Columbia students taking questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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sideroxylon
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby sideroxylon » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:24 pm

ph5354a wrote:I haven't had to switch a final yet, but is that generally pretty easy? I have three in-class finals in a row (Monday Tuesday Wednesday). Is it fairly certain that the registrar will let me move the Tuesday one?


Yes. But email and ask them to do it before the deadline. (Though they'll do it even if you miss the "deadline.")

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby toothbrush » Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:21 am

Tried searching this thread but tls search engine is not very good.

Can anyone tell me about externships (particularly the Spring '14 ones)? I guess just general impressions of doing an externship, if it's 'worth' it, are they hard to get into, are they rewarding, do many people do them, etc.

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sideroxylon
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby sideroxylon » Wed Oct 15, 2014 10:37 am

toothbrush wrote:Tried searching this thread but tls search engine is not very good.

Can anyone tell me about externships (particularly the Spring '14 ones)? I guess just general impressions of doing an externship, if it's 'worth' it, are they hard to get into, are they rewarding, do many people do them, etc.


Many people do them, they're probably less academically difficult but more time intensive, they vary in how difficult they are to get into, from fairly competitive to very very easy. Some people find them rewarding, some people just prefer them to class, some people regret doing them.

I'd look into one if you hate class, if there's one that you're interested in, or if you're just kinda bored. I don't think they're a huge resume boost unless you do PI one and are PI orientated. (e.g., I'm sure the Appellate one is fun/interesting, but I doubt that it'll really help you clerk, but hey, it might help you network or something.)

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby anon369 » Thu Oct 16, 2014 11:18 pm

trying to decide whether to go home for thanksgiving-- any advice? I am flying-distance, so I can't just go for the turkey and then head out. and I am from a family of drinkers and talkers-- so peaceful study time by the fire place with stuffing is unlikely. (I do think my parents miss enough to pay for some of my flight, so the exorbitant thanksgiving fares are probably not the deciding factor-- as long as I make the decision soon.)

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby sideroxylon » Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:40 am

anon369 wrote:trying to decide whether to go home for thanksgiving-- any advice? I am flying-distance, so I can't just go for the turkey and then head out. and I am from a family of drinkers and talkers-- so peaceful study time by the fire place with stuffing is unlikely. (I do think my parents miss enough to pay for some of my flight, so the exorbitant thanksgiving fares are probably not the deciding factor-- as long as I make the decision soon.)


do whatever would make you happier/more calm and be honest about that

you probably don't need the time to study

on the other hand it's just thanksgiving and winter break will approach shortly thereafter

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:41 am

Yeah going home isn't going to kill you, but I wouldn't mainly because it's nice to kick back that weekend and do a few hours each day as you get ready for the home stretch. But like I said not the end of the world because one thing Columbia gives you is a ridiculous amount of time to study for first semester finals.

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FOM
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby FOM » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:15 pm

Anyone have any advice for Contracts with Goldberg? I am not feeling very comfortable with the structure of the class, and I don't think I could go through a fact-pattern and consistently pick out the correct issues and apply law.

For example, in Torts, we have just been going through the elements of negligence, which makes it extremely easy to follow. In Civ Pro we have just been moving through each aspect of the litigation process.

Is contracts just inherently less structured or am I missing the connections between the different topics? Basically, we've covered enforcement of promises (consideration etc.), offer and acceptance, output and requirements contracts, duress, and fraud. To me, these just seem like disjointed topics and I would have trouble spotting these issues in a closed book exam. Do I just need more time with the material? Supplements? Any help appreciated.

Longtimecoming19
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Longtimecoming19 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:42 pm

FOM wrote:Anyone have any advice for Contracts with Goldberg? I am not feeling very comfortable with the structure of the class, and I don't think I could go through a fact-pattern and consistently pick out the correct issues and apply law.

For example, in Torts, we have just been going through the elements of negligence, which makes it extremely easy to follow. In Civ Pro we have just been moving through each aspect of the litigation process.

Is contracts just inherently less structured or am I missing the connections between the different topics? Basically, we've covered enforcement of promises (consideration etc.), offer and acceptance, output and requirements contracts, duress, and fraud. To me, these just seem like disjointed topics and I would have trouble spotting these issues in a closed book exam. Do I just need more time with the material? Supplements? Any help appreciated.


Goldberg's class is rough that way. I had him last year, so I can't say whether Contracts is inherently like that or whether he just teaches it that way. Don't freak out if it isn't coming together. The Chirelstein book may be helpful in terms of bringing the concepts together, but honestly, Contracts always felt to me like a bunch of disparate concepts rather than a unified framework for evaluating legal problems. Don't feel weird if you feel the same way - I think it's pretty common.

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FOM
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby FOM » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:27 am

Longtimecoming19 wrote:
FOM wrote:Anyone have any advice for Contracts with Goldberg? I am not feeling very comfortable with the structure of the class, and I don't think I could go through a fact-pattern and consistently pick out the correct issues and apply law.

For example, in Torts, we have just been going through the elements of negligence, which makes it extremely easy to follow. In Civ Pro we have just been moving through each aspect of the litigation process.

Is contracts just inherently less structured or am I missing the connections between the different topics? Basically, we've covered enforcement of promises (consideration etc.), offer and acceptance, output and requirements contracts, duress, and fraud. To me, these just seem like disjointed topics and I would have trouble spotting these issues in a closed book exam. Do I just need more time with the material? Supplements? Any help appreciated.


Goldberg's class is rough that way. I had him last year, so I can't say whether Contracts is inherently like that or whether he just teaches it that way. Don't freak out if it isn't coming together. The Chirelstein book may be helpful in terms of bringing the concepts together, but honestly, Contracts always felt to me like a bunch of disparate concepts rather than a unified framework for evaluating legal problems. Don't feel weird if you feel the same way - I think it's pretty common.


Thanks for the advice! I'll definitely take a look at the Chirelstein book. I had almost forgotten that I even had it. I did some more review this weekend and I'm feeling a bit more comfortable now with everything. I think most of my anxiety came down to the fact that we skirt around so many issues we haven't actually covered yet so it feels like a jumbled mess in the beginning.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby sideroxylon » Thu Oct 23, 2014 11:25 pm

schmelling wrote:0L here. just a couple basic questions.

What do you guys find the environment to be like at columbia? do you enjoy it? most law students at least claim that their school is "collegial" but when people talk about columbia it sounds like the students are all work all the time, with the students interacting considerably less than at other t14s.

also, what's your safety net like in terms of biglaw? I see the NLJ rank shows over 60% placement in biglaw, and with clerkships and even a small amount of self-selection out this number would suggest that the opportunity to earn 160k is available to all but the very bottom of the class. have you observed this to be the case? of course I will make every attempt to rank well among whatever class I end up in, but at columbia, I would be up against a pretty impressive bunch!


thanks in advance.


i've been drinking so it's hard to hide my disdain, apologies if this comes off as overly brusque

i would expect that all of the schools are almost exactly as "collegial" as one another. it's the same pool of students from the same undergrads caring about the same things taking the same classes taught by professors who went to the same law schools and clerked for the same judges. i would expect that law school is a largely fungible experience.

moreover, i'd expect that our strong jobs placement makes our environment more collegial than most as you're not really competing with your peers. people (for better or worse) expect to get a job out of columbia.

come visit the school and see what you think for yourself.

but, frankly, you're looking at the wrong things. you should primarily care about cost. i would have gone to NYU if they gave me more money. i would recommend that people with full rides at other schools take them over CLS (and similarly would recommend that people who get full rides here come here over harvard or something)

finally, you're not going to go against an "impressive" bunch—you're going against the same bunch everywhere. i'd expect that you wouldn't be able to tell a group of fordham students from a bunch of columbia students.

there are other things that are just off about your post—it's not people with bad grades who necessarily strike out (personality is more important, and luck is probably far more important), students at columbia assuredly work less than at other schools in the city, due to the lack of graded LPW and the fact that people are confident that they will get a job, students "interact" the same at all of these schools (and you're probably going to be disappointed anywhere if you're expecting an undergrad like experience)

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby jbagelboy » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:06 am

schmelling wrote:
sideroxylon wrote:
schmelling wrote:0L here. just a couple basic questions.

What do you guys find the environment to be like at columbia? do you enjoy it? most law students at least claim that their school is "collegial" but when people talk about columbia it sounds like the students are all work all the time, with the students interacting considerably less than at other t14s.

also, what's your safety net like in terms of biglaw? I see the NLJ rank shows over 60% placement in biglaw, and with clerkships and even a small amount of self-selection out this number would suggest that the opportunity to earn 160k is available to all but the very bottom of the class. have you observed this to be the case? of course I will make every attempt to rank well among whatever class I end up in, but at columbia, I would be up against a pretty impressive bunch!


thanks in advance.


i've been drinking so it's hard to hide my disdain, apologies if this comes off as overly brusque

i would expect that all of the schools are almost exactly as "collegial" as one another. it's the same pool of students from the same undergrads caring about the same things taking the same classes taught by professors who went to the same law schools and clerked for the same judges. i would expect that law school is a largely fungible experience.

moreover, i'd expect that our strong jobs placement makes our environment more collegial than most as you're not really competing with your peers. people (for better or worse) expect to get a job out of columbia.

come visit the school and see what you think for yourself.

but, frankly, you're looking at the wrong things. you should primarily care about cost. i would have gone to NYU if they gave me more money. i would recommend that people with full rides at other schools take them over CLS (and similarly would recommend that people who get full rides here come here over harvard or something)

finally, you're not going to go against an "impressive" bunch—you're going against the same bunch everywhere. i'd expect that you wouldn't be able to tell a group of fordham students from a bunch of columbia students.

there are other things that are just off about your post—it's not people with bad grades who necessarily strike out (personality is more important, and luck is probably far more important), students at columbia assuredly work less than at other schools in the city, due to the lack of graded LPW and the fact that people are confident that they will get a job, students "interact" the same at all of these schools (and you're probably going to be disappointed anywhere if you're expecting an undergrad like experience)


Not surprised to find out what I had heard was off base- that's why I asked in the first place. I will be visiting the school soon enough. But you missed an important part of my question- do you enjoy it? I'm not expecting a UG experience by any stretch of the imagination, but quality of life is definitely a factor in my decision, even if it isn't the first concern


I largely agree with smaug. Most importantly and first, its total bullshit that students at Columbia socialize less with each other or form a less "collegial" atmosphere than other law schools. There are always odd types that stick to themselves. But for the large part we are a very friendly group and I count many of my law school classmates among my close friends. I would dare say that the social life of the campus has exceeded my expectations, even if occasionally during 1L people really made me want to vomit with their strivy squeamishness. I won't say we are "more" social than another top law school, but certainly not less. The student organizations provide sincere outlets for contact. We enjoy each other's company for the large part. The school is large enough to find people you like and small enough that you're not anonymous. What I have most loathed about CLS has consistently been administrators, and not fellow students.

I don't agree that the Fordham student body would be entirely interchangeable with the Columbia student body. The very top students at Fordham regularly transfer into NYU or CLS. I think that's stretching a basic truth -- that a few points of the LSAT or GPA are just noise in the grand scheme of the human condition (and a 171 or 172 or 173 median is meaningless) -- a little it too far. I do find my classmates, on the whole, "an impressive bunch." That being said, law students across a range (like the top ten or so schools) will draw largely consistent students and level of competition, as far as exam taking is concerned.

As for big law safety net, for what it's worth I don't know anyone that didn't get a job at a firm next summer who applied in the private sector. A couple people won't get jobs through EIP either because they didn't participate or they only bid a few selective firms when they already had an offer. I know in past years (like 2011-2012) there was a decent strikeout population but that was the case at every law school.

I think on the whole, living in Manhattan provides some unanticipated QoL advantages. I make use of the fact that we are in a dynamic cultural and aesthetic epicenter whenever I can. Also having non-law friends in the city and committing to getting together with them or going out of town on a regular basis can be important depending on your personality type. Not only is it nice when firms are taking you out, but broadway and lincoln center are just a few stops away on the 1... there are clubs, late night jazz, free concerts, ect everywhere. You won't make use of this all the time because of studying, but when you can its refreshing. I think law school might turn into a rather miserable experience if I was in the wilderness, so to speak, and could never escape into the metropole to find other outlets. Don't get me wrong -- you will be incredible unhappy during law school at some points in time; that's the nature of the beast. But overall I think I'm happy here.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby sideroxylon » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:41 am

schmelling wrote:do you enjoy it?


I love law school. It's way better than actually working.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:43 am

sideroxylon wrote:
schmelling wrote:do you enjoy it?


I love law school. It's way better than actually working.

Cosign this and everything else sideroxylon said above.

The only thing I don't like about Columbia is the cost. Given the alternatives a large portion of our class has I find it hard to justify attending. But it's the risk-averse choice for those who want to spend a little more to make big law pretty close to a lock.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby mylifeis24 » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:36 pm

schmelling wrote:Not surprised to find out what I had heard was off base- that's why I asked in the first place. I will be visiting the school soon enough. But you missed an important part of my question- do you enjoy it? I'm not expecting a UG experience by any stretch of the imagination, but quality of life is definitely a factor in my decision, even if it isn't the first concern


1L here. Love Columbia, love my classmates, love the school/admin, love the city, love the classes. In short, not only do I enjoy it, but I love it.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby tlsapp2017 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:13 pm

mylifeis24 wrote:
schmelling wrote:Not surprised to find out what I had heard was off base- that's why I asked in the first place. I will be visiting the school soon enough. But you missed an important part of my question- do you enjoy it? I'm not expecting a UG experience by any stretch of the imagination, but quality of life is definitely a factor in my decision, even if it isn't the first concern


1L here. Love Columbia, love my classmates, love the school/admin, love the city, love the classes. In short, not only do I enjoy it, but I love it.


Basically all of this. I'd be absolutely shocked if the quality of life was better at other schools. (Anecdotally, I seem to be having a much happier/enjoyable law school experience than my friends at peer schools). People are generally friendly, the professors are almost uniformly fantastic (and extremely nice), and you live in New York. As a 1L I obviously haven't had to deal with finals yet, but I've been pretty comfortably going out 3-4 nights a week, if that's important to you.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Carter1901 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 11:21 pm

tlsapp2017 wrote:
mylifeis24 wrote:
schmelling wrote:Not surprised to find out what I had heard was off base- that's why I asked in the first place. I will be visiting the school soon enough. But you missed an important part of my question- do you enjoy it? I'm not expecting a UG experience by any stretch of the imagination, but quality of life is definitely a factor in my decision, even if it isn't the first concern


1L here. Love Columbia, love my classmates, love the school/admin, love the city, love the classes. In short, not only do I enjoy it, but I love it.


Basically all of this. I'd be absolutely shocked if the quality of life was better at other schools. (Anecdotally, I seem to be having a much happier/enjoyable law school experience than my friends at peer schools). People are generally friendly, the professors are almost uniformly fantastic (and extremely nice), and you live in New York. As a 1L I obviously haven't had to deal with finals yet, but I've been pretty comfortably going out 3-4 nights a week, if that's important to you.


Nailed it. Also a 1L here; I'd echo all of this. Incredibly positive experience thus far.

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almondjoy
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby almondjoy » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:31 pm

Any 2L/3Ls have any recommendations for 1L spring electives? I've heard taking an upper level class can be good because of the more lenient curve. Thoughts?

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby starrydreamz3 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:32 am

almondjoy wrote:Any 2L/3Ls have any recommendations for 1L spring electives? I've heard taking an upper level class can be good because of the more lenient curve. Thoughts?


I did this, took Corporations with Goldschmid. I really loved the class, and most of the 2L/3Ls weren't very involved in the class. Also, that class attracted a lot of 1Ls who had strong business/finance background, so there were some really dynamic and interested discussions. My whole study group (1Ls) got very good grades, and I was able to jump right into upper level corporate classes during 2L. It was a little rough have 4 finals (instead of 3 finals and a paper), but it worked out fine.

10/10 would do again.

(Also I've heard labor law is amazing!)

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:45 am

starrydreamz3 wrote:It was a little rough have 4 finals (instead of 3 finals and a paper), but it worked out fine.

I think all of the 1L electives have exams and not papers. But I think you are right to have taken corps instead of an easier 1L elective because of the impact on the curve of having so many checked out people in the class. Waxman's class is really easy in terms of workload but you have to deal with poly sci gunners and their effect on the curve.

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almondjoy
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby almondjoy » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:38 pm

starrydreamz3 wrote:
almondjoy wrote:Any 2L/3Ls have any recommendations for 1L spring electives? I've heard taking an upper level class can be good because of the more lenient curve. Thoughts?


I did this, took Corporations with Goldschmid. I really loved the class, and most of the 2L/3Ls weren't very involved in the class. Also, that class attracted a lot of 1Ls who had strong business/finance background, so there were some really dynamic and interested discussions. My whole study group (1Ls) got very good grades, and I was able to jump right into upper level corporate classes during 2L. It was a little rough have 4 finals (instead of 3 finals and a paper), but it worked out fine.

10/10 would do again.

(Also I've heard labor law is amazing!)

Thanks for the response! How much at a disadvantage do you think people who don't have a finance background?

lunaraeon
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby lunaraeon » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:56 am

almondjoy wrote:Any 2L/3Ls have any recommendations for 1L spring electives? I've heard taking an upper level class can be good because of the more lenient curve. Thoughts?

Just making sure you know it's a more lenient curve because 2Ls/3Ls/LLMs tend to either be checked out or not the best at writing exams—all the 1L electives are graded on the same upper-year curve :)

Anyways, I took International Law. You don't have it this year (only Waxman's take). But it was fun and pretty easy with not too many topics. I'd be hesitant to suggest taking corps—there's a lot of material, even if it's pretty straightforward, and I don't know how it would feel if I were still a 1L. Of course, starry is a much harder worker than I am :)

(At the same time, not sure what upper year course is worthwhile but doesn't also have a comparable workload. Tax, maybe? It feels pretty compact to me. But labor and admin would both be great if you're fine with the workload.)

My most important piece of advice: don't take Law and Contemporary Society. I can't stress enough how terrible the professor is, both as a person and as an instructor. There are apparently people who enjoy him, but I don't think that bet is in your favour.

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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby almondjoy » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:35 am

lunaraeon wrote:My most important piece of advice: don't take Law and Contemporary Society. I can't stress enough how terrible the professor is, both as a person and as an instructor. There are apparently people who enjoy him, but I don't think that bet is in your favour.


Yeah he was at the 1L Elective Panel the other day and he just completely bashed anyone who was even thinking about doing BigLaw. He kept referring to BigLaw associates as "canned meat" lol




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