Mission: The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice (SLJ) believes that the success of each student is a community responsibility. Staff, families and partners work together to challenge and support students with a curriculum that respects their right to learn at high levels and with enrichment services that every student deserves. SLJ delivers personal attention in an empowering environment that fosters intellectual independence and civic engagement. Equipped with an understanding of law and social justice, students graduate ready to succeed in college and effect change in society.

The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice serves students from across the borough of Brooklyn as well as elsewhere in New York City, totaling approximately 460 in grades nine through twelve.


SLJ provides an education that rests on three foundational pillars:

By supporting our students simultaneously across these three areas, we don’t just prepare them for continued academic success. We give them the tools to create a brighter future for themselves.

SLJ was featured in the book, Restoring Opportunity, by Greg J. Duncan and Richard J. Murnane, as a small public high school that is succeeding in addressing the challenges of inequality. Watch this video about our school, made to accompany the book:

We are an educational option, non-charter public high school serving students of varying need. Most of our students will be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college.


The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice was conceived to immerse students in a rigorous curriculum that exposes law and justice as the fundamental building blocks of society and trains them to be far-thinking, contributive adults.

The school’s planners - led by founding principal Elana Karopkin, and Jeffrey Smith, who was at the time the managing partner of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP - shared a vision for a small but flourishing community of active learners and an uncompromising dedication to the principle that students are foremost participants in - not recipients of - their education and will thrive when their curiosity is stoked and their natural talents are nurtured. The planning team was mandated to found SLJ with these ideals in mind when their proposal was accepted by New Visions and supported with a grant of $400,000.


Our school is centered on the belief that studying legal issues draws upon and develops fundamental skills—reading, writing and questioning—that are the building blocks for success not only in academic study, but also in the world of work. Our goal is not necessarily to create career lawyers, but to promote a love of analytical thinking. We want to encourage interest in reading and writing where it already exists and create understanding and excitement where it does not.

Graduates of The Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice are strong and flexible learners who ask questions and challenge simplistic answers. This increased ability to express oneself through the written word and reason analytically will help our students to excel in all of their scholastic pursuits and to realize their wide and varied ambitions to be anything from lawyers, journalists, and politicians to doctors and scientists.

Our theme is evident not only throughout our curriculum, but through school-wide events and extracurricular enrichment opportunities.

View School Profile