ChiefMango wrote:How easy is it to gain employment during your 1L summer for relatively prestigious public interest positions (DoJ for example)? Did a majority of 1Ls who looked for summer employment find something that they enjoyed? Does coming from Columbia Law School give you a distinct advantage in non-NYC job markets like DC? Is that advantage comparable to HYS?
DC is one market where I wouldn't say Columbia can match HYS in placement. Columbia dominates NY, does well in CA. I wouldn't say it could match Harvard in cache nationwide, but it places equally well in firms because New York is such a large market.
Plenty of people get DoJ, clerkships, different fed agencies for 1L summer. These positions are unpaid so they aren't so impossible. Most people I've spoken to enjoyed their summer work.
I think this advice is pretty spot-on!
I'm a 1L (or just finished it, anyway) who'll be working with the DOJ this summer, starting next Monday. I don't think there's anyone else from Columbia in my particular section, but I know two others doing white collar and immigration work, respectively. There're probably more, I just don't know everyone's summer job. There's also a solid number of people working with the SEC. Other "relatively prestigious public interest positions" I can think of students going to offhand include the USAO, CFTC, and Federal Defenders, plus DA and AG offices. Some are in government offices abroad (USTR).
Something nice that did
happen this last year was enlarging the Guaranteed Summer Funding amount, as well as including judicial internships. I think it's certainly worth considering those internships if you're looking for some great writing experience and more general exposure, and Columbia has a pretty good number working in SDNY/EDNY, let alone other courts around the U.S.
You will get a summer job, even if it takes a while. Apply early if you can but accept that many places are on vastly different hiring schedules, and some may not send offers out until later. I think just about everyone's pretty happy with where they're headed.
As far as going from Columbia to DC for firm work, that's tough. I think JBagelboy's right, though I haven't been through OCI yet. I definitely do know a decent amount of upperclassmen who are going, but you have to keep in mind that it's a much smaller legal market (think NY firms having 100+ summer associates per class, with DC being less than a third of that) that still has highly desirable work. That means that top students from around the country'll still be trying to push into D.C., because they want to pursue practice areas can't quite be duplicated elsewhere, or not on the same level (like antitrust or some regulatory work, for starters). That obstacle applies to all schools, not just Columbia.
They definitely don't look down on you for trying to come to DC from NY, though.