Columbia 1Ls 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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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Columbia 1Ls Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:09 pm

Self-explanatory title :) Fire away! I've only been here a little over a month, so I'm certainly not an expert on all things CLS, but I can definitely answer questions about applying and I'll do my best to answer general quality of life questions (from my perspective as a brand new 1L). If any CLS 2Ls or 3Ls stumble across this thread, please feel free to fill in the gaps!
Last edited by MeTalkPrettyOneDay on Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:10 pm

What is the atmosphere like among the students?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:28 pm

Helmholtz wrote:What is the atmosphere like among the students?

If you haven't already, you're gonna get tired of people describing their law school as "collegial," so I'll try to be a little more specific. :lol:

I find students very friendly here. This applies to 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls. Of course, I tend to interact with 1Ls more than I do with upperclassmen, but the 2Ls and 3Ls I've met were friendly and more than happy to answer my questions.

Part of me feared law school would have a stuffy, pre-professional vibe. It doesn't. There are tons of fun clubs and activities. Bar Review is one such activity. It's a weekly CLS get together at a bar, complete with drink specials, and held at a different venue every Thursday night. In a city as big as New York, I think it's fantastic that fun-loving CLSers make an effort to get together at same place once a week. Another example: right now, there's a sweet BBQ/carnival going on at the law school, complete with food and games. And if course, classmates hang out more informally - watch tv/movies, grab snacks/meals, do things in the city, go to bars, etc.

In short, it's a friendly place where people don't forget to have fun.
Last edited by MeTalkPrettyOneDay on Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:31 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:What is the atmosphere like among the students?

If you haven't already, you're gonna get tired of people describing their law school as "collegial," so I'll try to be a little more specific. :lol:

I find students very friendly here. This applies to 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls. Of course, I tend to interact with 1Ls more than I do with upperclassmen, but the 2Ls and 3Ls I've met were friendly and more than happy to answer my questions.

Part of me feared law school would have a stuffy, pre-professional vibe. It doesn't. There are tons of fun clubs and activities. Bar Review is one such activity. It's a weekly CLS get together at a bar, complete with drink specials, and held at a different venue every Thursday night. In a city as big as New York, I think it's fantastic that fun-loving CLSers make an effort to get together at same place once a week. Right now, there's a sweet BBQ/carnival at the law school, with food and games. And if course, classmates hang out more informally - watch tv/movies, grab snacks/meals, do things in the city, go to bars, etc.

In short, it's a friendly place where people don't forget to have fun.


I've heard that LS students hang out a lot less than say, Cornell students, who only have Ithaca, while CLS students have all of Manhattan to keep them entertained. You think there's any truth to that?

Also, who's your favorite prof so far?

mcat4life87
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby mcat4life87 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:32 pm

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Last edited by mcat4life87 on Wed Oct 26, 2011 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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teaadntoast
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby teaadntoast » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:34 pm

What made Columbia more appealling than NYU?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:36 pm

Helmholtz wrote:I've heard that LS students hang out a lot less than say, Cornell students, who only have Ithaca, while CLS students have all of Manhattan to keep them entertained. You think there's any truth to that?

Also, who's your favorite prof so far?

I was hanging out with a few Cornell grads last night, haha. It's easy to spread out in a city like New York, which is part of why I think events like Bar Review are so important. That being said, I see my classmates/friends all the time. Morningside Heights is a small neighborhood. I bump into classmates all the time when I'm doing errands. The law school is a small community; it's basically one building, so people are pretty concentrated. And I live in a law school apartment building, so I live with my friends and classmates. If you're looking to hang out with fellow law school students, there's no shortage of opportunities.

Favorite prof: this is kind of a cop out answer, but so far I like all 3 of my main professors plus my legal writing prof. Seriously just yesterday I emailed my parents about how much I like my profs.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:39 pm

mcat4life87 wrote:Estimate the number of long-term relationships from before law school that will end because of the development of inter-class relationships.

Haha. You, as a 2L, are probably more qualified to answer that question than I am.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:41 pm

Is there anything so far that has just defied your expectations of how it'll be, or is it pretty much going as planned?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:43 pm

teaadntoast wrote:What made Columbia more appealling than NYU?

I visited both after being accepted, and although I liked both, a few things really drew me to CLS:

I love Morningside Heights. It has all the benefits of NY, but it's a little more laid back than midtown and downtown.
I really like Columbia's campus.
I was blown away by the classes and professors when I visited CLS.

*Big caveat: CLS and NYU are both great schools. You can't go wrong with either. If accepted to both, visit both and go with your gut feeling.*
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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:46 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Is there anything so far that has just defied your expectations of how it'll be, or is it pretty much going as planned?

So far, it's pretty much as planned. My work is somewhat more condensed than expect, b/c I only have class 4 days a week, but I actually like that. I prefer to be really busy for 4 days instead of somewhat less busy for 5. Some 1Ls have legal writing on Fridays, but a good chunk of us have Fridays off.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:48 pm

I'm also a 1L, so I'll jump in here and help out

Helmholtz wrote:What is the atmosphere like among the students?


Not going to lie - there are some really big dbags at Columbia. This has been intensified a bit by the economy and tougher competition for jobs. Some people seem a little more on edge.

That said, I think you will find this at any law school, and in addition to the dbags, there are a lot of people who are quite friendly, nice, and who have good perspective on things.

Basically, you're going to have to deal with some jerks, but if you're afraid you won't find people like you/whom you enjoy hanging out with, you shouldn't be. It's big enough that you'll find a lot of people you get along with no matter what.

Helmholtz wrote:
I've heard that LS students hang out a lot less than say, Cornell students, who only have Ithaca, while CLS students have all of Manhattan to keep them entertained. You think there's any truth to that?

Also, who's your favorite prof so far?


I would disagree with this (though I have no basis for comparison). I live in off-campus housing with non-law students about a mile away from the law school, and I still hang out with law students a fair amount. People tend to hang around campus a fair amount, and when they do venture out, it's typically with other law students. Remember that most people aren't from New York so a lot of the friends you make are from school.

Also, remember that being able to hang out with people other than law students is sometimes a good thing.

mcat4life87 wrote:Estimate the number of long-term relationships from before law school that will end because of the development of inter-class relationships.


No idea. I've met relatively few people in long term relationships, at least as 1Ls.

teaadntoast wrote:What made Columbia more appealling than NYU?


For me it was 1) The location within NYC and 2) The general vibe from visiting.

The west village is nice in general, but the area where NYU is located is a friggin circus. The whole Bleecker/MacDougal area is a theme park for drunk NYU undergrads and high schoolers from Jersey. Columbia has a nice campus and it's a lot less hectic comparatively (though still probably hectic since it's New York). Also, a lot more people tend to live on campus at Columbia, versus NYU where a lot of 2Ls and 3Ls move elsewhere in Manhattan or even to Brooklyn. The campus housing is also A LOT nicer.

Also, when I visited I just liked Columbia more. The professors seemed more engaging, the classes were a lot more interactive and just the general "feel" for me was better.

That said, you can't go wrong. If you get into both, visit and go where you feel more at home.
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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:48 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Is there anything so far that has just defied your expectations of how it'll be, or is it pretty much going as planned?

So far, it's pretty much as planned. My work is somewhat more condensed than expect, b/c I only have class 4 days a week, but I actually like that. I prefer to be really busy for 4 days instead of somewhat less busy for 5. Some 1Ls have legal writing on Fridays, but a good chunk of us have Fridays off.


Other than studying, what do you typically do on your day off?

Did you know any other CLS student or have ties to the city before matriculation?

Also, any CLS 1L's, please feel free to answer my questions, they're not really directed to anybody in particular.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:51 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:The west village is nice in general, but the area where NYU is located is a friggin circus.


That was definitely the vibe I got after visiting both schools.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:55 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Other than studying, what do you typically do on your day off?

Did you know any other CLS student or have ties to the city before matriculation?

Also, any CLS 1L's, please feel free to answer my questions, they're not really directed to anybody in particular.


Over the weekends I usually study during the day and take the nights off. That said, the work isn't so much that you can't take a day off here and there. There's a lot of stuff to do. I went to the beach last weekend one day and played poker one night this week. Last night we went out for my friend's birthday. Tonight I'll probably just take it easy and watch some TV, and tomorrow I'm meeting up with some friends downtown for dinner/who knows.

I'm actually probably an abnormal case in that I've lived in New York all my life (except college). As for knowing CLS students, I didn't know any of the 1Ls prior to school, but I know a few amount of 2Ls and 3Ls (I graduated college in 2007).

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby rx3r » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:57 pm

How is your living situation? Cost of living?

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:59 pm

Are your classmates more or less intelligent than you expected going in?

Where are you staying?

How much do you typically pay in living costs / mo.?

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:06 pm

rx3r wrote:How is your living situation? Cost of living?


My living situation is great, but again I'm not typical because I live off campus. I live in a 1500 sqft 4 bedroom apartment on the 21st floor of a doorman building about a mile from campus, and I'm paying $1100 (I live with three other guys). While this might seem exorbidant, for New York, it's actually quite good.

As for on-campus options, there's Lenfest, which is really really nice and has studios, but is very expensive (~$1500 per month). There are also the 115th and 112th street shares which are liveable, though not luxurious, and are very cheap ($800-$1100).

I spend about $2250 per month in living costs, but I live a bit less frugally than I should. You could get by on a good deal less.

Helmholtz wrote:Are your classmates more or less intelligent than you expected going in?


Both. There aren't as many blindingly intelligent people as I expected, but there are very few dumb/unmotivated people. The thing I've been struck by is everyone here is smart and hard working, which I actually didn't feel like was the case in undergrad, even though I went to a pretty good school.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:09 pm

What kind of debt load do you expect to have when you get out? If that number is large, how much does it bother you?

I love Columbia and could probably go on all day. Feel free to tell me to shaddup. :D

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:30 pm

rx3r wrote:How is your living situation? Cost of living?

I'm in a 3 bedroom apartment share. My apartment building is 1 block from the law school, and it houses law students exclusively. The 2 or 3 apartment buildings next to mine also only house law school students.

My bedroom is about 135 square feet. The other two bedrooms in the apartment are somewhat larger (and my roommates thus pay more in rent, according to the rates set by the school). We have a kitchen, a little dining room, and 200+ square foot living room. It's not a massive apartment, but it's pretty big for New York. I pay $1,150/month, which is, I believe, pretty damn good for an apartment of its size in NYC.

Sorry, I can't really give you a general cost of living estimate. Hopefully another CLSer (who keeps better records than me!) can help me out here! Other than my rent, which is below market, my COL is standard New York City.

Helmholtz wrote:Are your classmates more or less intelligent than you expected going in?

More. This was intimidating at first, but I've gotten used to it.

Helmholtz wrote:Other than studying, what do you typically do on your day off?

My answer is very similar to chuckbass's. We've only had 2 weeks on real classes (we had a pass/fail class for the first 3 weeks), so I can only base my answer on this weekend and last weekend. Work afternoons & go out at night seems pretty accurate. Here's how this weekend is looking for me:
Thursday night: out. I hung out with classmates in Morningside Heights, then we went Bar Review (it was in midtown this week), then I went back to Morningside Heights with classmates and hung out at a local bar.
Friday afternoon: law school BBQ/carnival, blow the rest of the day off and just relax.
Friday night: out.
Saturday afternoon: school work.
Saturday night: out.
Sunday afternoon/evening: school work (I only have 1 class on Monday, but I want to get ahead on my reading for the rest of week)

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ClemCarter
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby ClemCarter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:33 pm

Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to do this.


Based on your observations thus far, how would you rate the accessibility of the faculty? I'm thinking rockstars like Coffee too. Do you see him in between his tv apperances? :)

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:39 pm

Helmholtz wrote:What kind of debt load do you expect to have when you get out? If that number is large, how much does it bother you?

I love Columbia and could probably go on all day. Feel free to tell me to shaddup. :D

Haha, no, I'm happy to answer questions!

The debt answer varies a lot from student to student, based on savings, contributions from other sources, scholarships (if any), etc. I can give you a much more specific answer on cost. CLS's budget estimate seems pretty reasonable, although I pay less than estimated in rent: http://www.law.columbia.edu/current_student/financial_aid/cost_billing People who want to go into public interest law after law school but are worried about student loans should check out CLS's LRAP: http://www.law.columbia.edu/current_student/financial_aid/LRAP

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gahthelaw
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby gahthelaw » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:46 pm

it might be too early to answer this question since you're all just getting to know each other now, but how nervous do your classmates (and 2Ls / 3Ls as well) feel about their job potential ITE? generally speaking, are people who are paying sticker and funding it all on loans freaking out, or is there a sense of "well this is still CLS"?

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:51 pm

Did you guys apply RD and what other schools in the T10 did you get accepted to, and genuinely consider before deciding on CLS?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:53 pm

ClemCarter wrote:Hey guys! Thanks for taking the time to do this.


Based on your observations thus far, how would you rate the accessibility of the faculty? I'm thinking rockstars like Coffee too. Do you see him in between his tv apperances? :)

I don't have Professor Coffee for any classes. I might have seen him around, but I'm not sure. I passed Tim Wu in the hall the other day - he's a pretty big rockstar. I don't know how accessible the big stars are, since I haven't contacted or tried to meet with any of them.

I'm surprised by how accessible my professors seem. I haven't dropped by office hours, but all three of my professors told us that we could stop by their office. My Civ Pro professor, who is awesome, has repeatedly encouraged us to drop by just to say hi, even if we don't have specific questions. She also wants us all to go out to coffee or lunch or something with her this semester. I'm going out to lunch with my Contracts professor in a few weeks - he passed out a sign up sheet around and encouraged us all to sign up for a lunch with him.




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