By Tania Karas
July 16, 2014 New York Law Journal - After spending the past year testing potential changes to its second- and third-year curriculum, the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law is rolling out new and revamped offerings this fall with an emphasis on practical lawyering skills.
Students can choose a concentration in one of 11 areas, including criminal law, intellectual property or tax law, and will have access to an alumni and faculty mentor. All alumni mentors are practicing attorneys.
Cardozo now requires students earn six credits of practical skills through a clinic or externship. The school will offer several new skills-based courses to be taught jointly by a faculty member and an adjunct practicing attorney. Some courses, such as contract drafting, were introduced last year on a pilot basis and will be offered permanently, vice dean Melanie Leslie said.
"The legal market has changed, and we want to be responsive to that," she said. "We want to be able to ensure we're able to give students the skills they need to compete."
The school also will expand its annual lawyering skills program, allowing more students to take its intensive trial advocacy program—a two-week immersion course on courtroom litigation strategy—as well as courses on corporate transactions and financial literacy.
Cardozo is not the only law school revamping its upper-level curriculum. Two years ago, New York University School of Law announced a concentration track called "professional pathways" similar to Cardozo's, along with new clinics and study abroad opportunities. Other law schools in New York have increased clinical and externship offerings, responding to employer demands for practice-ready graduates.