NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Columbia or NYU?

Columbia
121
45%
NYU
69
26%
Either one: you can't go wrong!
68
25%
Neither
10
4%
 
Total votes: 268

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Series70
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NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Series70 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:53 pm

I found a few older threads on NYU vs. Columbia, but nothing too extensive. I imagine there are quite a few of us in this position. Frankly, I'm thrilled to be able to decide between my top two choices, and it's great to know that one really can't go wrong. Still, what are your thoughts?

I'm mainly interested in doing government work, either as an ADA or for the NYC law department. Someone mentioned in an earlier thread that NYU would have more students with similar interests, which might in fact make competing for government jobs more difficult at NYU. (Faced with a batch of well-qualified candidates--say, 5 from NYU and 2 from Columbia--an office might decide to take one from each school, thereby making things easier for the Columbia applicants.)

NYU's website is very impressive, and I especially like how many clinics they offer. Columbia only has a few, but also offers externships. For instance, NYU holds semester-long prosecution clinics with the USAO for SDNY and EDNY, which require applying through the school's clinic program. Columbia offers what seem to be the exact same thing, but calls them externships (you apply directly to the adjunct professor at the USAO). The fact that Columbia has less students interested in government work might make landing an externship easier.

Columbia's pro-bono program also seems to be more organized (I couldn't even find info on NYU's site), which could come in handy since pro-bono during law school is essential for PI/Gov jobs. As far as I can tell, the LRAP programs seem about the same.

As far as other personal factors go, I currently live in Brooklyn and am not leaving. The commute to NYU is a cinch (30-40 minutes), while the trek up to Columbia is grueling (anywhere between 60-90 minutes). I went to grad school at Columbia, so I feel very comfortable there, which could be an advantage. At the same time, I'm sick of Morningside Heights, having lived there for over 4 years. I think it might be cool to spend my days in the village instead (my lunches would be much more enjoyable). NYU is also closer to the DA and USA offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn, which could make things easier for semester internships.

Over the years, I've spent lots of time in both Jerome Greene and William and June Warren Hall, which are both well-equipped, modern buildings. I've met lots of Columbia law students, and they're all awesome. I never got the sense that they were over-stressed or overly competitive, so I always felt I would fit right in.

Anyway, while I'd really appreciate any advice or comments based on my situation, my hope is just to get a general discussion going on the advantages and disadvantages of what are essentially two equally phenomenal schools in the greatest city in North America.

MellonCollie
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby MellonCollie » Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:57 pm

Series70 wrote:Anyway, while I'd really appreciate any advice or comments based on my situation, my hope is just to get a general discussion going on the advantages and disadvantages of what are essentially two equally phenomenal schools in the greatest city in North America.



Neither Columbia nor NYU are in San Francisco. HTH.


(Sorry for the useless reply, but i couldn't resist.)

insidethetwenty
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby insidethetwenty » Sat Jan 30, 2010 2:53 pm

I just skimmed that, but if you want to do government work or public interest, I'd say take the one that is the least expensive. It's probably going to be NYU.

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scribelaw
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby scribelaw » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:29 pm

insidethetwenty wrote:I just skimmed that, but if you want to do government work or public interest, I'd say take the one that is the least expensive. It's probably going to be NYU.


I don't think this is really true. Even if one is nominally more expensive, you're still going to be borrowing more than a PI/Gov job will support and will need to rely on the LRAP program. They are very similar, but I believe Columbia's is a slightly better deal. (I think Columbia covers all loans up to 50k salary and you pay 33 percent on any salary above that; NYU pays all loans on up to 48k and you pay 40 percent on any salary above that).

Interesting point about having fewer people to compete with at Columbia. Hadn't really considered that.

On the other hand, the big public interest job fair is at NYU and I believe all the outfits that go to that give preference, or have quotas, for NYU students.

I'm a very similar situation to you -- wanting to do ADA or government work.

I really think, if the money is about equal, you can't go wrong. NYU has a slightly better location and a better reputation for PI law. Columbia has a little more Ivy league prestige.

You seem to be leaning toward Columbia?

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Veyron
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Veyron » Sat Jan 30, 2010 3:53 pm

I put can't go wrong but after reading, definitely NYU. It will be a nice change of scenery, it is much better at both PI and criminal law (numb 1 in the country for both) and of course, it has the be best LRAP program in the country. It seems like CLS is TCR for Corp Biglaw while NYU is TCR for Pi and prosecution while the schools are a tossup for all others.

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Series70
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Series70 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:18 pm

^ I totally agree about the change of scenery, but, wow, I wasn't aware NYU was #1 for crim law! I was looking forward to taking classes/working with James B. Jacobs, though, and their website is really impressive. (The poll wasn't necessarily related just to me, but to the two schools in general.)

scribelaw wrote:You seem to be leaning toward Columbia?

That's the thing--I'm totally split between the two.

A big part of Columbia's attractiveness for me is the prestige. I was reading John Kroger's Convictions (which I highly recommend if you're interested in being a prosecutor) and he mentions how one of his federal defendants turned to him while everyone was awaiting a verdict, and asked him where he went to law school. Kroger replied "Harvard," and the guy (a mafia big shot) was all impressed: "Wow, my prosecutor went to Harvard!" While not as prestigious as Harvard, Columbia still sounds impressive. To the uninformed, NYU just sounds like a state school. Although the law schools are equal, as a whole, Columbia University is still a better institution (although NYU is currently overtaking them in many departments). Talking to some of my friends at CLS, that was one of the reasons they chose Columbia over NYU law.

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spinsta
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby spinsta » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:35 pm

NYU. Easy choice. NYU is known for having the best public interest program of all T14 schools. Its very motto is "A Private University in the Public Interest." The NYU Public Interest program, PILC, guarantees you funding for doing public interest summer jobs (4500 1L yr, 6500 2L yr), no matter what the area. Look at the public interest placement rates of prior years - NYU puts 3-4x the percentage of graduates into PI jobs over Columbia. The Public Interest Career Fair is held yearly at NYU and all the surrounding schools (including Columbia) come to get public interest jobs - hundreds of employers come to NYU to recruit, but they must interview a certain number of NYU students each year in order to participate. Inevitably, they all end up hiring a disproportionate number of NYU students. No other NY schools have an equivalent - they all come to NYU's. Rank-whores might say Columbia, because it's 4 and NYU is 5 according to this year's USNWR. But remember - NYU has been 4 and Columbia 5 as recently as 3 years ago. If you are living in Brooklyn, NYU is also cheaper (since you don't have to worry about cost of living in the Village) - Columbia went up to 48k (or was it 50k?) this year, NYU is at 44k. Plus talk to anyone and they will tell you that NYU is not as competitive for grades. It just isn't.

Renzo
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Renzo » Sat Jan 30, 2010 4:54 pm

insidethetwenty wrote:I just skimmed that, but if you want to do government work or public interest, I'd say take the one that is the least expensive. It's probably going to be NYU.

NYU is more expensive by cost of attendance, just barely cheaper by tuition-only, so that's a terrible way to decide.

I made the same decision a year ago, and I think I picked right. You really won't go wrong either place, but if you think you want gov't or PI work, go to NYU.

CLS's LRAP is a little teeny bit better, but the resources devoted to PI/gov't work at NYU are second to none. There are basically two separate career services offices, one for private sector work and one for public interest work. They also host (and get preferential treatment at) the biggest PI job fair in the country (where the Manhattan DA, the NYC law dept, and both SDNY/EDNY USAO's interview).

They both have plenty of great clinics, and plenty of alums at all the offices you mentioned, so I think it's kind of a wash there.

CLS wins the prestige contest, no doubt. And if you want to be an investment banker or a consultant, the name would help. But you already have an ivy-leage degree, so the marginal benefit to you isn't going to be that great.

On top of all that, the Village crushes Morningside.

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Billy Blanks
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Billy Blanks » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:07 pm

I'm currently struggling with the same decision (although Berkeley is in the mix as well for me). For PI work I know we should really go to NYU, but there's something about Columbia that keeps calling to me....

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scribelaw
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby scribelaw » Sat Jan 30, 2010 5:18 pm

Renzo wrote:
insidethetwenty wrote:I just skimmed that, but if you want to do government work or public interest, I'd say take the one that is the least expensive. It's probably going to be NYU.

NYU is more expensive by cost of attendance, just barely cheaper by tuition-only, so that's a terrible way to decide.

I made the same decision a year ago, and I think I picked right. You really won't go wrong either place, but if you think you want gov't or PI work, go to NYU.

CLS's LRAP is a little teeny bit better, but the resources devoted to PI/gov't work at NYU are second to none. There are basically two separate career services offices, one for private sector work and one for public interest work. They also host (and get preferential treatment at) the biggest PI job fair in the country (where the Manhattan DA, the NYC law dept, and both SDNY/EDNY USAO's interview).

They both have plenty of great clinics, and plenty of alums at all the offices you mentioned, so I think it's kind of a wash there.

CLS wins the prestige contest, no doubt. And if you want to be an investment banker or a consultant, the name would help. But you already have an ivy-leage degree, so the marginal benefit to you isn't going to be that great.

On top of all that, the Village crushes Morningside.


Do you think it would be demonstrably easier to get a job at the Manhattan DA's office at NYU compared to Columbia?

Renzo
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Renzo » Sat Jan 30, 2010 7:47 pm

scribelaw wrote:Do you think it would be demonstrably easier to get a job at the Manhattan DA's office at NYU compared to Columbia?

That's too subjective to say, and I think your chances are probably about the same either place (too much depends on luck, personality, resume, etc.). But, I would say that you'd have more opportunities to get yourself an interview, given they do both OCI and the PILC fair, and NYU people get preference at the PILC fair.

imchuckbass58
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:03 pm

I made this decision last year. Like Renzo said, you can't really go wrong. It all boils down to personal preference.

I chose Columbia because:

-I do not like the area of the village where NYU is located (near Bleecker/MacDougal) at all, and am really not a big fan of NYU undergrads. Columbia has more of a campus feel and is less hectic. Basically, I prefer Morningside Heights.

-The housing options are better and cheaper at Columbia.

-I am probably headed to biglaw, and though the difference is small, Columbia tends to place slightly better (I suspect because of the more established alumni network - NYU wasn't as good as it is until recently), especially into the very top firms. The difference is pretty small though so don't let this sway you.

-For the stuff I'm interested in studying, CLS has slightly better professors. I'm sure it's the other way around for other areas of law.

Again though - visit and see. You can't go wrong either way.

deadatheist
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby deadatheist » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:11 pm

based only on what you wrote, it sounds like you'd enjoy nyu for yourself; for the commute, the ambiance, what you want to focus in, etc. it sounds like you like columbia for others; primarily the slight boost in the prestige factor. i know it's not that simplistic, but that's how i see it. a lot of the factors people are mentioning (cheaper housing) won't apply to your decision anyways if you're staying where you are in brooklyn.

gl.

sumus romani
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby sumus romani » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:19 pm

One consideration that might be relevant is the kind of message you send to potential employers in school choice. I imagine that people who hire in gov't want people deeply committed to public employment. Your attending NYU would be a good signal that you are committed to such a career. To be perfectly honest, you are in a good position right now because you have time and the proximity to look into it further and see whether what I suspect above is largely true.

insidethetwenty
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby insidethetwenty » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:34 pm

Renzo wrote:
insidethetwenty wrote:I just skimmed that, but if you want to do government work or public interest, I'd say take the one that is the least expensive. It's probably going to be NYU.

NYU is more expensive by cost of attendance, just barely cheaper by tuition-only, so that's a terrible way to decide.


I was actually thinking that OP might get a little scholarship money from NYU, thus making it less expensive. Sorry if I wasn't clear, but I really don't think that deciding based on total cost (with consideration of scholarships) is a "terrible idea" at all.

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lsathalon
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby lsathalon » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:35 pm

I know the credited response is that Columbia is better than NYU for the private sector...but I can't find the figures to back it up.

In last year's USNWR, Columbia graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $140,000, while NYU graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000. Their 25th percentiles also differed, with Columbia's 25th percentile making less at $136,000, and NYU grads at $145,000.

Given that data, how is it decided that Columbia is better in the private sector?

Note: I'm not trying to be an NYU troll; I have to make the decision and want as complete of information as possible.

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irie
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby irie » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:49 pm

lsathalon wrote:In last year's USNWR, Columbia graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $140,000, while NYU graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000. Their 25th percentiles also differed, with Columbia's 25th percentile making less at $136,000, and NYU grads at $145,000.


dont think this info is correct, even the non t-14 schools tend to boast a $160,000 median for the private sector. note that median is a terrible measure for this type of info however.

here's the latest from columbia's own career office:

http://www.law.columbia.edu/careers/car ... s/admitted

as for which is better in the private sector in general, refer to this for a nice comparison:

http://www.leiterrankings.com/jobs/2008job_biglaw.shtml

there's a difference between "biglaw" and "elite biglaw," although it's a close call, and somewhat arbitrary, I think CLS is considered more prestigious amongst elite biglaw firms.

sandy10
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby sandy10 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:03 pm

lsathalon wrote:I know the credited response is that Columbia is better than NYU for the private sector...but I can't find the figures to back it up.

In last year's USNWR, Columbia graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $140,000, while NYU graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000. Their 25th percentiles also differed, with Columbia's 25th percentile making less at $136,000, and NYU grads at $145,000.

Given that data, how is it decided that Columbia is better in the private sector?

Note: I'm not trying to be an NYU troll; I have to make the decision and want as complete of information as possible.


This is probably one of the best ways to see the difference between the two schools when it comes to selective private sector jobs.

http://lawfirmaddict.blogspot.com/2007/ ... ement.html

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lsathalon
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby lsathalon » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:00 pm

I don't know for sure whether the numbers are correct, but I do know that it's what USNWR has listed when I paid for their subscriber status to get the numbers for all of the components that go into the rankings.


Thank you for the links!

Renzo
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Renzo » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:30 pm

lsathalon wrote:I know the credited response is that Columbia is better than NYU for the private sector...but I can't find the figures to back it up.

In last year's USNWR, Columbia graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $140,000, while NYU graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000. Their 25th percentiles also differed, with Columbia's 25th percentile making less at $136,000, and NYU grads at $145,000.

Given that data, how is it decided that Columbia is better in the private sector?

Note: I'm not trying to be an NYU troll; I have to make the decision and want as complete of information as possible.

I am sure that is a difference in accounting methods, not in placement. NYU and CLS are both placing the majority of their classes in lockstep biglaw jobs, so the median at both schools should be $160k. My guess is that CLS is counting something as "private sector" that NYU counts another way. The only real private sector placement advantages that CLS has is 1) the benefit of self-selection and a self-selected biglaw alumni network, and 2) an Ivy-league name, which helps in ultra-prestige driven industries like consulting, and banking.

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lsathalon
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby lsathalon » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:46 pm

Renzo wrote:
lsathalon wrote:I know the credited response is that Columbia is better than NYU for the private sector...but I can't find the figures to back it up.

In last year's USNWR, Columbia graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $140,000, while NYU graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000. Their 25th percentiles also differed, with Columbia's 25th percentile making less at $136,000, and NYU grads at $145,000.

Given that data, how is it decided that Columbia is better in the private sector?

Note: I'm not trying to be an NYU troll; I have to make the decision and want as complete of information as possible.

I am sure that is a difference in accounting methods, not in placement. NYU and CLS are both placing the majority of their classes in lockstep biglaw jobs, so the median at both schools should be $160k. My guess is that CLS is counting something as "private sector" that NYU counts another way. The only real private sector placement advantages that CLS has is 1) the benefit of self-selection and a self-selected biglaw alumni network, and 2) an Ivy-league name, which helps in ultra-prestige driven industries like consulting, and banking.


Fair enough--thanks!

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scribelaw
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby scribelaw » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:04 pm

This has turned into a badass thread. Lots of great info.

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dbt
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby dbt » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:38 pm

sandy10 wrote:
lsathalon wrote:I know the credited response is that Columbia is better than NYU for the private sector...but I can't find the figures to back it up.

In last year's USNWR, Columbia graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $140,000, while NYU graduates' median starting salary in the private sector was $160,000. Their 25th percentiles also differed, with Columbia's 25th percentile making less at $136,000, and NYU grads at $145,000.

Given that data, how is it decided that Columbia is better in the private sector?

Note: I'm not trying to be an NYU troll; I have to make the decision and want as complete of information as possible.


This is probably one of the best ways to see the difference between the two schools when it comes to selective private sector jobs.

http://lawfirmaddict.blogspot.com/2007/ ... ement.html


I'll definitely concede that Columbia has the advantage when it comes to selective firm placement, but I would just add that the numbers may overstate this. Keep in mind that far more students at NYU end up going into public interest, and that the public interest jobs are often as difficult to get as the top firm jobs. It's very possible that the top 40% at NYU may be geared something like 5% clerkships, 10% PI, and 25% firm jobs, while students at Columbia could have a far larger percentage of their top students (the ones that can actually get jobs at those most selective firms) wanting to work there.

It's certainly not enough to make up for the disparity, and I'm not suggesting it does, but it is something to keep in mind when you're wondering whether Columbia is truly so much better than NYU at getting top firm jobs. FWIW, I've met many 2Ls here with summer gigs at V10 firms, so if you're a strong student, you're going to be fine either way.

sven
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby sven » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:51 pm

This is kind of minor, but does anyone know anything about the two schools' grading policies? Are they generally similar? Is one less stress-inducing than the other?

Renzo
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Re: NYU vs. Columbia: Class of 2013

Postby Renzo » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:56 pm

They're nearly identical, but NYU allows for a possible A+.

Columbia:

A 5-10%
A- 12-18%
Range for all A family grades: 20-25%

B+ 25-35%
Range for all grades of B+ and above: 45-55%

B 30-40%
Range for all grades of B and above: 85-93%

Range for all grades of B- and below: 7-15%

NYU:
A+ = 0-2% A = 7-13% A- = 16-24%
B+ = 22-30% B = Remainder B- = 4-8% for 1L J.D. students; 4-11% for all other students
C/D/F = 0-5%




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