Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

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AndyMcNally
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Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby AndyMcNally » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:24 am

Hello there,

I am an aspiring LL.M. Student thinking about attending Columbia next year. On the Pro-Columbia side are its reputation and its location. On the other hand I am a bit worried that I might miss out on the "real law school experience". The pictures I have seen from Columbia law school (on the great picture thread on this forum) don't look really inviting. I thought that perhaps people don't really "live" at law school but attend classes and then go elsewhere because there is whole NYC around the school. Is there someone who could perhaps comment on this? Is the interior of Columbia Law and especially the library really that ugly? Or are there nice places where people hang out and study together?

I know that facilities shouldn't be all that important but I will spend A LOT of money on that year and I would be a bit disappointed by a run down building for sure. And I thought maybe there is a reason why you easliy find a lot of gorgeous pictures of let's say Berkeley Law, UPenn Law, etc but literally none of Columbia Law School... Not saying that I will base my decision on this but it is a point to consider and I would highly appreciate some first hand experience as I live too faw away to visit...

Thanks and regards
Andy

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kwais
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby kwais » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:29 am

Exterior of building: Ugly

Interior of building: pretty nice

Library: terrible

atmosphere: definitely a good community. Not a commuter feel at all.

you should visit if you can. The LLM's seem very happy.

I have nothing to compare it to, but I think most negative myths about CLS are absurd, especially in regards to the people and atmosphere.

AndyMcNally
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby AndyMcNally » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:41 am

Thanks kwais!

No commuter feeling is good to hear.

If the library is terrible: where do the people go to study? At home? Other libraries? And what makes it terrible? Uncomfortable? Loud? I figure the library is a place where you are spending a lot of your time and seeing the pictures of some US Law school libraries really makes me dream (I know this is a bit nerdy, but the libraries of my law schools so far were just not places where you wanted to be and I was hoping to change this ;-)).

If I may, I have a question about the LLM-JD relationship. Is it not unnerving for the JDs that every year 250 or so foreign students swamp your school and courses or is it more like they are integrated in the law school community despite staying only for a short time?

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piccolittle
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby piccolittle » Sat Dec 10, 2011 11:57 am

AndyMcNally wrote:Thanks kwais!

No commuter feeling is good to hear.

If the library is terrible: where do the people go to study? At home? Other libraries? And what makes it terrible? Uncomfortable? Loud? I figure the library is a place where you are spending a lot of your time and seeing the pictures of some US Law school libraries really makes me dream (I know this is a bit nerdy, but the libraries of my law schools so far were just not places where you wanted to be and I was hoping to change this ;-)).

If I may, I have a question about the LLM-JD relationship. Is it not unnerving for the JDs that every year 250 or so foreign students swamp your school and courses or is it more like they are integrated in the law school community despite staying only for a short time?


The facilities are nice, actually; the whole building is pretty modern feeling and the upstairs floors have good carpeting and interiors.

I really don't spend much time in the library, but many students study on the mezzanine above the main law school lobby. It has big tables and comfortable chairs by the window, and there are two "lounges" (one quiet, one technically for eating) that people use to study. The library is a bit old-fashioned, but it's a library, so I really wouldn't know what to expect. I too have never been in one that was spectacular or anything. The big downside that I find to the library is the fact that you can't have food and you can't bring in drinks except for ones in spill-proof thermos things. Most people seem to disregard this, though. That said, it's the nicest library I've ever had at school. Really not sure what could be better about it.

Frankly, I feel as though the facilities are average for a successful law school, and it's more about the quality of the education than the comfort of the library. I do find that most people spend the day at school; I live a block away so I leave whenever I can, but people tend to hang around a lot - during the semester there's not a lot of free time to go to a museum or the park etc.

In terms of socializing with LLMs: everyone keeps pretty separate. I have a friend from college who is an LLM, and I have only bumped into him in the halls a couple of times this semester. I think you will mostly be socializing with LLMs. They do all the orientation and programs separately, and mostly I find I don't really notice the LLMS. Things may be different for the upper-level students who actually take classes with LLMs, though.

Sorry if that's not very helpful, but that's my experience :) Good luck choosing and hope to see you here next year. It's a great school and I love it.

AndyMcNally
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby AndyMcNally » Sat Dec 10, 2011 12:23 pm

Thank you piccolittle,

your post was indeed helpful.

I hope that there is some interaction with JD students in upper level courses - at least that is what the school tells the applicants (there should be only one separate LLM Course).

I think the no drinking no eating thing is pretty much standard in libraries around the world so I don't mind. From a library I just expect a desk, a fairly comfortable chair, good reading light and a lot of quiet. So from what you wrote the library "situation" shouldn't keep me from coming to Columbia :-). But it is always good to know what to expect. I am still amazed by the great variety of schools in the US. Some have an amazing reputation and location like Columbia, some have a great Harry Potter like atmosphere like Michigan and some have really modern or even luxurious buidlings like Duke oder Berkeley (the pictures from after the renovation are just great). But you can't get everything at once - so a lot of choices make for a tough decision :-).

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quiver
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby quiver » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:13 pm

My only gripe with the library is that there aren't many areas to group study and actually talk about things (like study rooms). Other than that, it seems fine for self-study; it meets all of these criteria IMO:
AndyMcNally wrote:I just expect a desk, a fairly comfortable chair, good reading light and a lot of quiet
The red chairs are actually really comfortable and they allow you to rock back so that you can read in a sort of lounging position if you want.

From my experience, there seems to be plenty of interaction with LLMs in the upper-level courses. This is all from my perspective but the seminar I had this semester was about one-third LLMs and everyone interacted very well (it was actually really cool since they brought a different perspective to the table). There could be a seminar/lecture distinction though since there isn't as much interaction in lectures (as a general matter). But I don't think my lectures had too many LLMs so I'll defer to others on this.

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kwais
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby kwais » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:18 pm

I guess everyone has different things they look for in a study space, but I really like the large cavernous libraries. This one lacks any of those open air areas. This is why I sometimes go to the Business library here, which has that.

Like pico said, the quality of the education seems to make up for any deficiency in facilities.

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quiver
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby quiver » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:42 pm

kwais wrote:I guess everyone has different things they look for in a study space, but I really like the large cavernous libraries. This one lacks any of those open air areas. This is why I sometimes go to the Business library here, which has that.

Like pico said, the quality of the education seems to make up for any deficiency in facilities.
True. Also, to counter my own point, there are plenty of other areas to group study and I heard that there are tons of study rooms in the Business Library as well (although I haven't been there).

polyester
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Re: Columbia Law School Atmosphere and Facilities

Postby polyester » Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:42 am

I know upper year students who are/were friends with LLMs, so you probably don't have to worry that much about that.
Also about libraries: I go to Teacher's College (and I always see other law students there), the SIPA library (which is pretty much connected to the law school building) and even study in Big Warren sometimes.




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