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Practice-Ready Curriculum. Profession-Ready Graduates.

Profession Ready

At Syracuse Law - we are committed to delivering students a sound legal education and practical hands-on learning experience. Stressing litigation techniques, client advocacy, and critical writing skills, Syracuse Law focuses on each individual student’s success. Our focus is a curriculum with skills-building and opportunities for experiential learning which has resulted in the introduction of new courses as well as the reworking of existing curriculum. We offer students various experiential education opportunities in clinic and externship programs both inside and outside of the United States.

When we move into Dineen Hall this Fall it will bring students, staff, and faculty together creating a collaborative and connected experience. This state-of-the-art facility offers an enhanced learning environment with cutting-edge technology for teaching, research, and programs - helping prepare students to become successful legal professionals.

Syracuse Law students create their own learning experience through curriculum, trial advocacy, clinics, externships and international experiential education -  helping them gain practical skills for their legal careers.

Curricular Innovations

There has been a concerted effort to infuse the entire curriculum with opportunities for experiential education. There has been some formal curriculum change, in the form of the new courses. However, the real curricular innovation has been in establishing a framework for legal education and inspiring the faculty to integrate skills-building and opportunities for experiential learning into traditional doctrinal courses.

ADVANCED CRIMINAL EVIDENCE: Doctrinal course with experiential component where students draft motions, argue motions, develop cross examinations based on transcripts of actual direct examinations.

COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS: Doctrinal course with experiential component learning to draft documents.

CORPORATE FINANCING TRANSACTIONS: Teaches corporate finance by guiding students through a syndicated commercial loan transaction, including drafting of loan documentation and complex agreements.

DISABILITY LAW: Doctrinal course with experiential component of evaluating accessibility of local buildings.

EMPLOYMENT LAW: Doctrinal course with experiential component where students can represent a client at an Unemployment Insurance Board hearing.

ESTATE PLANNING: Doctrinal course incorporating full range of skills training including interviewing, counseling, drafting.

FIRST YEAR: Several first year faculty incorporate drafting of documents and motions into their core courses.

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE: Full-class simulation exercises.

INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE DISABILITY LAW: Research projects have been accomplished for the UN, the World Bank, Disabled People’s Organizations, and NGOs.

LAND USE AND ZONING COURSE: Doctrinal course with experiential component where students produce educational materials, including videos, for claimants at local Zoning Board of Appeals.

LAWYER AS NEGOTIATOR: Intensive simulation course.

LEGAL COUNSELING COURSE (NEW): Theoretical framework and complex simulations.

LEGAL INTERVIEWING COURSE (NEW): Provides theoretical framework and live client interviewing through collaboration with local Legal Aid Society.

LEGISLATION AND POLICY: Special Education Law – this doctrinal course includes a mock legislative hearing to amend the IDEA.

Clinical Legal Education: In-house Clinics


Students enrolling in a clinic represent clients and practice law under the supervision of law school faculty. To encourage development as competent, professional and thoughtful lawyers, the clinics include close supervision and rigorous feedback and critique. The student to faculty ratio in our clinics is 10:1.

Students practice in a range of settings, from city, state, and federal courts, to proceedings before the IRS and arbitration panels. They also assist community organizations in securing nonprofit corporation status and in addressing a range of other legal issues, and often conduct community education programs.

Students Learn:

  • Lawyering skills
  • Substantive Law
  • Collaboration
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Law Practice Management

BANKRUPTCY LAW: Student attorneys represent indigent individuals in need of bankruptcy protection, practicing in front of the Bankruptcy Court. Learn more.

CHILDREN’S RIGHTS AND FAMILY LAW: Student attorneys represent families and children in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies and engage in non-litigation legal advocacy and educational outreach. Student attorneys provide legal assistance in the areas of custody and visitation issues, child and spousal support, domestic violence, matrimonial matters, general and special education issues and other children's rights issues. Learn more.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT LAW: One of the oldest Community Development Law Clinics in the nation, having been the second such clinic when established in 1988. Student attorneys represent community organizations improving disinvested neighborhoods and for-profit start-up businesses for low income people. The only transactional law clinic, the student attorneys practice corporate law, tax law, intellectual property law, and real estate law. The systemic problems of poverty are explored and approaches to lawyering considered with a focus on social and economic justice. Learn more.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE: Student attorneys defend clients in Syracuse City Court. Recently, student attorneys have also filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and have submitted an Amicus Curiae brief to the Court. The student attorneys have worked on a Presidential Pardon and have filed a motion for post-conviction relief for a client threatened with deportation. Learn more.

DISABILITY RIGHTS: Student attorneys represent individuals with disabilities who are denied their rights because of their disability.  DRC student attorneys practice in federal and state courts, and before administrative agencies in a broad range of disability matters, including employment, access to government services and places of public accommodation, and prisoner rights. The Disability Rights Clinic is taught by a faculty member who is deaf, one of the few deaf law professors in the country. Learn more.

ELDER LAW: Student attorneys engage in a general practice on behalf of the elderly. Areas of practice typically include health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance), access to medical care, advance directives, social security issues, consumer law, housing law, and more. Student attorneys have substantial opportunities to interview and counsel clients, conduct fact investigations, grapple with thorny ethical issues unique to elderly clients, and advocate for clients in a variety of settings, including administrative proceedings. Learn more.

LOW INCOME TAXPAYER: Student attorneys offer legal assistance to lower-income taxpayers who have controversies with the Internal Revenue Service. The controversies may include collection, examination and appeals matters. Student attorneys represent clients in administrative proceedings before the I.R.S. and in judicial proceedings before the United States Tax Court or Federal District Courts. The LITC students have recovered almost $1,000,000 for their clients over the course of their representation. Learn more.

SECURITIES ARBITRATION AND CONSUMER LAW: Student attorneys assist small investors and other consumers with problems in the financial and consumer markets.  Whether against Wall Street or Wal-Mart, student attorneys fight fraud and other improper conduct on the part of stockbrokers, used car sales people, and unscrupulous sellers. The student attorneys have recovered almost $500,000 in awards to clients or debt reduction for clients. Learn more.

Clinical Legal Education: Central New York Externship Programs

The Externship Program provides students with the opportunity to work with and as lawyers. The Program consists of the Externship Placement, where students work under the supervision of lawyers or judge in offices throughout Upstate NY, and the Externship Seminar, which addresses lawyering as a profession. Placement areas include: judicial chambers, government offices, public interest firms, not-for-profit law organizations and university offices. Students may participate in the Program during the academic year and/or during the summer.

Students will:

  • Identify legal problems and mechanisms for solving those problems.
  • Prepare cases for presentation before judicial and administrative bodies.
  • Identify and resolve ethical problems arising in cases.
  • Negotiate, conduct legal research, and draft documents.
  • Interview and counsel clients.
  • Acquire knowledge in the substantive areas of law practiced at each placement.

International and Domestic Experiential Education


Beginning in January 2014, 25 second and third-year law students per semester will participate in a new D.C. externship program that combines professional experience with unique coursework to develop an understanding of how lawyers function in our nation’s capital. Externship placements allow students to work as part of a legal team in a variety of different environments. Learn more.


Syracuse Law proudly offers one of the nation’s longest-running Law in London programs, where students learn from London’s leading legal practitioners. During an eight-week summer experience, students gain international exposure to clients, partner with professionals for personalized mentoring, and enjoy boundless cultural opportunities - in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Learn more.


This course includes a week-long visit to South Africa to  study the constitutional, economic, and social history of South Africa as it has moved from apartheid to a multi-racial republic. In South Africa, students visit the Constitutional Court; government agencies including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration; several townships and municipalities; and a historically Black and historically White University. The students meet with Constitutional Court justices, government officials, and University faculty involved in social and economic justice issues and learn about the entrenched systemic poverty, racism, and injustice that is the legacy of apartheid, and the efforts including legislation, policies, and programs to reverse the effects of apartheid. Spring 2014 is the second time this is offered due to success of first trip in 2013.

Trial Advocacy

Trial Advocacy

The New York State Bar Association has cited Syracuse Law as the best trial skills law school in New York State 11 times in recent years by awarding us their coveted Tiffany Cup. Syracuse Law boasts a powerful trial advocacy program, which was honored by the American College of Trial Lawyers with the Emil Gumpert Award for best law school advocacy program in the United States. Each semester, Syracuse Law offers at least four sections of Trial Practice and also offers Appellate Advocacy Skills courses.

Trial practice courses are popular elective offerings among our students - experienced trial lawyers, judges, and college faculty members teach elements of trial process and techniques. Advanced trial practice courses concentrate on the communicative aspects of litigation, including jury selection, expert witness examination, direct and cross-examination, and summation. Trial practice courses culminate in simulated jury trials, with students demonstrating skills learned during the semester.  

Moot Court is an important part of legal training at Syracuse Law. The student-run Moot Court Honor Society selects problems for the many intraschool competitions and invites students to compete in briefing and oral argument. Students who are selected for the competitions must prepare both sides of the case because a flip of the coin decides who argues each side in the actual competition.

Because of its extensive advocacy skills program, Syracuse dominates national moot court competitions. In the past 16 years, its teams have won 3 national trial championships, 15 northeast regional first place awards, and 5 best-advocate-in-the-nation awards. Five times in the past 9 years Syracuse Law has been invited to the National Invitational Tournament of Champions, featuring the nation's 12 best teams. Syracuse law students also participate annually in a host of international moot court competitions. Working closely with faculty coaches, year after year the select group of students continues to uphold the quality reputations of previous classes.

Students discuss Moot Court and other advocacy programs and competitions available at Syracuse Law.

Admissions questions?

If you have questions please email us.

We Help our Students Ease into Law School

Syracuse Law created new program, Orange Edge to help you prepare for your fist semester in law school. “It is a great opportunity to ease your transition into law school and gain the skills necessary to succeed once you are here.” says Alexandria M. Baland, Class of 2016. Learn more.

D.C. Externship Program Director

“The new Syracuse Law Semester in D.C. Program will provide an elite professional and educational experience in a job market in which many of our students aspire to pursue careers. We have an exceptional group of D.C.-area alumni that have proved to be invaluable assets to help launch this program and foster relationships that are critical to new attorneys." says Professor Terry L. Turnipseed. Learn more.

Why I Chose Syracuse Law

Kate Chmielowiec
Kate Chmielowiec, Class of 2016

"I chose SUCOL because of the vast opportunities available for students to earn a hands-on legal education. Coming to law school, I was undecided on an area of law to practice. After researching the large number of clinics, institutes, and clubs, it became clear to me that SUCOL was the best place to decide on an interest area..." Read more.

Study Transformative Justice in South Africa

“For students interested in understanding international justice as well as our own country’s history of intentional discrimination and racism, this opportunity is invaluable.” says Professor Deborah Kenn. Read more.