Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

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SeiferD
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:58 pm

Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby SeiferD » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:35 pm

The deadline for Duke is quickly approaching and I'm completely torn. I would appreciate any advice as I'm driving myself crazy.

Columbia:
Best international law reputation
Overall prestige/connections
Possible exchange with London School of Economics

Duke:
$82,500 + cheaper living expenses
Already in the JD/LLM program (Hong Kong or Geneva)
Summer start w/ small group of students
Warm weather, bike trails, etc.

Flanker1067
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:47 pm

Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby Flanker1067 » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:37 pm

Ok, edited out for being dumb. I would do Duke, that is good money.
Last edited by Flanker1067 on Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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youpiiz
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Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby youpiiz » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:38 pm

d00k

SeiferD
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:58 pm

Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby SeiferD » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:41 pm

April 1st for the JD/LLM program because it starts in late May.

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holydonkey
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Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby holydonkey » Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:43 pm

Columbia

insidethetwenty
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Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby insidethetwenty » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:06 am

Considering that International Law is a somewhat wide and hard-to-define field, I'd take all that money at Duke, plus the summer start. Also, if you want warm weather and a lot of nature in which to bike, you'll probably like Duke better anyway. But, then again, you should always visit both and see which one you like best in person.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby imchuckbass58 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:16 am

What exactly do you mean by international law? Do you mean public international law? International aribitration? Cross-border M&A? International law isn't really a well defined term, and the various fields that qualify as "international law" are very different.

Where do you want to practice?

Maybe most importantly, your profile says you got a decent amount of money from NYU - why isn't that an option?

SeiferD
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:58 pm

Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby SeiferD » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:45 pm

The thing is that I'm not entirely sure myself. I've taken classes and done research in public international law and really enjoyed it. But I also find trade law and private international law interesting, though I don't have much experience in it.

Ultimately I'd like to practice abroad, either in England or Japan but also open to a lot of European or Asian countries. The big boon of Columbia for me is the possible exchange with LSE. But the guaranteed admit for the JD/LLM at Duke is also tempting.

As for NYU, I really disliked my visit. It wasn't enough to totally remove them as an option but I'm not thrilled about the idea of going there.

Overall I think Duke would be a more enjoyable 3 year experience. But Columbia wouldn't be awful and I'm told that I'll have more doors open.

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deneuve39
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Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby deneuve39 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:57 pm

SeiferD wrote:The thing is that I'm not entirely sure myself. I've taken classes and done research in public international law and really enjoyed it. But I also find trade law and private international law interesting, though I don't have much experience in it.

Ultimately I'd like to practice abroad, either in England or Japan but also open to a lot of European or Asian countries. The big boon of Columbia for me is the possible exchange with LSE. But the guaranteed admit for the JD/LLM at Duke is also tempting.

As for NYU, I really disliked my visit. It wasn't enough to totally remove them as an option but I'm not thrilled about the idea of going there.

Overall I think Duke would be a more enjoyable 3 year experience. But Columbia wouldn't be awful and I'm told that I'll have more doors open.


Definitely Columbia. I wanted to do "international law" when I was applying to law schools, and a big part of why I chose CLS was the strength of its international programs (study abroad, courses, international outlook, etc.). As CBass indicated, international law includes a lot of things; the good thing is you definitely are not expected to know precisely what area of law you want to practice in when you're still looking at law schools! We just got done with a slew of panels for both the private and public sector, and at all of the int'l law related ones I went to, almost every practicing, successful lawyer speaking made a point of saying how when they came into law school they didn't even know whether they wanted to do int'l law. In the private sector, most lawyers tried something out when they summered at a firm--whether it was working on an int'l arbitration case, an cross-border M&A deal, or something else with an international bent--and decided they liked it enough to seek out projects like that when they started at a firm. Of course languages help, and if you want to start at an office in London or Paris, you probably need to have a connection to the city or speak French, but a lot of practicing int'l lawyers sort of fell into it. To work internationally in the public sector, you likely do need a little more experience or a clear, well-defined interest. Getting summer internships is easier, and the public interest career counselors will encourage students to branch out and do, for example, human rights work in South Africa. Starting you career in the public sector is much more difficult and competitive. To get a high-profile job at the UN, the Hague, the ICC, ICJ, or any of the prominent int'l orgs, it's my understanding that you really need to have evidenced your commitment during your time at CLS--think doing an int'l law moot court, being on an int'l journal, writing a note on an int'l law issue, having a couple great summer internships.
Of course, take all this with a grain of salt b/c I'm only a 1L; but the above is based on my conversations and general impressions from talking with career counselors and attending panels.

OK, back to why CLS over Duke. First, if you have any interest in working in the private sector, go to CLS. Working from the presumption that you'll end up with grades at the median, getting a firm job from CLS is going to be so much easier than if you are at Duke, regardless of the LLM program. I don't really know how many of the firms recruit at Duke that recruit at CLS (I imagine most of them), but I think just b/c CLS is based in NY, you are going to get so much more exposure to practicing international lawyers. Second, I think you should go to the upcoming Admit day and see whether you really think your QOL will be lower. To be honest, I spend an absurd amount of time studying, which means it doesn't really matter where I am for about 90% of my time. That's sort of a strange way of looking at it, but maybe something to keep in mind. Third, the people around you will affect your QOL way more than the location. You should definitely try and attend both Admit days for the schools, and try and get a rough feel of what the current 1Ls and the other admitted students are like. Even though I was set on CLS when I went to an admit day, it still helped reassure me and some of the people I met I am still friends with.

Ok, there's probably many more reasons, but from a career perspective, CLS just has so many clear advantages. I was initially attracted to the LLM program at Duke as well, but it didn't seem to me to give that many clear advantages in terms of firms hiring you (although, again, you really should talk to some students in that program and get their perspective).

Good luck and feel free to PM if you have other questions!

SeiferD
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 6:58 pm

Re: Columbia v. Duke ($) for International Law

Postby SeiferD » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:11 pm

Wow! Thanks for the detailed response. That's pretty much where my thoughts are right now. I know that Columbia is going to offer better opportunities hands down. I'm more struggling with whether QOL + $100k is better or worse than better job placement. I know I should go to Columbia, but I want to go to Duke.

That said, I did actually go to the admit student day at Columbia and I had a really good time. The school itself is amazing: friendly staff, awesome campus (except the gym), nice students, etc. It's the city I had the problem with. I'm an outdoorsy active person, and I didn't see a lot of that going on. Regardless, I felt really good about my visit and simply assumed I would end up there. But then the Duke scholarship came and I really started to debate things.

I'm leaning towards Columbia right now and I'll probably just suck it up and deal with the city for 3 years. And you're right, I probably will be studying most of the time anyway :-)




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