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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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:23 am

lavaina wrote:I really love Columbia, and I am interested in scholarship money as well. Are Columbia's scholarships purely based on numbers, or, like NYU, do they give anything out based on public interest work/ demonstrated commitment? I intend to do public interest work when I graduate, so anything that would help avert crippling debt is of great interest to me.

I know for public interest everyone says you should go to NYU, but I have heard that Columbia's Labor Law and Gender & Law programs are unparalleled. Not to mention all the cool human rights work they seem to have going on there (UN externship program, opportunities to intern at Amnesty International, etc.). Obviously either school would be amazing; I was just wondering if the Columbia folks had any comments on the rather opaque Columbia scholarship system.


Columbia has two main types of scholarships (in addition to an interest-free loan system which I have no information on):

Merit Scholarships - You apply for these, like the Hamilton. I'm pretty sure there is one specifically directed at public interest, where you would HAVE to have relavent experiance to qualify. But, I'm also sure grades and LSAT will be taken into account there as well. I'm 100% sure NYU Law has one for public interest. Also, consider that you may be able to get independent scholarships for this kind of stuff too.

"Need-Based" Scholarship - If you're poor, you WILL get $$$. I'm lower-middle class, mayyyyybe. Maybe even middle-middle class. In greater society, I would not consider myself or my family "poor" by any stretch of the imagination. I'm getting 15k per year, and I ED-ed, which means they didn't have to throw any $$$ at me to convince me to come and this is purely based on my family's "need". After doing some math, I also realize 15k per year puts me somewhere in the poorest 10% of the incoming class. BUT, Columbia has also been known to tweak thier "Need-Based" Scholarship to partially match, fully match, or sometimes even exceed offers you get from Penn/NYU/Chicago. On the other hand, there's an equally large number of stories where Columbia has not raised their grant award in consideration. It all comes down to how much Fin-Aid likes you I guess.

But, if you're REALLY going to do public interest for your life, LRAP programs at both Columbia and NYU (and probably most other good schools) will basically make going to law school FREE for you, as in, they PAY ALL YOUR LOANS. You just have to stay below a certain salary for the first ~20 years of your career, or whatever extra salary you earn will first have a huge % deducted to go towards paying those loans :D. Check out this: http://www.law.columbia.edu/current_stu ... l_aid/LRAP

Outlawed
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Outlawed » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:49 am

I don't think it is approx 20 years, more like 5 yrs but less than 6 and Columbia foots the bills entirely. I think you have to make less than 50K/yr to qualify for LRAP. Thanks for the link and your advice though. You have provided the TLS community with valuable insight.

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:26 pm

Be honest here.

CLS happens to be my number one choice. But I am skeptical. This is why:

I have a 3.60 g.p.a.
I have not taken the LSAT yet ( I am currently working in a top law firm as a clerk----graduated from ug in December ‘07).
I come from a REALLY unknown ug (this is the BIG problem !).


Should I even bother applying to CLS ?

littleboyblue
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:29 pm

cupid_carol wrote:Be honest here.

CLS happens to be my number one choice. But I am skeptical. This is why:

I have a 3.60 g.p.a.
I have not taken the LSAT yet ( I am currently working in a top law firm as a clerk----graduated from ug in December ‘07).
I come from a REALLY unknown ug (this is the BIG problem !).


Should I even bother applying to CLS ?


if you break 170!

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:35 pm

How about a 165'ish ?

littleboyblue
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby littleboyblue » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:36 pm

cupid_carol wrote:How about a 165'ish ?


do a search on law school numbers

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:47 pm

I don’t stand a chance ! But I did find a couple of applicants with the LSAT range of 159-166. Could I fit in there ?

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dinolove
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby dinolove » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:48 pm

people with low lsat ranges normally had very high gpa's--i think the admissions process is very numbers based. however, they also love interesting people, so if you've got a unique background (navy, successful music career, or something else different) it might work with lower #s

i think i need to stop posting on this site and start studying for legal methods.... :/

kritiosboy
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby kritiosboy » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:54 pm

cupid_carol wrote:Be honest here.

CLS happens to be my number one choice. But I am skeptical. This is why:

I have a 3.60 g.p.a.
I have not taken the LSAT yet ( I am currently working in a top law firm as a clerk----graduated from ug in December ‘07).
I come from a REALLY unknown ug (this is the BIG problem !).


Should I even bother applying to CLS ?


The unknown undergrad doesnt matter. The CLS admissions dean said so herself. You need like a 173 with that gpa, though. Also, they have to sort of like who you are, because at that point you'd be at the 50th's.

arisbottle
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby arisbottle » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:22 pm

dude, no one needs to study for legal methods.

I too am a 1l and concur with most of what has been said.

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:25 am

Thanks kritiosboy & dinolove

Is a 3.60 gpa considered to be REALLY law for both CLS and NYU ?

arisbottle
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby arisbottle » Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:40 am

I got in with less than that. Much less.

Outlawed
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Outlawed » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:17 am

I don't think you can infer from LSN that you have more than a slim chance of getting into Columbia with a 165ish and a 3.6. As was pointed out above, those that did get in with those numbers might have had nice softs/high gpa OR URM status. I tend to think most applicants with LSAT scores in the 160s that got in were URMs.

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:18 am

Really ??? What did you do to differentiate your self ?

This by the way is REALLY good news !

Thank you arisbottle…you jut made my day !
:P

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:19 am

What is URM ??

(You can tell I am new at this)--apologies if this comes across as bothersome.

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takingmytime
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby takingmytime » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:36 am

This is useful for those applying to CLS. Can we plrease take the personal admissions questions to personal messages or a new thread.

Given that CLS is known for corp law, do you know whether many courses have more of this bent compared to other top schools that friends may be attending. Also, do you know how much "black letter law" is taught at columbia vs other similar schools?

Lastly, for any CLS student, if you had to pick two things to differentiate CLS from peer schools, one positive and one negative, what would they be?

Outlawed
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Outlawed » Thu Sep 25, 2008 10:57 am

If you were accepted to NYU, why did you choose Columbia over NYU? What were some of the considerations that came into play that made you choose Columbia over peer schools? Are you content with your decision to attend Columbia or do you regret not going to another school which accepted you?

To answer Cupid Carol, URM= Under Represented Minority (for the purposes of LS, this means blacks, hispanic and native american)

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:03 am

Shoot I am Asian.

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:16 pm

takingmytime wrote:Given that CLS is known for corp law, do you know whether many courses have more of this bent compared to other top schools that friends may be attending. Also, do you know how much "black letter law" is taught at columbia vs other similar schools?

Lastly, for any CLS student, if you had to pick two things to differentiate CLS from peer schools, one positive and one negative, what would they be?


CLS's course selection is wide and varied, and does not show a focus toward corporate at all. In fact, if anything, the corporate classes are huge lectures, and at a disadvantage in comparison with the more exotic courses. You can find the curriculum on-line, that shows all classes for this and next semester. It's on the CLS website. You'll that CLS offers a wider course selection than almost any other T14 law school. From last year's application research, I found that CLS offered more courses in areas I was considering (IP, International, Litigation, Employment) than any other law school besides Georgetown.

Black letter law is very very de-emphasized. For the most part, I learn black letter law through the assigned course supplements that the professor doesn't even go over in class, and my TA sections, which summarize the black letter law. I think so far, besides Civ Pro, I've learned 20-25% of the black letter law I know from actual class. Even in Civ Pro, there's so much theory... In talking to friends at NYU, UVA, Harvard, and Yale Law, it's pretty much the same lack of emphasis on black letter law. My friends at Fordham and Brooklyn are learning a LOT more black-letter law.

Positive for CLS: There's a very collegiate feel when you're at the law school, despite most people being older and already having a core group of friends in the city. Easy to get away from the law school, or law students... yet very easy to go back to doing law school. The social opportunities are endless, diverse, streamlined, and just plain effortless. Beyond that, you're in NYC. I'm eating lunch at the Seinfeld dinner, walking by the Cathedral to class each day... Fun fact, in the park by the Cathedral, there's this white peacock wandering around, totally feed-able, pet-able, hug-able. Nowhere else in the world is like this, much less another law school.

Negative for CLS: It's expensive. Very very expensive. To live in the city, tuition, everything. It'll be 10-20% more expensive than anywhere else, besides maybe NYU.

cupid_carol wrote:Shoot I am Asian.
How about a 165'ish ?


No. Don't bother. CLS heavily emphasizes the LSAT over the GPA. My GPA is lower than yours... it's not your GPA stopping you from getting into CLS. Even a 4.0 would be hard-pressed to get into CLS with a 165. Don't blame your GPA. 33% of Columbia students have a lower UG-GPA than you. We just had much better LSATs.

You need a 172 on that LSAT to have a shot. Anything below a 170, and you'd better have something REALLY impressive on that resume.

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LGK
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby LGK » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:15 pm

I don't go to CLS, but for those of you worried about housing prices in the area:

I pay $650/mo. for one bedroom in my two bedroom apartment a ten minute walk in the Harlem direction from the law school. I'm sane, my roommate's sane, the neighbors' cleaning and noise habits leave a lot to be desired, but the apartment is safe, large, and cheap.

Don't let cost of living issues stop you.

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cupid_carol
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby cupid_carol » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:15 pm

Thank you M51 !

I have some time...lets see what I can muster up.

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dinolove
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby dinolove » Mon Sep 29, 2008 10:41 pm

i haven't seen the white peacock but I live right by the cathedral.. gotta check it out :)

i have to say that i disagree with you on the average age being a bit older at columbia... the vast majority of people I've met are either straight out of UG or one to two years out. i have met a couple of married people which was a bit shocking at first (especially since they're around my age) and i know of at least one student with a child, but i'd say the average age of people i know is about 23. Granted, I'm 23 so maybe that's just the people I hang out with...

I second M51 on both the lsat score (if you don't have a 170 or over, you should have a 4.0 GPA) and the lack of black letter law. In two of my classes the professors have specifically said "if you want to learn black letter law, it won't be in my class." AKA: you need to put your own time into learning this outside of class in addition to the readings. blows.

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chris0805
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby chris0805 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:29 am

Columbia 2L here, also willing to answer questions.

I worked in West Africa this year, I'm on the Human Rights Law Review, and I'm in the human rights clinic... so if anyone is interested in that kind of stuff, I can probably be helpful.

Studying/grades... not so much... I did ok 1st semester and better 2nd semester, but I have no idea why. :lol: Sorry

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Prodigy
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Prodigy » Tue Sep 30, 2008 1:21 am

M51 wrote:
lavaina wrote:After doing some math, I also realize 15k per year puts me somewhere in the poorest 10% of the incoming class


I know we went over this earlier, and I was going to let it go - but since this thread is still alive and there seem to be quite a few CLS law students here anxious to answer questions, maybe I'll dwell on it for a little more.

I'm really nervous about the socioeconomic gap that will apparently separate me from my peers once I (hopefully?) reach CLS. I'm guessing most would classify my family's income as lower-middle class.

Anyways, there's not much money to go around and my parents won't be giving me any financial support during law school. During college I've held down multiple part time jobs to have spending money, but I won't be able to work so often (if at all?) during 1L.

Is this going to affect my social life at CLS? I know you said the kids don't seem snobbish or stuck up (thank god), but do they normally tend to congregate at high end bars/restaurants/classy establishments?

How do you pay for your social life? just take out additional loans? I feel even if I did that I would still be forced to be extremely stingy.

I just don't wanna be left to wonder the city by myself because I can't afford bottle service. :cry:

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M51
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby M51 » Tue Sep 30, 2008 5:09 am

Prodigy wrote:Anyways, there's not much money to go around and my parents won't be giving me any financial support during law school. During college I've held down multiple part time jobs to have spending money, but I won't be able to work so often (if at all?) during 1L.

Is this going to affect my social life at CLS? I know you said the kids don't seem snobbish or stuck up (thank god), but do they normally tend to congregate at high end bars/restaurants/classy establishments?

How do you pay for your social life? just take out additional loans? I feel even if I did that I would still be forced to be extremely stingy.

I just don't wanna be left to wonder the city by myself because I can't afford bottle service. :cry:


Don't worry about it. $$$ isn't a big issue with the loans they let you take out. I'm going to stress this: Do NOT worry about it. No worrying.

How to Be Poor and Have a Life in NYC:

Step 1: Go to CLS instead of NYU. Every time I go downtown, my wallet cries.
Step 2: Request the CHEAPEST apartment possible. If you're lucky, it'll be a decent 3-person share 2-5 blocks away from the law school at ~1000$ a month. If you're not so lucky, it'll be where I live. It's the size of a walk-in closet, but you gotta live within your means. And at 800$ a month including util., that's almost 400 extra bucks per month compared to your 1200$ per month budget allowance for housing.
Step 3: Never pay for lunch, as long as your stomach can handle it. That's ~20-30 bucks a week saved right there. And there's usually at least 1-2 free dinners per week as well. Keep an open mind about clubs/activities and meet new people. Also keep in mind that that "free" food is coming out of your mandatory semesterly activities fee... so eat it.
Step 4: If you're running low on money, that's your cue to catch up/read ahead/find some supplemental reading. Do that and eat cheap until your budget allows you to go out again. This hasn't happened to me yet, but it's the backup plan.

The socio-economic gap is NOT a big deal. A LOT of people here are living off of the loans, with the same budget problems, no matter how rich daddy is (ok, so they may get more $$$ for Christmas..., but that's chump change compared to the 70k budget). And very few people do really expensive things, and even then, it's not often. People generally flock to the cheapest restaurants, cheapest bars, during happy hour, etc., and there's really nothing too expensive in the neighborhood. I'm keeping my trips downtown to once a week, going out 3-4 times a week, and still have a surprisingly healthy surplus from the loans. Also, you only need one good suit (which you'll need for interviews later anyway) and a business casual blazer/sportscoat to get by all the fancier events for 1L year. With such easy access to loans, "poor" is just a state of mind.

Also, I would heavily advise not taking any part-time jobs as a 1L. Can you theoretically handle it time-wise? Technically yes. But it's really the last thing you want to do, assuming you'd like to have a social life as well. I worked part time in college to pay for car/booze, but the loans in law school really take care of any extra spending you want to do. I find myself with plenty of $$ left over to buy more "luxury" items I wouldn't even have thought about in college. I think so far, I've upgraded my subwoofer, I'm using a laundry service, and my shampoo costs 5x what I used to use. Money is so not a problem, I even buy lottery tickets on a regular basis to support the local education system (and try to win 1 mil per year for life :wink: ).

Do not worry.

And just to clarify, I took out the max loan minus financial aid strictly based on the budget CLS draws up for you. However, if you really need it, you can take out more loans from private banks.




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