CLS v. NYU

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

Where should I attend law school?

Columbia University
40
60%
New York University
27
40%
 
Total votes: 67

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redsoxfan2495
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CLS v. NYU

Postby redsoxfan2495 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:17 pm

After visiting both schools I'm leaning heavily towards CLS, but there's still a part of me that thinks I might be making a mistake. I liked both schools, but I felt more comfortable at Columbia and in the surrounding neighborhood.

The reason I continue to wonder if NYU might be the better fit is that I'm 99% sure I want to go into PI/Gov (maybe crim law?). NYU really emphasized the strength of their faculty in these areas and the institutional support for those interested in PI. At CLS I talked to a PI-oriented student who mentioned having to explain why she didn't choose NYU every time she interviews for a PI job.

I've heard both sides on this site, with some arguing that the percentage of students who choose PI at both schools is actually pretty similar, and that NYU's perceived advantage in PI is mostly empty talk and self selection.

So, I guess my final question is this: Is NYU objectively, meaningfully better for someone interested in PI, or are the two schools close enough that I should just go where I feel comfortable? Would Columbia be a good choice for PI, or am I being blinded by marble columns, perfectly trimmed lawns and lay prestige?

Assume equal cost of attendance, close to but not sticker, at both schools. Perhaps also relevant is that I would like to work in New England eventually.

EDIT: It would be helpful if those voting could share their rationale.
Last edited by redsoxfan2495 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BigBenD
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby BigBenD » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:22 pm

Realistically speaking, there is not a huge difference between these schools. If you would feel more comfortable at Columbia, definitely go there. While NYU does have a reputable PI faculty, I find it very hard to believe that you would be disadvantaged in your job search with a Columbia degree. On this one, absolutely go with your gut. You cannot go wrong.

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ahduth
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby ahduth » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:48 pm

I was pretty amused that CLS had to put that huge PI panel at the very beginning of their ASW presentation. Columbia has a reputation for abysmal PI support, and they're trying to allay people's fears in that regard. When I was at NYU, I didn't talk to any profs or anything about PI, but there are some great prosecution clinics at NYU (this was all I looked at really, since this is the only type of PI I think I'd be interested in). Particularly the Southern and Eastern District prosecution clinics just sounded... pretty great.

You're not the only person who came away from CLS ASW having spoken with a PI 2L who seemed to have a problem with it. Maybe you can try posting in those Class of 201X forums to see if there are any Columbia PI students on TLS who can talk to you about it.

At any rate I'm a 0L, and I'm also all for going after the program and not the name. If the people with whom you've spoken as you researched your objectives say CLS will support your professional goals as well as NYU, I would go where you think you'll be happier.

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redsoxfan2495
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby redsoxfan2495 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:43 pm

Thanks to the two of you who responded. Does anyone else have any advice?

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paratactical
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby paratactical » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:45 pm

NYU is right near the three best Sox bars in NYC. That would probably be a deciding factor for me.

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Non-Chalant1
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby Non-Chalant1 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:02 pm

ahduth wrote:I was pretty amused that CLS had to put that huge PI panel at the very beginning of their ASW presentation. Columbia has a reputation for abysmal PI support, and they're trying to allay people's fears in that regard. When I was at NYU, I didn't talk to any profs or anything about PI, but there are some great prosecution clinics at NYU (this was all I looked at really, since this is the only type of PI I think I'd be interested in). Particularly the Southern and Eastern District prosecution clinics just sounded... pretty great.

You're not the only person who came away from CLS ASW having spoken with a PI 2L who seemed to have a problem with it. Maybe you can try posting in those Class of 201X forums to see if there are any Columbia PI students on TLS who can talk to you about it.

At any rate I'm a 0L, and I'm also all for going after the program and not the name. If the people with whom you've spoken as you researched your objectives say CLS will support your professional goals as well as NYU, I would go where you think you'll be happier.
Columbia has those exact same clinics you're talking about for prosecution and they're actually externships. If it means anything to the TS, your interests mirror mine nearly identically (small chance of big law) but seems like we're from the same area with the same interests and I'm going to Columbia over NYU. I also think they calculate public interest differently, but that's another story.

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Lem37
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby Lem37 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:35 pm

Any increased number of NYU grads going into PI is probably due more to self-selection than employer preference. I am a 2L at Columbia who currently works in PI with the law school's Human Rights Institute. Their faculty is absolutely amazing and has connected me with dozens of significant NGOs across the country - not just biggies like ACLU, Legal Aid and USHRN, but regional groups and initiatives. Columbia is improving their public interest career-advisory group through a bunch of new hires, too.

Bottom line, though, is that when I applied for PI jobs last year, no one ever questioned why I went to Columbia instead of NYU, and in my mind, the idea that an employer would think that is ridiculous. You'll be going to the fourth best law school in the country - are you seriously questioning whether you'll have public interest job opportunities? Go wherever you're happiest. Get the grades, demonstrate an interest, and you'll be able to work anywhere you damn well please.

TLSNYC
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby TLSNYC » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:49 pm

In terms of your original question about what advantage does NYU have over CLS in terms of PI, I think a lot of it is self-selection. However, one real advantage that NYU does have that no CLS student can deny or down play is that NYU hosts the public interest career fair and mandates that all employers who set up shop MUST take a certain percentage of their recruits from NYU. This is huge.

spondee
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby spondee » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:04 pm

I really, really doubt that PI employers categorically prefer NYU or CLS grads. Neither school's name will hinder you in a PI career -- only help you.

No one can compare with any certainty unless they've attended both schools, but the difference will lie in institutional support. NYU will have more of it. A larger percentage of a larger student body suggests more support. Even if per-student spending on PI programs/support staff is the same, NYU will still be pooling the resources, connections, and time of more staff, creating more opportunities, more programs, a larger network, etc. And this matches up with its reputation.

But, again, CLS is a great school and will not prevent you from getting a great PI job. You just may have to do a little more leg work on your own. If that's OK, if that weighs less than your preference for the Columbia brand and for the comfort you felt at CLS, then go to CLS.

You won't regret either choice.

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88rabbits
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby 88rabbits » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:28 pm

Personally, I think you should go with whatever you feel comfortable with. I just made the same choice and I chose NYU. But I didn't have the luxury of visiting the schools because I'm working overseas.

However, you should take some time to investigate the courses and clinics on offer. One of the reasons I chose NYU was for the clinical opportunities. I think the clinics at NYU were just too good to pass up for what I want to do, which is immigration/refugees rights and poverty law. Columbia has no immigration/refugee clinic and only an externship on offer. While I have heard that externships at Columbia are very good, I have also heard that they accept less students, have less faculty support and are just not as good/important as fully staffed clinics like at NYU. Also, the full year clinics at NYU which account for half your yearly credits sound AMAZING. On the other hand, I think that if you were interested in Human Rights and maybe even Govt, then Columbia might be better.

Another thing would be to consider your academic interests. I am deeply interested in Legal Philosophy and Theory, and NYU houses three of the worlds top scholars in that field. Their courses are also more extensive in that field, and seem to involve more cultural theory. Thus I chose NYU...

I didn't actually consider employment at biglaw, but I still had a tough time passing up Columbia's prestige. I don't know about the meaningful PI work difference which you mention. I have heard that NYU has better faculty and administrative support for PI and the PI job fair they host is apparently amazing. But I would also put value on what Lem says, since she is a current student. Her advice was really helpful for me (thanks Lem!) but I ended up choosing NYU cause I read the curriculum for both schools, looked up all the profs I wanted to study under and compared NYU clinics vs. Columbia clincs + externships.

So yeah, do your research and go where you will enjoy 3 years! Good luck. Plus, if you choose Columbia, you get to hang out with cool people like Lem ;-)

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Stanford4Me
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby Stanford4Me » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:42 pm

I'm a 1L at NYU who voted for Columbia. Differences in employment prospects are negligible, and you feel more comfortable at CLS. Go there and enjoy being destroyed by us (again) in next year's Dean's Cup.

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redsoxfan2495
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby redsoxfan2495 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:47 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:I'm a 1L at NYU who voted for Columbia. Differences in employment prospects are negligible, and you feel more comfortable at CLS. Go there and enjoy being destroyed by us (again) in next year's Dean's Cup.
I heard you guys won again. How bad was it, do you remember the score?

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TaipeiMort
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby TaipeiMort » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:56 pm

I'm at Chicago, if I had the choice between NYU and Columbia, I would choose Columbia. That is because I would want to practice outside of New York, and outside of New York they aren't even peer schools. However, if you want to stay in NY, they are about the same.

If you want PI, NYU may be the best in the country.

For anything else besides NYC biglaw and PI, the difference is probably the same as Berkeley (NYU) and Stanford (Columbia).

llamaman
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby llamaman » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:00 pm

redsoxfan2495 wrote:After visiting both schools I'm leaning heavily towards CLS


Done and done.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby Stanford4Me » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:16 pm

redsoxfan2495 wrote:
Stanford4Me wrote:I'm a 1L at NYU who voted for Columbia. Differences in employment prospects are negligible, and you feel more comfortable at CLS. Go there and enjoy being destroyed by us (again) in next year's Dean's Cup.
I heard you guys won again. How bad was it, do you remember the score?

I think the highest we were up was like 23. We took out our starters and ended up winning 78 - 67.

In all seriousness, though, I think if you feel more comfortable at Columbia and feel like that is a place where you would be happier overall then you should choose Columbia.

bdubs
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby bdubs » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:54 pm

No one has mentioned LRAP yet? NYU has an 80k base salary while Columbia uses 50k.

If you end up going for a DOJ position in a high COL city like NY, DC or Boston you will probably be above the base level at Columbia from the get go.

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong on this, since I'm certainly no expert.

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chris0805
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby chris0805 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:22 pm

Just to perform my usual CLS trolling:

1. I don't know how much of a home-field advantage the public interest fair is to NYU. Yes, they have interview quotas, but they don't have hiring quotas. If an employer interviews you just to fill out the quota, I'm not sure you've been helped that much. My employer, for example, interviewed at the fair for three post-grad positions last February. Certainly, they interviewed many more NYU 3Ls than any other school, but they ended up hiring 2 of us from CLS, one NYU student, and one Fordham student. I really do think the organizations hire who they want, with or without the quotas.

2. The LRAP comparison needs to take into account that NYU is linked to IBR now, which has advantages (higher base salary) and disadvantages (your debt grows and grows until it all disappears at the end of ten years). Also, it necessarily excludes private "civil rights firms" that do a lot of very exciting PI work because those firms are not 501(c)(3)s or public sector.

I'm not trying to say one is better, but an IBR linked LRAP with a higher base salary can't really be compared to a traditional LRAP with a lower base salary.

bdubs
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby bdubs » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:28 pm

chris0805 wrote:2. The LRAP comparison needs to take into account that NYU is linked to IBR now, which has advantages (higher base salary) and disadvantages (your debt grows and grows until it all disappears at the end of ten years). Also, it necessarily excludes private "civil rights firms" that do a lot of very exciting PI work because those firms are not 501(c)(3)s or public sector.

I'm not trying to say one is better, but an IBR linked LRAP with a higher base salary can't really be compared to a traditional LRAP with a lower base salary.


That is not what the financial aid panel at NYU said.

The essence of what they said was that you were put on a 10 year repayment plan. If you made less than 80k NYU covered all of your payments for that year for the 10 year plan. If you made more than 80k you contribute 40% of the excess toward the 10 year plan. If you leave PI for another position, you are no worse off than if you had been paying your loans down over 10 years.

Also, you don't have to work for a 501(c)(3). It just has to be within a fairly broad definition of what NYU considers PI.

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chris0805
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby chris0805 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:37 pm

bdubs wrote:
chris0805 wrote:2. The LRAP comparison needs to take into account that NYU is linked to IBR now, which has advantages (higher base salary) and disadvantages (your debt grows and grows until it all disappears at the end of ten years). Also, it necessarily excludes private "civil rights firms" that do a lot of very exciting PI work because those firms are not 501(c)(3)s or public sector.

I'm not trying to say one is better, but an IBR linked LRAP with a higher base salary can't really be compared to a traditional LRAP with a lower base salary.


That is not what the financial aid panel at NYU said.

The essence of what they said was that you were put on a 10 year repayment plan. If you made less than 80k NYU covered all of your payments for that year for the 10 year plan. If you made more than 80k you contribute 40% of the excess toward the 10 year plan. If you leave PI for another position, you are no worse off than if you had been paying your loans down over 10 years.

Also, you don't have to work for a 501(c)(3). It just has to be within a fairly broad definition of what NYU considers PI.


First, you would be no worse off compared to the OLD program where you would have been receiving less money. From their website:

Therefore, if a graduate leaves qualifying employment before earning forgiveness under the PSLFP but has met all other LRAP requirements, then the Law School will assist the borrow in payment of any negative amortization to the extent the graduate would be entitled to such assistance under the current program guidelines as set forth in the Program Description for JD Classes Graduating in 2005 and Beyond.


http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/lrap/index.htm

And even then, that's only to pay off the negative amortization, not necessarily the principal. NYU has a much better system than other IBR linked LRAPs, but it can definitely still hamstring you if, at year 7, you get a job that's not covered by PSLFP.

Second, NYU might not condition your LRAP benefits on having a 501(c)(3) or public sector job, but they do require that you enroll in IBR. IBR is really only a good deal for public interest lawyers if they ALSO get the ten year forgiveness through PSLFP. Otherwise, after ten years, your NYU LRAP is over and you're still saddled with debt. The only way to get the PSLFP is to work at 501(c)(3) or public sector job. Granted, that's the vast majority of PI positions, but it does narrow the field slightly.

bdubs
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby bdubs » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:41 pm

chris0805 wrote:First, you would be no worse off compared to the OLD program where you would have been receiving less money. From their website:

Therefore, if a graduate leaves qualifying employment before earning forgiveness under the PSLFP but has met all other LRAP requirements, then the Law School will assist the borrow in payment of any negative amortization to the extent the graduate would be entitled to such assistance under the current program guidelines as set forth in the Program Description for JD Classes Graduating in 2005 and Beyond.


http://www.law.nyu.edu/financialaid/lrap/index.htm

And even then, that's only to pay off the negative amortization, not necessarily the principal. NYU has a much better system than other IBR linked LRAPs, but it can definitely still hamstring you if, at year 7, you get a job that's not covered by PSLFP.

Second, NYU might not condition your LRAP benefits on having a 501(c)(3) or public sector job, but they do require that you enroll in IBR. IBR is really only a good deal for public interest lawyers if they ALSO get the ten year forgiveness through PSLFP. Otherwise, after ten years, your NYU LRAP is over and you're still saddled with debt. The only way to get the PSLFP is to work at 501(c)(3) or public sector job. Granted, that's the vast majority of PI positions, but it does narrow the field slightly.


Thanks, I actually feel misled by their broad characterization of the LRAP plan at the ASW. A clerkship -> fed govt -> private sector plan doesn't look as financially attractive now.
Last edited by bdubs on Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sgtgrumbles
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby sgtgrumbles » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:46 pm

Yeah, Chris, NYU just revamped their LRAP. Edit: I see you know about it. Disregard this then.I can't detail the specifics of it, but they were touting it as an improved and simplified program. I do recall them basically explaining that if you stayed under 80k in salary for ten years you wouldn't pay a dime (outside of the usually negligible annual student contribution that they require all students to pay towards tuition).

I voted for NYU because I think it has undeniable advantages in terms of institutional support, alumni network, and the PI career fair. Still, those differences may not be meaningful enough to override your personal preferences. This is one of those wonderful situations where you can't make a wrong choice. If you prefer the environment, neighborhood, prestige, or whatever other factors Columbia has then go there.

Good luck!

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chris0805
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby chris0805 » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:16 pm

I think NYU's plan can arguably be deemed an improvement, but it's definitely not a simplification.

dukey
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Re: CLS v. NYU

Postby dukey » Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:23 pm

dunno if you've seen this article yet. i remember it being discussed somewhere on TLS.


Title: Columbia Students Sign Petition Over Public Interest Opportunities
http://abovethelaw.com/2010/11/columbia ... rtunities/




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