

About the Dean

The first woman to hold this position, Aviva Abramovsky is the 19th Dean of UB School of Law. Helming the position for over two years, she has led the law school to great success. This success is especially notable in post-graduation placement rates, strengthened mentor programs, and expanded clinical legal education programs including the creation of a veteran’s legal practicum, the Puerto Rico Recovery Assistance Legal Clinic, and the Entrepreneurship Law Clinic.

Being an expert in insurance law, commercial law, regulation of financial entities, and legal ethics, Abramovsky has written numerous articles and legal treatises, including McKinney’s Uniform Commercial Code forms for New York. She has served twice as an academic evaluator for the American Bar Association’s federal judiciary committees, once for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and again for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. Among many professional leadership positions, recently, she has been named the Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s new Taskforce on Autonomous Vehicles and the Law.

A Sound Curriculum

A UB education instills a strong theoretical foundation and practical skills in students, rendering them relevant in a competitive environment. It also guides them about their responsibilities of promoting social justice regardless of their chosen career path. At UB School of Law, quality education is provided through:

Flexible JD program: Offering a broad range of interdisciplinary options in areas including criminal law, cross-border legal studies, intellectual property and privacy, international law, environmental law, family law, and finance and development.

Dual-Degree programs: Permit students to earn credit toward a master’s or Ph.D. degree with one of the University’s many other graduate and professional schools while pursuing their JD. These programs include JD/MA, JD/Pharm D, JD/MS, JD/MBA, JD/MPH, JD/MSW, JD/MUP, and various JD/Ph.D. programs.

LLM programs: Four LLM programs for students holding a first degree in law who are looking to take their career to the next level include the General LLM, the Criminal Law LLM, the Cross-Border Legal Studies LLM, and the Environmental Law LLM. The General LLM program introduces international students to American law and prepares them for the New York State Bar exam.

Advanced Two-Year JD for Internationally-Trained Lawyers: Allows students holding a first degree in law from outside of the US to earn their JD in two years rather than three. It offers a more thorough immersion experience in US law and legal education than a traditional one-year LLM program.

BA & Minor in Law: A recently introduced program preparing undergraduate students to understand the basic functional areas of law without a license to practice law.

3+3 Accelerated BA-JD program: Established in collaboration with eight institutions, the 3+3 program offers qualified students the opportunity to earn their BA and JD in just six years, saving one year’s worth of time and tuition.

Curriculum Add-ons

The school goes beyond the traditional academic sessions and provides comprehensive exposure programs, which are as follows:

Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research (LAWR) Program: Two semesters of intensive instruction in the tools that lawyers use every day. Students learn the basics in the first year-organizing their thoughts, crafting a winning argument, and writing clearly and persuasively-and build upon them throughout their law school career.

Advocacy Institute: Students receive opportunities to develop and practice their skills in trial and appellate advocacy and alternative dispute resolution by learning from distinguished members of the local bar and bench.

Clinical Programs: Students serve clients and conduct research along with fieldwork in diverse areas of law. Clinical Programs involve issues and complex matters where creativity and innovation play key roles in serving clients.

New York City Program on Finance and Law: A semester-long program introduces students to New York City’s financial markets and to its highly competitive financial sector job market. Students can participate in externships in the Metro New York area, working with executives from top financial institutions and law firms.

Externships and Judicial Clerkships: Students work in a variety of government and non-profit organizations and receive academic credit for their work. Students assist judges, attorneys, and legislators with pressing legal questions that arise in ongoing cases, in the development of public policy or legislation, and in response to citizen inquiries.

Practica: A combined study of a substantive area of law under the guidance of a full-time professor with service learning alongside practicing attorneys. Students complete weekly classroom work exploring the substantive law in depth and reflecting on the process of becoming an attorney with a focus on health justice, post-incarceration reentry, pro se civil litigation support, and veterans’ law.

Pro Bono Scholars Program: A competitive program for selected third-law year students who take the New York State Bar Exam in February before they graduate. Students explore access to justice issues while developing their skills and fulfilling the New York State service requirement, by working full-time pro bono during their final semester.

Out the School’s Doors

After course completion, UB School of Law students practices in prominent law firms and public interest settings across the nation and around the world. They hold leadership positions at all levels of private industry and in the government, and the school’s Career Services Office assists them to reach these great heights.

The career guidance services include aid in building a strong resume and cover letter as well as interview workshops, mock interviews, career panels, and individual coaching. Furthermore, each member of the incoming class is matched with one of over 200 mentors who are practicing lawyers or judges, and who will assist them with their career development.

As a public law school, UB School of Law also serves government and public interest work. Subsequently, graduates are also employed in public interest and government organizations at a rate that is two to three times the national average.

Envisioning Excellence

In the forthcoming years, the State University of New York’s law school, UB School of Law, shall remain committed to opening doors to legal education. According to the school, to overcome the shortage of minorities entering the discipline of law; it has created the Discover Law Undergraduate Scholars Program. Designed to provide an immersive experience for undergraduates, it exposes students to critical thinking and helps them to read and build analytical skills during an in-depth four-week summer residency program. Preference is given to students of color and first-generation college students.

Additionally, recognizing that the cost of standardized tests is very expensive, the School of Law now accepts the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) as a valid predictor of academic success in law school. It further advises that applicants seeking admission may take the GRE in lieu of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and may submit their GRE score as part of the application process.

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