What are 1L paid summer prospects like? The $3600 CLS offers as a public interest fellowship isn't much. Are there any good opportunities to actually make enough to pay rent and eat through the summer?
I would have been happy with PI and that's mostly what I focused on in my search, but I ended up finding a small firm job that pays about halfway between a PI summer and a biglaw summer. Anecdotal but there it is.
Columbia has a reputation for having an extremely politicized atmosphere, more so than any of the other Ivies. Some students find the environment to be quite unpleasant. In particular at law schools, Harvard and Yale work to reduce the competition among students, but Columbia doesn't advertise any such efforts if they do exist.
Do you find aspects of Columbia unpleasant? Do you feel that you always have to compete with your peers to get anywhere?
Here's the part where I repeat what everyone else said: I've experienced nothing resembling the CLS rumors that float around here (and had me worried about picking CLS a year ago). There's going to be a handful of...oddballs...in any group of 400 people, but only a few of them are oddballs in an unpleasant way. People are very willing to help each other study, go over concepts, find practice materials/etc. The curve is a reality, but I don't think that people really factor it in when they're deciding how to behave towards each other...I certainly haven't seen that. Good people! Also, maybe HLS and YLS having to advertise that they "work to reduce the competition among students" say more about their student body than ours.
In reality though, I'm pretty sure the situation is similar at all of these schools including CLS.
Echoing Goochi Mane, I'm not sure what you mean by an "extremely politicized atmosphere."