International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

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Columbia v. Chicago

Columbia
74
89%
Chicago
9
11%
 
Total votes: 83

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irie
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby irie » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:01 pm

Hey-O wrote:
mcat4life87 wrote:HeyO, what do you mean by "breaking into the elite"? You used that phrase but I'm not clear what you mean by it.


Perhaps I shouldn't have used that phrase, because Columbia and Chicago are plenty elite, but I don't want to make the same mistake I made in UG.

I'm the first member of my family to graduate from college, I went to a tiny state college where I had a scholarship. I could have gone to a much better school, but I had no one to help me with the process and I knew nothing about it. I didn't think that the school mattered that much. I thought that going to college was such a big amazing thing that I could do anything I wanted once I graduated. (Yes, I was an idiot).

Since graduating from UG it's been a struggle and I'm just getting further and further from my goals. After I graduated I couldn't hold out for a good job that put me on the right career track because I had an accident that put in the hospital for a week like two weeks after I graduated from UG and I had no insurance (because the school insurance no longer covered me). So I had this crippling medical debt, no relevant work experience (I couldn't afford internships - I had to take work that would pay enough to cover my living expenses every year because my family couldn't give any money - so I waitressed), and this basically useless degree. So, I took the jobs I got. They were okay, but they weren't internships in DC with government offices, they weren't entry level research assistants for think tanks, they weren't international policy training programs in Afghanistan. They were secretaries or call centers.

There are lots and lots and lots of jobs that I've wanted but I don't get those jobs. I keep getting crummy jobs because previously, I took crummy jobs that I had to take. And now I can't get into a good grad program because I have no good work experience. So maybe I'm taking the elite thing too far and thinking it will be more helpful then it really will be, but I don't want to have another useless degree.

Every time someone says international law they say, 'This is the most competitive field you'll be up against the best from Yale'. Well, then if that's what I want to do then shouldn't I go to Yale? I mean, if this field is that competitive then I need every leg up I can get. So, by breaking into the elite, I guess I just mean a place where I can have the connections I need to do what I want with my life.


you're actually *in* at both schools right? like we're not just speculating based on an LSAT score you haven't achieved yet right? Because if you are actually in then your time would be much better spent speaking to professors from both schools and considering dual-degree possibilities than asking on TLS

Hey-O
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Hey-O » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:04 pm

irie wrote:
Hey-O wrote:
mcat4life87 wrote:HeyO, what do you mean by "breaking into the elite"? You used that phrase but I'm not clear what you mean by it.


Perhaps I shouldn't have used that phrase, because Columbia and Chicago are plenty elite, but I don't want to make the same mistake I made in UG.

I'm the first member of my family to graduate from college, I went to a tiny state college where I had a scholarship. I could have gone to a much better school, but I had no one to help me with the process and I knew nothing about it. I didn't think that the school mattered that much. I thought that going to college was such a big amazing thing that I could do anything I wanted once I graduated. (Yes, I was an idiot).

Since graduating from UG it's been a struggle and I'm just getting further and further from my goals. After I graduated I couldn't hold out for a good job that put me on the right career track because I had an accident that put in the hospital for a week like two weeks after I graduated from UG and I had no insurance (because the school insurance no longer covered me). So I had this crippling medical debt, no relevant work experience (I couldn't afford internships - I had to take work that would pay enough to cover my living expenses every year because my family couldn't give any money - so I waitressed), and this basically useless degree. So, I took the jobs I got. They were okay, but they weren't internships in DC with government offices, they weren't entry level research assistants for think tanks, they weren't international policy training programs in Afghanistan. They were secretaries or call centers.

There are lots and lots and lots of jobs that I've wanted but I don't get those jobs. I keep getting crummy jobs because previously, I took crummy jobs that I had to take. And now I can't get into a good grad program because I have no good work experience. So maybe I'm taking the elite thing too far and thinking it will be more helpful then it really will be, but I don't want to have another useless degree.

Every time someone says international law they say, 'This is the most competitive field you'll be up against the best from Yale'. Well, then if that's what I want to do then shouldn't I go to Yale? I mean, if this field is that competitive then I need every leg up I can get. So, by breaking into the elite, I guess I just mean a place where I can have the connections I need to do what I want with my life.


you're actually *in* at both schools right? like we're not just speculating based on an LSAT score you haven't achieved yet right? Because if you are actually in then your time would be much better spent speaking to professors from both schools and considering dual-degree possibilities than asking on TLS


This is true. I think it's the best advice I've gotten so far.

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samsonyte16
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby samsonyte16 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:15 pm

The poll isn't lying. Columbia is the better choice here. Other people here are going to criticize you for going to law school for the wrong reasons, but I get where you are coming from. If you want to work in international development policy, and your choices are Columbia Law or a M.A. from a non-top institution, Columbia seems like a reasonable decision, provided you understand what the debt entails.

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dresden doll
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby dresden doll » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:21 pm

OP is being reamed out too hard ITT. It's not exactly insane to hope for public international law from CCN. Moreover, I don't particularly see why a background major like Poli Sci or w/e wouldn't suffice for a great deal of international jobs she appears to be looking into.

My OCS pressed me to apply for an internship with ICC in Hague and while I didn't want to do so (I'd already gotten a job by that point), I actually think I'd have stood a serious chance since I'm from former Yugoslavia and speak relevant languages. OP speaks Chinese and that's pretty valuable. Language skills +CCN + decent grades = chance in hell at public international law (or at least not so unrealistic that it would deserve the amount of backlash she's been receiving ITT).

MidlawMyth
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby MidlawMyth » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:25 pm

samsonyte16 wrote:The poll isn't lying. Columbia is the better choice here. Other people here are going to criticize you for going to law school for the wrong reasons, but I get where you are coming from. If you want to work in international development policy, and your choices are Columbia Law or a M.A. from a non-top institution, Columbia seems like a reasonable decision, provided you understand what the debt entails.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dilemma

He has a 3rd choice, which is doing neither. Taking on $200K of high interest debt for something you have 1 in 1000 chance at best at is a horrible gamble.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Na_Swatch » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:27 pm

^Above post is ridiculously exaggerated... 1 out of 1000 coming out of CLS? I'm at a T6 and my chances for finding a job like that for my 1L summer is like 1 out of 2 as long as I put in effort. Yeah International Law is tough and very limited, especially if you want full time employment... but certainly not non-existent.

In fact, its much easier to get some kind of International Public Service type job your 1L summer than some Firms jobs... and you can build off of that for full time international law type work. Of course its much easier if you are at a T6 school and if you don't care as much about your salary, but with the OPs basic assumptions its very doable.

For example, one of the top offers I'm considering for my 1L summer is working with a NGO on Human Trafficking in Southeast Asia. Other people are doing similar things, but with the United Nations or more focused on policy initiatives/etc.

Big Dog
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Big Dog » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:41 pm

Regardless of whether those in the US are prestige-driven, the rest of the world definitely is. Thus, the school with the more international reputation would look better on your resume. (And I'm guessing that school would be Columbia.) But like another poster said, regardless of diploma, one really needs international, overseas living/working experience to be taken seriously in the that arena, particularly if a US citizen. Peace Corps is a great option, for example.

CrashingTheGate
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby CrashingTheGate » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:30 pm

I completely understand where this OP is coming from and this has been a pretty helpful thread for me (snide remarks aside) - a JD/MA seems like the right move and Chi or CLS are both great places to do it. Have you been accepted into any of the MA programs yet?

SIPA (Columbia) definitely has a better reputation for international development than UChi. and from what I understand (as another CLS admitted student) CLS has a TON of study abroad options which can help bolster your international portfolio. As far as I can tell, CLS just has a better international reputation and being in NYC as opposed to Chicago can't hurt. There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in international orgs. in the City if you are driven enough.

As for the prestige thing - I'd say you are doing just fine now. Either way, you are going to an amazing law school and have "broken into" the "elite." :wink: From there it's just matters what you make of it.

For my own purposes, since I am choosing between SLS and CLS at this point in International Law, why do you think Stanford would make a huge enough difference that you might transfer?

Rule11
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Rule11 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:35 pm

CrashingTheGate: I can't speak for the OP, but Stanford has a "bigger" international name than Columbia, and as at least one person in this thread correctly pointed out, the international brand name is a major factor in public international law hiring. The difference between Stanford and Columbia is not huge here, but it's nonetheless quite real.

If you're choosing between Stanford and Columbia for public international law, ceteris paribus, Stanford should win 99 out of 100 times, with the 1 being for compelling personal reasons.

eaa1537
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby eaa1537 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:54 pm

OP- we have similar interests as I'm currently interested in international and comparative law but am more open to shift paths. I'm also in at Columbia and Chicago right now- I'm waiting for a JR2 from Harvard in which case that's where I'll be going, but if not I'll be attending Columbia (what I voted for). Based on what I've gathered about the two schools I think Columbia is your better option. As for transferring I don't think that should be a consideration, first pick a school and then worry about whether you will get in the top of your class to have the option to transfer out.

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chris0805
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby chris0805 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:00 pm

Rule11 wrote:CrashingTheGate: I can't speak for the OP, but Stanford has a "bigger" international name than Columbia, and as at least one person in this thread correctly pointed out, the international brand name is a major factor in public international law hiring. The difference between Stanford and Columbia is not huge here, but it's nonetheless quite real.

If you're choosing between Stanford and Columbia for public international law, ceteris paribus, Stanford should win 99 out of 100 times, with the 1 being for compelling personal reasons.


I know only of international human rights (and obviously there's much more to public international law than human rights and not all human rights is public international law). Still, I don't think CLS should lose out 99/100 times. First, Stanford has a human rights clinic they "expect to create in the next few years." Columbia has a very strong clinic that is one of the best in the country (Yale, UVA, NYU are others that come to mind). Columbia, IMO, has a more established international law curriculum, which I think does make a difference in this case where schools are so closely ranked and the topic is so important to the applicant.

Also, Columbia has an externship with the U.N. and significant connections to NYC based human rights organizations. I definitely think there's an east coast bias (or really a DC/NYC bias) in many international law fields and I think being in NYC helps immensely.

Most importantly, CLS has five international fellowships for recent graduates to begin their international law careers at outside organizations (like HRW). It's so hard to break into the field as a graduate, I think these fellowships are probably the most important thing CLS offers. It ensures five graduates that they will actually be working international law with a respected organization gaining experience and that valuable "foot in the door."

Also, just based on my work in West Africa, I question if Stanford really has a bigger international name. You might be right, but it seemed the opposite to me, meaning it's at least not as obvious as you'd make it out to be.

CrashingTheGate
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby CrashingTheGate » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:14 pm

chris0805 wrote:
Rule11 wrote:CrashingTheGate: I can't speak for the OP, but Stanford has a "bigger" international name than Columbia, and as at least one person in this thread correctly pointed out, the international brand name is a major factor in public international law hiring. The difference between Stanford and Columbia is not huge here, but it's nonetheless quite real.

If you're choosing between Stanford and Columbia for public international law, ceteris paribus, Stanford should win 99 out of 100 times, with the 1 being for compelling personal reasons.


I know only of international human rights (and obviously there's much more to public international law than human rights and not all human rights is public international law). Still, I don't think CLS should lose out 99/100 times. First, Stanford has a human rights clinic they "expect to create in the next few years." Columbia has a very strong clinic that is one of the best in the country (Yale, UVA, NYU are others that come to mind). Columbia, IMO, has a more established international law curriculum, which I think does make a difference in this case where schools are so closely ranked and the topic is so important to the applicant.

Also, Columbia has an externship with the U.N. and significant connections to NYC based human rights organizations. I definitely think there's an east coast bias (or really a DC/NYC bias) in many international law fields and I think being in NYC helps immensely.

Most importantly, CLS has five international fellowships for recent graduates to begin their international law careers at outside organizations (like HRW). It's so hard to break into the field as a graduate, I think these fellowships are probably the most important thing CLS offers. It ensures five graduates that they will actually be working international law with a respected organization gaining experience and that valuable "foot in the door."

Also, just based on my work in West Africa, I question if Stanford really has a bigger international name. You might be right, but it seemed the opposite to me, meaning it's at least not as obvious as you'd make it out to be.


Thanks for that. I had never heard of the international fellowships you mentioned or the externship at the UN. I knew CLS did an externship in DC, but not with the UN - definitely a draw. (for me and the OP, I imagine. :D ) How important is the curriculum in this regard though? I mean, there will be plenty of international law classes at SLS (or UChi) or any top school. How much does it matter, ultimately?

This thread is about CLS/ UChi, but I will say that SLS does have a Human Rights Clinic that seems to travel to Africa every year to work on cases - so, that is a draw.

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chris0805
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby chris0805 » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:44 pm

CrashingTheGate wrote:
Thanks for that. I had never heard of the international fellowships you mentioned or the externship at the UN. I knew CLS did an externship in DC, but not with the UN - definitely a draw. (for me and the OP, I imagine. :D ) How important is the curriculum in this regard though? I mean, there will be plenty of international law classes at SLS (or UChi) or any top school. How much does it matter, ultimately?

This thread is about CLS/ UChi, but I will say that SLS does have a Human Rights Clinic that seems to travel to Africa every year to work on cases - so, that is a draw.


Apologies on the misinformation about the clinic. Last I heard, it was still in the works. I still think an on-campus clinic might be better because such clinics allow students to work on a variety of projects focused on a variety of topics AND geographic locations while I imagine a "travel-clinic" might be more narrowly focused (though I guess it wouldn't necessarily have to be).

In terms of classes, I think it's "nice" and it might make your experience more positive if there are more in-depth classes on specific topics of interest (i.e. on development and global finance or humanitarian aid vs. human rights advocacy, etc.), but at the end of the day, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference. It's a little +1, but not a deciding factor unless two schools are fairly equally tied.

The fellowships can be found here:
http://www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/public_interest/career/fellowships

The externship is listed here (2nd from the bottom)
http://www.law.columbia.edu/programs/social-justice/sji-at-cls/classes-clinics-externships/externships/SP11

P.S. I think both Stanford or CLS would be preferable to Chicago. I think there's more support, better LRAPs, and more opportunities. That is, like anything else, just my opinion.

P.P.S. Disclaimer: I'm a 2010 CLS grad if that wasn't already made known, so I'm definitely biased. :wink:

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worldtraveler
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:34 pm

The people slamming the OP don't actually know what they're talking about. He/she actually has fairly realistic goals.

If these are your two choices, pick Columbia. The LRAP alone should make your decision. However, a lot of LRAPs do not cover UN work or consultant positions. If debt will be an issue then really look into this before you go.

If you have questions about the field, I'm doing a similar thing and had both 1L and 2L internships with NGOs abroad. Feel free to send a PM.

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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby sven » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:18 pm

Would Columbia still be TCR if the choice was between NYU v. Columbia? I keep hearing that NYU has a really good rep for this kind of stuff.

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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Hey-O » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:31 pm

CrashingTheGate wrote:I completely understand where this OP is coming from and this has been a pretty helpful thread for me (snide remarks aside) - a JD/MA seems like the right move and Chi or CLS are both great places to do it. Have you been accepted into any of the MA programs yet?

SIPA (Columbia) definitely has a better reputation for international development than UChi. and from what I understand (as another CLS admitted student) CLS has a TON of study abroad options which can help bolster your international portfolio. As far as I can tell, CLS just has a better international reputation and being in NYC as opposed to Chicago can't hurt. There will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in international orgs. in the City if you are driven enough.

As for the prestige thing - I'd say you are doing just fine now. Either way, you are going to an amazing law school and have "broken into" the "elite." :wink: From there it's just matters what you make of it.

For my own purposes, since I am choosing between SLS and CLS at this point in International Law, why do you think Stanford would make a huge enough difference that you might transfer?


Actually, the biggest reasons are personal. My family is on the west coast and an immediate family member has cancer and is very ill. The prognosis is good for the next few years, but I want to be home as much as I can during that time. Also, I hate being cold. And finally, my perfect job would be working in politics so I think the SLS name would have a bigger public impact. I also think it has a better international reputation, but that's not definitive.

Edit: I haven't been accepted to the MA programs. I plan on applying after my 1L year. I think I have a much better chance of admission and some $ if I have solid 1L grades to add to my application. Plus, I want to just worry about my grades my 1L year and not be focused on another program.
Last edited by Hey-O on Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hey-O
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Hey-O » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:33 pm

chris0805 wrote:
CrashingTheGate wrote:
Thanks for that. I had never heard of the international fellowships you mentioned or the externship at the UN. I knew CLS did an externship in DC, but not with the UN - definitely a draw. (for me and the OP, I imagine. :D ) How important is the curriculum in this regard though? I mean, there will be plenty of international law classes at SLS (or UChi) or any top school. How much does it matter, ultimately?

This thread is about CLS/ UChi, but I will say that SLS does have a Human Rights Clinic that seems to travel to Africa every year to work on cases - so, that is a draw.


Apologies on the misinformation about the clinic. Last I heard, it was still in the works. I still think an on-campus clinic might be better because such clinics allow students to work on a variety of projects focused on a variety of topics AND geographic locations while I imagine a "travel-clinic" might be more narrowly focused (though I guess it wouldn't necessarily have to be).

In terms of classes, I think it's "nice" and it might make your experience more positive if there are more in-depth classes on specific topics of interest (i.e. on development and global finance or humanitarian aid vs. human rights advocacy, etc.), but at the end of the day, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference. It's a little +1, but not a deciding factor unless two schools are fairly equally tied.

The fellowships can be found here:
http://www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/public_interest/career/fellowships

The externship is listed here (2nd from the bottom)
http://www.law.columbia.edu/programs/social-justice/sji-at-cls/classes-clinics-externships/externships/SP11

P.S. I think both Stanford or CLS would be preferable to Chicago. I think there's more support, better LRAPs, and more opportunities. That is, like anything else, just my opinion.

P.P.S. Disclaimer: I'm a 2010 CLS grad if that wasn't already made known, so I'm definitely biased. :wink:


Thanks for all the great information.

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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby CrashingTheGate » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:30 am

chris0805 wrote:
CrashingTheGate wrote:
Thanks for that. I had never heard of the international fellowships you mentioned or the externship at the UN. I knew CLS did an externship in DC, but not with the UN - definitely a draw. (for me and the OP, I imagine. :D ) How important is the curriculum in this regard though? I mean, there will be plenty of international law classes at SLS (or UChi) or any top school. How much does it matter, ultimately?

This thread is about CLS/ UChi, but I will say that SLS does have a Human Rights Clinic that seems to travel to Africa every year to work on cases - so, that is a draw.


Apologies on the misinformation about the clinic. Last I heard, it was still in the works. I still think an on-campus clinic might be better because such clinics allow students to work on a variety of projects focused on a variety of topics AND geographic locations while I imagine a "travel-clinic" might be more narrowly focused (though I guess it wouldn't necessarily have to be).

In terms of classes, I think it's "nice" and it might make your experience more positive if there are more in-depth classes on specific topics of interest (i.e. on development and global finance or humanitarian aid vs. human rights advocacy, etc.), but at the end of the day, it probably doesn't make a whole lot of difference. It's a little +1, but not a deciding factor unless two schools are fairly equally tied.

The fellowships can be found here:
http://www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/public_interest/career/fellowships

The externship is listed here (2nd from the bottom)
http://www.law.columbia.edu/programs/social-justice/sji-at-cls/classes-clinics-externships/externships/SP11

P.S. I think both Stanford or CLS would be preferable to Chicago. I think there's more support, better LRAPs, and more opportunities. That is, like anything else, just my opinion.

P.P.S. Disclaimer: I'm a 2010 CLS grad if that wasn't already made known, so I'm definitely biased. :wink:



That is wildly helpful, thanks! It also complicates my decision quite a bit more.

To the OP, there is this amongst those links: "Rural Land Rights in China Fellowship at the Rural Development Institute", which, if I remember correctly from this thread is something you are very interested in. :D

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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby buster » Sat Feb 26, 2011 11:46 am

uchi student here. i don't know anything about columbia, but i know uchi is not well known for intl law. my intl law prof at uchi even said if you want to do intl law, better to study it somewhere like nyu. and ocs at uchi is more focused on clerkships & firms, altho new public service coordinator at ocs is awesome & there are def summer opportunities in the hague. i was interested in similar things before entering law school, but i think the school environment changed that. so not to diss uchi - i love it - but it's def not for everyone.

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Non-Chalant1
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Non-Chalant1 » Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:41 pm

Does the OP really need the dual degree though?

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worldtraveler
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:19 pm

Non-Chalant1 wrote:Does the OP really need the dual degree though?


For international stuff, YES.

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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby MrAnon » Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:37 pm

it sounds like you need/want to learn about economics. Law school barely touches that. Unless you consider listening to some professors who have no background in economics telling you about economics to be a lesson in economics. Lots of NGOs have people with law degrees but the people who do policy issues are on the policy staff, right?

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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Hey-O » Sat Feb 26, 2011 9:39 pm

MrAnon wrote:it sounds like you need/want to learn about economics. Law school barely touches that. Unless you consider listening to some professors who have no background in economics telling you about economics to be a lesson in economics. Lots of NGOs have people with law degrees but the people who do policy issues are on the policy staff, right?


I have an undergraduate degree in economics and I teach college level economics at the high school level.

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awahoya
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby awahoya » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:05 am

I have similar interests, and I'm extremely grateful for the OP's post and the constructive comments on the second page of this thread.

I can't comment on SLS vs. CLS or UChi, but FWIW I have heard that Columbia has an outstanding reputation for international law, especially in human rights. I'm not sure how large of a grain of salt this should be taken with, but US News has a ranking of top international law programs:

1.) NYU
2.) Columbia
3.) Harvard
4.) Georgetown
5.) Yale

http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandr ... w-rankings

EDIT: here's a page with similar rankings and a bit more info for each school-http://www.macquil.com/articles/topintlaw.php

UChi isn't in their top-10, though I feel like it is most likley MUCH harder to quantify the strength of international law programs relative to one another.

Having spoken to friends at NYU, CLS, HLS, and GULC, I have heard that the faculties and resources available at each when it comes to both the law and joint-degree programs are virtually unparralleled. (obviously that's 4 different schools, thus the "virtually").

Just FYI- I'm on hold at CLS, but in at NYU and it's currently my top choice.

Hey-O
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Re: International Law: Columbia v. Chicago

Postby Hey-O » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:22 am

awahoya wrote:Having spoken to friends at NYU, CLS, HLS, and GULC, I have heard that the faculties and resources available at each when it comes to both the law and joint-degree programs are virtually unparralleled. (obviously that's 4 different schools, thus the "virtually").


By this do you mean that all of the people you talked to at all schools said the had unparalleled programs? This isn't very comforting as it means they all seem similarly excellent.




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