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.
Sampaguita21
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Sampaguita21 » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:53 am

haha good to know! My job is pretty demanding and I think I might actually have more free time as a 1L.

Can you guys tell me more about clerkship placements? I've heard that Columbia actually does the worst among the T6 schools.

joedf
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby joedf » Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:32 pm

Sampaguita21 wrote:haha good to know! My job is pretty demanding and I think I might actually have more free time as a 1L.

Can you guys tell me more about clerkship placements? I've heard that Columbia actually does the worst among the T6 schools.


Not even a 1L yet either, but keep in mind Columbia's more of a firm school than most of the rest of the T6. As far as I know, it and NYU are the only ones that still do letter grades, for example, presumably as part of that firm relationship.

That firm (and particularly corporate; for which a clerkship isn't quite as useful as for lit) bias doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to get a clerkship if you want one and you're qualified. It just means Columbia might draw in more people who are less likely to actively pursue a clerkship.

Also, you're comparing CLS to HYS here for clerkships, which is a pretty tough fight to begin with. :)

Now to wait on someone who actually knows what they're talking about to respond... 'cause I'm absolutely pulling this out of my ass here, but it makes a little sense to think about it when you're looking at the clerkship stats.

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kwais
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby kwais » Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:41 pm

joedf wrote:
Sampaguita21 wrote:haha good to know! My job is pretty demanding and I think I might actually have more free time as a 1L.

Can you guys tell me more about clerkship placements? I've heard that Columbia actually does the worst among the T6 schools.


Not even a 1L yet either, but keep in mind Columbia's more of a firm school than most of the rest of the T6. As far as I know, it and NYU are the only ones that still do letter grades, for example, presumably as part of that firm relationship.

That firm (and particularly corporate; for which a clerkship isn't quite as useful as for lit) bias doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to get a clerkship if you want one and you're qualified. It just means Columbia might draw in more people who are less likely to actively pursue a clerkship.

Also, you're comparing CLS to HYS here for clerkships, which is a pretty tough fight to begin with. :)

Now to wait on someone who actually knows what they're talking about to respond... 'cause I'm absolutely pulling this out of my ass here, but it makes a little sense to think about it when you're looking at the clerkship stats.


I think this is mostly right. Tougher to get a clerkship than HYS/Chicago and maybe a few others, but easier than the vast majority of law schools. I think Columbia usually does about 10% into clerkships, which would make me think you'd want to be top third for a chance. I say top third because certainly not all people who could get one apply, such as the Corporate types.

Sampaguita21
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Sampaguita21 » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:11 pm

Good to know. Thanks guys!

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SpatulasRcool13
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby SpatulasRcool13 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:27 pm

Ok, this might be a silly question, but how big are the bedrooms in the "400" block - i.e. big enough to fit a queen size bed? I can't go back to a twin!

griffin.811
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby griffin.811 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:47 pm

Excluding rarities, what is the lowest class percentile you could be in, and still expect to have an excelent shot (maybe 85% or better) at landing Big Law firm placement?

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suralin
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby suralin » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:03 pm

griffin.811 wrote:Excluding rarities, what is the lowest class percentile you could be in, and still expect to have an excelent shot (maybe 85% or better) at landing Big Law firm placement?


Interested in this too.

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piccolittle
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby piccolittle » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:09 pm

SpatulasRcool13 wrote:Ok, this might be a silly question, but how big are the bedrooms in the "400" block - i.e. big enough to fit a queen size bed? I can't go back to a twin!

Yes, generally. It depends which room in the apartment you get. Mine (A) fits a double bed and then some (thankfully). My roommates might not be able to swing it.

griffin.811 wrote:Excluding rarities, what is the lowest class percentile you could be in, and still expect to have an excelent shot (maybe 85% or better) at landing Big Law firm placement?

Maybe I'm being too conservative, but I think having an "excellent" chance at biglaw, barring everything else, would probably be Stone (3.41, around top third of the class). Much of your chances at biglaw depends on your past work experience and interviewing skills, but I think Stone with mediocre interviewing and no prior work experience would have around an 85% shot at it. Others should chime in and tell me if I'm being too pessimistic, however.

griffin.811
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby griffin.811 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:02 pm

Thanks. I assume its pretty tough to manage a 3.41 GPA then? At least for the average law student.

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suralin
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby suralin » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:21 pm

piccolittle wrote:
SpatulasRcool13 wrote:Ok, this might be a silly question, but how big are the bedrooms in the "400" block - i.e. big enough to fit a queen size bed? I can't go back to a twin!

Yes, generally. It depends which room in the apartment you get. Mine (A) fits a double bed and then some (thankfully). My roommates might not be able to swing it.

griffin.811 wrote:Excluding rarities, what is the lowest class percentile you could be in, and still expect to have an excelent shot (maybe 85% or better) at landing Big Law firm placement?

Maybe I'm being too conservative, but I think having an "excellent" chance at biglaw, barring everything else, would probably be Stone (3.41, around top third of the class). Much of your chances at biglaw depends on your past work experience and interviewing skills, but I think Stone with mediocre interviewing and no prior work experience would have around an 85% shot at it. Others should chime in and tell me if I'm being too pessimistic, however.


Damn, that sounds pretty low (for Columbia at least) :(

What about with average interviewing skills and average WE? No difference?

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starrydreamz3
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby starrydreamz3 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:25 pm

Maybe I'm being too conservative, but I think having an "excellent" chance at biglaw, barring everything else, would probably be Stone (3.41, around top third of the class). Much of your chances at biglaw depends on your past work experience and interviewing skills, but I think Stone with mediocre interviewing and no prior work experience would have around an 85% shot at it. Others should chime in and tell me if I'm being too pessimistic, however.


Would you say that students with backgrounds in certain industries had better results with big law? Coming from an investment bank or big four accounting firm, for example. Or engineers for patent law heavy firms?

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quiver
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby quiver » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:45 pm

I just want to say a few quick things about OCI.

piccolittle wrote:Maybe I'm being too conservative, but I think having an "excellent" chance at biglaw, barring everything else, would probably be Stone (3.41, around top third of the class). Much of your chances at biglaw depends on your past work experience and interviewing skills, but I think Stone with mediocre interviewing and no prior work experience would have around an 85% shot at it. Others should chime in and tell me if I'm being too pessimistic, however.


For those of you concerned about grades, I agree that Stone (top third-ish) should have an excellent chance at biglaw. I just want to point out that there are a lot of things that go into this. For example, even someone with Stone could strike out with poor bidding strategy and/or poor interviewing skills; that would actually be on the low end grades-wise if you're aiming at top DC firms, lit boutiques, etc. Conversely, someone at median could snag biglaw easily if they bid properly (i.e. NYC firms in the right order) and interview well. IMO, these type of variations make it more difficult to interpret OCI data than many people realize.

starrydreamz3 wrote:Would you say that students with backgrounds in certain industries had better results with big law? Coming from an investment bank or big four accounting firm, for example. Or engineers for patent law heavy firms?
Generally, yes. I just want to point out two things. First, interviewing ability is key because you can spin even mediocre work experience into a great SA offer. Second, it will depend on how your work experience connects with your preferred field. For example, someone will have an easier time convincing an interviewer that their i-banking experience will help them in M&A than someone trying to convert their i-banking experience into a patent law SA (this isn't the greatest example since IP will usually require a science degree, but you get the point). However, good interviewing skills can overcome this to a certain extent. But overall, yes, relevant WE will help.

griffin.811
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby griffin.811 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:21 pm

@Quiver and Piccolittle

Great stuff, much appreciated!

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kwais
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby kwais » Wed Jan 30, 2013 7:40 am

I would say that median, plus one or more of 1) good interviewing skills 2) excellent EIP strategy (including bidding and laying foundations at firms prior) and 3) work experience, puts you in the driver's seat for a job. Maybe not 85% but better than even odds. As quiver said, the data can be hard to interpret once you realize that there are top students who struggled at EIP and some middling ones who killed it.

griffin.811
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby griffin.811 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:06 am

So what happens to a candidates career strategy if the graduate with no offers? Is it almost unheard for someone in this situation to find a big law job within 9 mos. or so after graduating?

J90
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby J90 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 9:28 pm

Need some serious input here. Best places to eat near campus (I know there's a ton of wonderful niche places in the city - but that's not feasible for the average day...)?

Anywhere solid we can walk to if the free pizza lunches ever get old?

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:33 pm

piccolittle wrote:Stone (3.41, around top third of the class)


Is Stone top third anymore? I've heard top 40% thrown around with the relaxed 1L curve, but that could be mistaken.

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howlery
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby howlery » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:51 am

How easy would it be to visit CLS unannounced? NYU was pretty easy to visit, though I could only gain access to one of the law buildings by being on a tour. I imagine having an actual campus would make things harder for a rando like me.

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:10 am

howlery wrote:How easy would it be to visit CLS unannounced? NYU was pretty easy to visit, though I could only gain access to one of the law buildings by being on a tour. I imagine having an actual campus would make things harder for a rando like me.


You can enter Jerome Green and Big Warren (where admissions is located, e.g.) basically any time you want. JG usually doesn't start carding until sometime in the evening. I assume admissions would be happy to give you information.

Don't know anything about the non-law school buildings on campus, however, since I never enter them.

Sampaguita21
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Sampaguita21 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 11:03 pm

J90 wrote:Need some serious input here. Best places to eat near campus (I know there's a ton of wonderful niche places in the city - but that's not feasible for the average day...)?

Anywhere solid we can walk to if the free pizza lunches ever get old?



I'm a 0L like you J90, but I live in Morningside Heights now (109t st!) If you're looking for huge slices of cheap pizza Koronet's where it's at.

Otherwise, there are plenty of places to eat around the neighborhood. There's a Chipotle, Five Guys, and lots of other cheap options. I also go to the Westside Market and just buy prepared meals there and heat them up at home.

otnemem
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby otnemem » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:40 am

Is Stone top third anymore? I've heard top 40% thrown around with the relaxed 1L curve, but that could be mistaken.

(1L Disclaimer)
I've heard 35-40% but who knows. Some discussion from last year here; viewtopic.php?f=23&t=187757

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Bronck
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby Bronck » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:57 am

If they were guessing 35-40% last year, with fall semester still on the old curve, then it's gotta be closer to 40% this year. And as one poster mentioned, since Stone hit a high of 45% with the 3L class, I'd imagine 40% is a pretty good guess.

Following that one poster, taking the high of the ranges offered on the 1L grade PDF on lawnet:
A = 11% = .44
A- = 19% = .6973
B+ = 35% = 1.1655
B = 35% = 1.05

= 3.35 median making a ton of terrible assumptions

So I guess that 3.33 median + 40% Stone is probably a pretty good estimate.

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SpatulasRcool13
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby SpatulasRcool13 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:59 am

Good morning! Thank you to all the voices of experience contributing to this forum - it’s very helpful.

Does anyone know how hard it is to get a 2-year deferral? I was offered the chance to work as a paralegal at a V15 firm, so I'm just trying to get a feel for the situation. Should I defer or should I reapply in 2 years? Or should I just go straight to law school from undergrad? I don't know if paralegal experience like this is a dime a dozen, or if it’s worthwhile to spend 2 years doing.

Thanks!

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piccolittle
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby piccolittle » Fri Feb 01, 2013 10:11 am

SpatulasRcool13 wrote:Good morning! Thank you to all the voices of experience contributing to this forum - it’s very helpful.

Does anyone know how hard it is to get a 2-year deferral? I was offered the chance to work as a paralegal at a V15 firm, so I'm just trying to get a feel for the situation. Should I defer or should I reapply in 2 years? Or should I just go straight to law school from undergrad? I don't know if paralegal experience like this is a dime a dozen, or if it’s worthwhile to spend 2 years doing.

Thanks!

It's absolutely, absolutely worth every second. Relevant work experience is always worth it. I know some people have deferred for a couple years before (starry for example), so hopefully they can chime in on it, but I don't think it should be difficult.

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starrydreamz3
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Re: Columbia 1L(s) taking questions

Postby starrydreamz3 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:35 pm

SpatulasRcool13 wrote:Good morning! Thank you to all the voices of experience contributing to this forum - it’s very helpful.

Does anyone know how hard it is to get a 2-year deferral? I was offered the chance to work as a paralegal at a V15 firm, so I'm just trying to get a feel for the situation. Should I defer or should I reapply in 2 years? Or should I just go straight to law school from undergrad? I don't know if paralegal experience like this is a dime a dozen, or if it’s worthwhile to spend 2 years doing.

Thanks!


Super easy. I'm a 2 year deferral from 2010/2011 and I just emailed the contact, told them I'd be working for 2 years at an investment bank and thought it would greatly improve my financial burden and give me exposure to my relevant area of study for law. I got a pdf back in a week saying I was approved.

You just have to give an additional deposit + your seat deposit, and then there's some easy re-admission process that I'm going through right now with some papers to sign. I'd definitely recommend it!




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