Lotsa questions. I just got back from a callback interview (plz takeme plzplzplz), so I guess I'll tackle these and build up some good karma
huckabees wrote:The fact that so many people do all the readings and then some is really quite impressive and a little daunting. How do you all manage to have lives outside of the readings? (I went to a very respected undergrad, and not even close to that percentage did all the readings for several of my courses.)
You can only read so much each day and still be able to get anything out of looking at words on a page... so, generally after my brain fizzes out (this is happening earlier and earlier these days =/), I watch some tv online or head out to meet up w/ ppl. And during the first month, it's a P/F class where just about everyone passes, so you don't really have to read carefully. Great time to meet your classmates. Time management is huuuuuge, and you get better at it the longer you're at law school. =P Some people manage to take every night off after 8PM, plus weekends. I'm not quite as good, but I still manage 4-5 nights off and at least one full weekend day per week (not during finals prep... ppl disappear during that time). Oh, also... some people don't read the casebook. It's some super-secret strategy to doing well. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that, but I can see how reading the casebook isn't really necessary to doing well on the exam. Still, you're not just paying for the degree (i hope), but for the whole experiance right? Anyway, if you don't read the book and focus on hornbooks, you'll have lotsa time too.
huckabees wrote:I know you were a phil major (which I think is probably very useful), but what other activities prior to law school do you think helped most with doing well on exams?
Econ. Intro to Micro. You can see the wide-eyed looks on ppl's faces the first few weeks of Contracts who've never seen econ before. if have haven't taken econ before, I'd recommend reading an article or something outlining the basic tenents of micro-economics. But yeah, the philosophy major did help a little, plus random things I've read keeps popping up all over the place (i.e. my Phil Advisor's essay on some paradox between retributivist thinking and consequentialist thinking was featured in my Crim Law book... they're like easter eggs =P) Also, some general knowledge about famous supreme court justices (esp the modern ones) and which way they lean ideologically will help with Con law.
huckabees wrote:Can 1Ls choose which profs to take courses with (can 1Ls choose courses at all) if multiple profs teach the same course?
No, you get assigned everything except one elective second semester.
huckabees wrote:I've also heard that some schools tend to lump the "more qualified" admits into one section and the less qualified ones into another. Do you think section distributions are fairly random at CLS?
No, I don't think any of the top schools do that. It's more for schools that live off giving merit scholarships and don't want to keep paying them. So they make sure some of the students can't get over the grade they have to keep. Pretty sure no school in the T14 does this. Columbia gives so few merit scholarships that they wouldn't even be able to do it, even if there's a huge conspiracy.
huckabees wrote:Finally, do you think that CLS students are tightly clustered in terms of actual performance, such that the difference between one letter grade and the next is rather arbitrary? Or do you think that for each step up in letter grade, there tends to be a discernible difference in the quality of work/understanding of law?
Yes. It's largely arbitrary. I bet those people who consistantly get A-/A (3% of student body) are super-geniuses who will run the world someday... but who knows, maybe they're just really really really lucky. I think there are things you can do to make your odds better, but in the end it's like a heads up poker game vs your professor where you have to go all in pre-flop... no matter how good your hand is, it's still a 80% chance at best to win the pot.
P.S. Do CLS students get free printing? It seems like NYU students do.
Yes, we most certainly do
. I'm something like 2000 pages below my limit for last semester... you should be fine, unless you're a printing maniac.
deneuve39 wrote:Thanks for taking questions! I was wondering how the economy has affected students' chances at getting jobs (especially for their 1L summer). Do you think it will still be (fairly) easy for Columbia students to get biglaw jobs in the next couple years?
1L jobs are not that hard to get. Public interest jobs are apparently everywhere. General feeling is everyone'll end up with a job, and most people already have one. You get 4.2k + whatever your job gives you if it's public interest. Many people have also secured judicial internships (no $, but very good experiance). These things are generally not affected by the economy. 1L FIRM jobs on the other hand, are really really hard to get. I know of 3 people who have a firm job lined up who didn't already have one before they began law school. That's 3 people out of probably 50-60 people at least who wanted one. That being said, firms are not done hiring yet ::crosses fingers::. In this economy, I wouldn't bank on making 30k the first summer. Traditionally, CLS has been able to place a very high % of our 1L students at biglaw firms if they wanted it... but as many firms are shutting down their 1L programs, or heavily reducing the #s, this is not the case this year. Next year may be better, it may not be. Also, keep in mind that the vast majority of top law firms did not have 1L programs in their NY office in the first place, so you're most likely looking at a firm job with a local firm, or a local branch of a major firm. It helps if you have previous industry work experience (like another advanced degree), or are a racial minority (not sure if GLBT counts, but being asian counts). Even when firms cut down or kill their 1L programs, many will retain their diversity initiatives. Hope this is helpful. But don't take me too seriously, this is just from word-of-mouth and annecdotes, nothing official that I can back up.
In terms of the future, who knows. But if they're turning down CLS grads at biglaw, you might want to re-think whether you want to do big law at all in the first place... it might be the sign that something fundamental is shifting in the industry. I literally can't imagine CLS being screwed unless the legal industry completely changes its paradigm. This school is, traditionally, THE biglaw powerhouse. Our placement rates rival Harvard/Yale/Stanford.
Severa wrote:Hi again, and thanks (again) for taking questions. I was wondering how the law school housing assignment system works. I am not sure yet if I will be able to attend (on if this were indeed the best of all possible worlds!) and so I don't know if I should submit a request for housing yet. At the same time, if I do end up attending, I don't want to be left with the worst assignments because of waiting to the last minute. Do you know if they allow you to submit a request without officially sending an enrollment commitment form?
Yes! Submit now! You do NOT have to attend to ask for housing right now. At least, last year you didn't. I would ask someone at housing, but I'm pretty sure you should apply before you make your decision. If you end up not coming
, your spot'll just go to someone else off the housing waitlist and you'll make someone's day. No harm no foul.