Columbia 1L Taking Questions (Class of '11)

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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spinsta
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby spinsta » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:25 pm

Hi, I have a question - what do you think the chances are for someone currently on "hold" at Columbia?

vegcat
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby vegcat » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:32 pm

NewHere wrote: All sorts. Some have a Mac, some Dell, Acer, Toshiba, what have you. Most people with a Windows computer have Vista nowadays, but some have XP (I have XP). Either is fine. If you have a Mac, you'll need to install some stuff to be able to take exams on your non-Windows computer, but they help you with that. Between XP and Vista it really doesn't matter at all.


Thanks for answering questions! NYU has a computer store with discounted computers, does CLS have something similar? I can't find anything about discounts for students in the CLS admitted students site.

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:12 pm

So does that mean you can miss an interview with a firm like Cravath just because you got unlucky? So someone who is really unlucky will not have any interviews with the top 3 firms?

Also, does that mean that 1L grades don't matter for 2L interviews? I always thought they did.



If you really want to interview with Cravath, you can. You rank it as your number 1, and you're virtually guaranteed to get an interview. (Generally, people got the top 10 or 15 of their 35 bids straight, and then the rest of the 35 with some holes.) As a backup option, there's also the possibility of showing up early the day(s) that the firm has interviews scheduled, and try to find an empty slot. The popular firms all interview 200-300 students. I'd say it's almost impossible to have a strong preference for a particular firm and not be able to interview with them.

Grades: sure 1L grades do matter, and they probably matter quite a lot. The fact that employers can't screen who they interview doesn't mean they can't see grades, they just can't see them in advance. What happens is they interview you, at the interview they ask for your transcript, and when they decide who to call back for a second interview (at the firm), they'll take into account grades, resume and interview. The advantage of this is that they can't reject you without having seen you, which means that people who have somewhat lower grades than a particular firm is ordinarily looking for, he or she may still get hired if s/he impresses the interviewer in another way.
Last edited by NewHere on Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:16 pm

Thanks for answering questions! NYU has a computer store with discounted computers, does CLS have something similar? I can't find anything about discounts for students in the CLS admitted students site.


There's something, I think you can reach it through the Teacher's College website (a Columbia-affiliated college). They give discounts on Macs and Dells, I think. If you Google Columbia University computer discounts, or something like that, you'll find it. It's not law-school specific.

huckabees
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby huckabees » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:17 pm

NewHere wrote:
So does that mean you can miss an interview with a firm like Cravath just because you got unlucky? So someone who is really unlucky will not have any interviews with the top 3 firms?

Also, does that mean that 1L grades don't matter for 2L interviews? I always thought they did.



If you really want to interview with Cravath, you can. You rank it as your number 1, and you're virtually guaranteed to get an interview. (Generally, people got the top 10 or 15 of their 35 bids straight, and then the rest of the 35 with some holes.) As a backup option, there's also the possibility of showing up early the day(s) that the firm has interviews scheduled, and try to find an empty slot. The popular firms all interview 200-300 students. I'd say it's almost impossible to have a strong preference for a particular firm and not being able to interview with them.

Grades: sure 1L grades do matter, and they probably matter quite a lot. The fact that employers can't screen who they interview doesn't mean they can't see grades, they just can't see them in advance. What happens is they interview you, at the interview they ask for your transcript, and when they decide who to call back for a second interview (at the firm), they'll take into account grades, resume and interview.


Ahh, I see.

Would you say that 1L grades at CLS matter more or less compared to other T14 schools? Is it just first semester 1L that matter or both semesters? What about for Law Review?

Also, 200-300 students -- that's more than half the class! What % of the class would you say is able to get an offer from at least one of the top 3 firms (Wachtell, Cravath, Sullivan)?

Thanks, this was super helpful!

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:02 pm

Would you say that 1L grades at CLS matter more or less compared to other T14 schools? Is it just first semester 1L that matter or both semesters? What about for Law Review?

Also, 200-300 students -- that's more than half the class! What % of the class would you say is able to get an offer from at least one of the top 3 firms (Wachtell, Cravath, Sullivan)?


Grades matter wherever you go to school. While someone at the median at CLS may be able to get a job at a firm that will reject a median student from e.g. Georgetown, the median student at CLS will not have the same choice in employers as a top 5% student at CLS.
So it depends on what you mean by "matter". If you want a job at a large firm in NY and you don't really care which firm, then one could say that grades don't matter. Almost anyone at CLS can get a firm job. If your goal is to work for a particular firm, you'll need to be able to impress that firm, and good grades are a way to do that.

It's both semesters that count. OCI is in August, when you have all your first-year's grades.

Law review: they take a few people based on their writing competition alone, the rest is based on a combination of writing + grades. So good grades help, but are not decisive.

Offer from top-3 firms: I have no idea. While a significant number of students go to (mainly) Cravath and S&C, a lot of students have no desire at all to work for firms like that, so they don't even bid on them. Some who get an offer choose another firm instead. So it's really hard to give an answer to this question.

huckabees
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby huckabees » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:09 pm

NewHere wrote:
Would you say that 1L grades at CLS matter more or less compared to other T14 schools? Is it just first semester 1L that matter or both semesters? What about for Law Review?

Also, 200-300 students -- that's more than half the class! What % of the class would you say is able to get an offer from at least one of the top 3 firms (Wachtell, Cravath, Sullivan)?


Grades matter wherever you go to school. While someone at the median at CLS may be able to get a job at a firm that will reject a median student from e.g. Georgetown, the median student at CLS will not have the same choice in employers as a top 5% student at CLS.
So it depends on what you mean by "matter". If you want a job at a large firm in NY and you don't really care which firm, then one could say that grades don't matter. Almost anyone at CLS can get a firm job. If your goal is to work for a particular firm, you'll need to be able to impress that firm, and good grades are a way to do that.

It's both semesters that count. OCI is in August, when you have all your first-year's grades.

Law review: they take a few people based on their writing competition alone, the rest is based on a combination of writing + grades. So good grades help, but are not decisive.

Offer from top-3 firms: I have no idea. While a significant number of students go to (mainly) Cravath and S&C, a lot of students have no desire at all to work for firms like that, so they don't even bid on them. Some who get an offer choose another firm instead. So it's really hard to give an answer to this question.


Thanks!

I think a 2L from CLS once gave me an estimate of how many were extended offers (of those who applied to Cravath or S&C) based on the number of people who showed up to their acceptance dinners, but I don't know how reliable that estimate was because they said that "almost half the class" was there, which sounds like an overstatement.

I actually don't care to work for those firms either, but I was interested CLS's placement stats at those firms as a means of gauging how competitive CLS students are, job market-wise.

Thanks again.

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:53 pm

Well, 30% of CLS students do V10 out of 70% who go into private (class of 2007 data).
So, unless a huge % of people take the trouble to get an offer from Cravath only to turn them down, I thik "half the class" is a slight exaggeration :o I'd figure you need to get Stone Scholar your first year (Top 33% of class) or Law Review to have a good shot at Cravath.

Out of Cravath's 500-600 lawyers, 101 have a law degree from CLS, 101 from Harvard, 65 from NYU, 28 from Fordham, 27 from Penn, 22 from Yale, 19 from Georgetown, 19 from Cornell, 14 from Chicago, 11 from Virginia, 10 from Stanford, 9 from Northwestern, 8 from Duke, 8 from Michigan, 6 from Rutgers, 5 from Berkeley, 4 from BU, 4 from Seton Hall, 4 from Brooklyn.
I threw in some local law schools just to show you how competitive they are compared with more touted places like Berkeley and Michigan.

There's a clear dropoff from CLS/HLS to NYU, then everyone else is another huge step down... with Fordham earning it's rep as a good NYC BigLaw feeder despite it's USWNR ranking.

The #s are almost identical at S&C.

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:09 am

So, unless a huge % of people take the trouble to get an offer from Cravath only to turn them down, I thik "half the class" is a slight exaggeration


Well, half the class is an exaggeration, but on the other hand once you'll get to the interviewing stage you'll notice that firm rankings are not as all-determining as law-school rankings. Given the choice between a top-5 law school and a top-20 law school, almost anyone would say that you would be crazy to go for the top-20 one, barring exceptional circumstances. Not so with law firms. While there are advantages to working for a top firm as opposed to a slightly-less-top firm, there are so many different aspects to firms that's the ranking is only one thing to look at.

In that sense I wonder what made huckabees split it up like this. Wachtell is a bit of a separate case, but people who interview at Cravath and S&C would generally also interview the rest of the top-10, and beyond, and decide to accept an offer based on more than ranking alone. They'd also look at practice groups, size, people, work-assignments systems, rotation systems, etc. It's simply not true that the average student with a top-3 offer in hand will go to one of the three without considering other firms. Indeed, 2007 numbers show that fewer than half the people who got an offer from Cravath accepted it. (And not because they all went to Wachtell, because a relatively small number did.) For S&C the acceptance/offer ratio is even lower. A significant number of people got one or more top-3 offers and went elsewhere.

huckabees
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby huckabees » Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:05 pm

NewHere wrote:
So, unless a huge % of people take the trouble to get an offer from Cravath only to turn them down, I thik "half the class" is a slight exaggeration


Well, half the class is an exaggeration, but on the other hand once you'll get to the interviewing stage you'll notice that firm rankings are not as all-determining as law-school rankings. Given the choice between a top-5 law school and a top-20 law school, almost anyone would say that you would be crazy to go for the top-20 one, barring exceptional circumstances. Not so with law firms. While there are advantages to working for a top firm as opposed to a slightly-less-top firm, there are so many different aspects to firms that's the ranking is only one thing to look at.

In that sense I wonder what made huckabees split it up like this. Wachtell is a bit of a separate case, but people who interview at Cravath and S&C would generally also interview the rest of the top-10, and beyond, and decide to accept an offer based on more than ranking alone. They'd also look at practice groups, size, people, work-assignments systems, rotation systems, etc. It's simply not true that the average student with a top-3 offer in hand will go to one of the three without considering other firms. Indeed, 2007 numbers show that fewer than half the people who got an offer from Cravath accepted it. (And not because they all went to Wachtell, because a relatively small number did.) For S&C the acceptance/offer ratio is even lower. A significant number of people got one or more top-3 offers and went elsewhere.


Hi NewHere,

I split it up like that because they are considered the three "most gunned for" law firms and I feel that in many cases, if someone could get an offer with one of them, they are at least "safe" in terms of getting a "top" firm job that they wanted (if they're interested in having such a job at all). I realize that a lot of people choose Cleary, for instance, because they like it better.

I think the person who told me this was specifically talking about Cravath's acceptance dinner, which includes everyone who was EXTENDED an offer, rather than only those who ACCEPTED their offer.

I would think that even for people who would rather work for Cleary or Davis Polk, etc., they probably still interviewed at Cravath and still attended the acceptance dinner if they were extended an offer, even if Cravath wasn't their top choice.

I agree that in many cases, those three firms are NOT people's top choices. But in my original question, I was asking about what % of people who interview with those places would probably be ABLE TO get an offer from those places, not what % end up working there.

As I said, I'm not interested in working at any of those places, so I just chose those three (and the % who would be able to get offers there) as a measure of how competitive CLS grads are on the market, i.e., CLS "demand".

Thanks.

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:38 pm

I feel that in many cases, if someone could get an offer with one of them, they are at least "safe" in terms of getting a "top" firm job that they wanted


That is true.
I just chose those three (and the % who would be able to get offers there) as a measure of how competitive CLS grads are on the market, i.e., CLS "demand".


Fair enough.

I would think that even for people who would rather work for Cleary or Davis Polk, etc., they probably still interviewed at Cravath and still attended the acceptance dinner if they were extended an offer, even if Cravath wasn't their top choice.


Likely, but not necessarily. Almost every firm has an offer dinner, and while attending them may seem fun (free food! free drinks!), it's actually exhausting. You have to talk about the firm, meet new people, be on your guard . . . it's real work. When I was deciding between firms last year, I only attended the dinners of the two firms I was most interested in.

daisyduck
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby daisyduck » Thu Feb 26, 2009 4:15 pm

Hey M51 and others,
Thanks a lot for answering our questions.
I have one more: do you think taking an economics course before law school will be beneficial?
I know that the first year curriculum won't have much to do w/ economics, but in your second and third year when you take classes like Corporations, does it help to have a general knowledge of economics and/or accounting?
Having had history and english classes as my staple in college, I actually have never taken any courses in economics/finance.
Thanks in advance! :)

jungleshark
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby jungleshark » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:08 pm

While the school year is going on, is there much part-time work available at law firms for Columbia 2Ls and 3Ls?

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:49 pm

I know that the first year curriculum won't have much to do w/ economics, but in your second and third year when you take classes like Corporations, does it help to have a general knowledge of economics and/or accounting?


I guess it might, but it's not necessary. My background is in science, and I'm taking corporations this semester. I suppose people with an accounting or business background have a bit of an advantage, because they'll have heard some of it before, but no prior knowledge is required or expected. The same was true of the Tax class I took last semester.

00TREX00
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby 00TREX00 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:03 pm

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Last edited by 00TREX00 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

daisyduck
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby daisyduck » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:35 am

Thanks for your insightful answers, NH and Trex.
I can't wait to go to law school! (lol I can practically hear current 1Ls groaning)

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reasontobelieve
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby reasontobelieve » Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:41 am

Hi-
I've noticed on the Leiter Rankings that Columbia has substantially fewer grads who take clerkships than HLS, YLS. Do you think that's b/c CLS students are less interested, or because that's something that's just harder to do from CLS?

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Fri Feb 27, 2009 12:28 pm

reasontobelieve wrote:Hi-
I've noticed on the Leiter Rankings that Columbia has substantially fewer grads who take clerkships than HLS, YLS. Do you think that's b/c CLS students are less interested, or because that's something that's just harder to do from CLS?


It'll be easier to get a clerkship from HLS/YLS than from CLS.
While I would say the gap in doing biglaw among these schools is not significant... for clerkships, academia, etc there's certainly a difference.

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NewHere
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby NewHere » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:01 am

Yeah, I think it's both. While I'm told at Yale just about everyone applies for a clerkship, at Columbia maybe one third of the class applies. Of those who apply, people from HLS and (more so) YLS have an advantage.

somethingblue
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby somethingblue » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:20 am

M51 wrote:This board was so helpful during the application process, so here's to paying it forward. :D
CLS started classes on August 13th with Legal Methods, so we've been here for 5-6 weeks already, heading into our first "finals" (pass/fail).

Anything about Columbia in particular, Law School in general, or the Application process. Ask away!
My LSN is here: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/M51/jd
CLS Class of 2011 Information is here: http://www.law.columbia.edu/jd_applican ... assprofile

This summary is 25% wrong, at least. Do NOT use: http://columbia.lawschoolnumbers.com/


Thanks so much for taking questions!

I'm going to bring the housing question back: where is the best place to live on campus, especially if you're looking for an affordable and comfortable option? Recently, I was contacted by a Columbia 1L who told me he really enjoyed the housing on 115th, and that I should avoid dorms at all cost. Thoughts?

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:54 am

I guess I replied with PM by accident... it's in your mailbox =P

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Estella
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Estella » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:20 am

somethingblue wrote:I'm going to bring the housing question back: where is the best place to live on campus, especially if you're looking for an affordable and comfortable option? Recently, I was contacted by a Columbia 1L who told me he really enjoyed the housing on 115th, and that I should avoid dorms at all cost. Thoughts?

I'd also like to hear opinions on this. Do most people live in the law school-specific buildings, or is it cheaper or better to live in the other campus apartments?

daisyduck
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby daisyduck » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:15 pm

Another housing question:
Is UAH's assignment final? If they put you in a certain arrangement, are you then given an option to decline?
I really would like a studio/one bedroom in West 116th for the first year (bad suitemate experiences) and if I can't get one I'd rather find one on my own.

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frank_the_tank
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby frank_the_tank » Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:44 pm

daisyduck wrote:Another housing question:
Is UAH's assignment final? If they put you in a certain arrangement, are you then given an option to decline?
I really would like a studio/one bedroom in West 116th for the first year (bad suitemate experiences) and if I can't get one I'd rather find one on my own.


Not a 1L but it is written in the housing info that they send you an offer of housing, and if you don't like it you can decline. But then basically, yeah you have to find something on your own and can't live in UAH.

00TREX00
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby 00TREX00 » Sun Mar 01, 2009 3:00 pm

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