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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teaadntoast
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby teaadntoast » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:56 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
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.


Thanks!

I didn't do a very good job asking my question and should've been clear that I live here and am familiar with both campuses. I'm really curious about the atmosphere in the classes themselves, and what about the students or faculty persuaded people who were accepted by N and C to choose C.
Last edited by teaadntoast on Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

gmmathers
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby gmmathers » Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:59 pm

Thank you for this thread.

How many students are in your lectures?

Have you checked out any of the student clubs?

What other activities/gatherings are there to get to know other students besides Bar Review (NYU has regular mixers)?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:00 pm

gahthelaw wrote: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"?

My approach, valid or not, is "well this is still CLS." I also hope/think the legal market will pick up in time for my class. I haven't talked about jobs with too many 2Ls or 3Ls. One of my roommates is a 3L, and he says most of his classmates are in good shape, but he knows a few that got no offered (at the end of the summer associate position). He says he expects they'll all be fine. I get the impression 2Ls are hit harder than 3Ls, and that the current 2Ls are doing worse than the CLS norm b/c of the market, but I really don't know.

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

http://lawschoolnumbers.com/MeTalkPrettyOneDay
After visiting a bunch of schools last spring, I considered CLS, Michigan, and NYU the most seriously.
Last edited by MeTalkPrettyOneDay on Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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ClemCarter
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby ClemCarter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:03 pm

This question might sound odd, but your answers will be indicative. When you talk to other folks in the city or to friends at other law schools, what types of stereotypes do they invoke about CLs students? Do you hear the same stuff over and over?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:09 pm

gmmathers wrote:Thank you for this thread.

How many students are in your lectures?

Have you checked out any of the student clubs?

What other activities/gatherings are there to get to know other students besides Bar Review (NYU has regular mixers)?

About 109 students in my Torts and Civ Pro classes, and 35 in my Contracts class (CLS always puts first semester 1Ls in two big classes & one smaller one). There are 12 students in my legal writing class.

Yea, I signed up for the Wine Tasting Club. I'm also doing Law Revue (the comedy, not the journal) even though I have absolutely no skill/talent/experience in theater or music. I'm going to try out for a moot court. Here's a list of student orgs: https://www.law.columbia.edu/current_student/student_service/studentorgs_abc/alphabet_orgs

Most of the student organizations sponsored an activity for 1Ls during the first few weeks of classes, meaning there have been a bunch of big meet ups with lots of 1Ls. During the first couple weeks of classes, there was seriously pretty much an activity every day. Some were small, some were large, but there were definitely plenty of them.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:09 pm

ClemCarter wrote: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? :)


Pretty accessible. I was seated with Schizer (the dean) at the 1L dinner. Coffee was at the next table. Phillip Bobbitt (big deal in national security law) teaches one of the 1L Legal Methods (introductory class) sections and shows up to a lot of the events.

It's not like I drop by their office hours all the time (unless I have them for class), but it's not like they run out of class to go work on their next book. Most of the professors hang around and seem to care about the law students. I imagine this becomes even more true if you're in their classes.

The other thing I'd add is most of the superstar professors actually teach big classes you can get into, which wasn't the case at my undergrad necessarily.

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


I applied to HYSCCNVPB. I got in everywhere except for HYS. The only other schools I really considered were Chicago and NYU. Chose CLS over NYU for the reasons outlined earlier, chose CLS over Chicago because I wanted to be in New York.

gahthelaw wrote: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"?


This is actually the only big downer so far. Things are BAD this year, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

The 3Ls are doing alright - Dean Schizer rattled off some stats at a talk the other day. Something like 90% of them have jobs lined up already, but a decent amount (about a third if I remember correctly) are deferred from anywhere from 4 months to a year.

Anecdotally, from those that I've talked to, the 2Ls are getting absolutely fucked (for CLS). Top 20% is still doing almost as well as normal (10+ callbacks, lots of offers). Top 50% seem to mostly have offers as long as they're not super-awkward, though many fewer than last year (1 or 2 here and there), and at lower caliber firms. The bottom half of the class is in serious trouble - some people have jobs lined up for the summer, but a very good portion of the bottom half will not be getting firm jobs through EIP (our OCI). People just are not hiring this year. There were kids around median with 1 or 2 callbacks (which is terrible for CLS). I believe most of these people will get jobs and be able to pay off their loans, but they are going to have to hustle pretty hard to find stuff on their own, whether it's government, public interest, or smaller/regional firms that don't come to OCI.

No one really knows what it will be like for us next year, but the consensus seems to be "better than this year, but not as good as the boom." During 2005-2007, supposedly if you were top third, you waltzed into a V10. Anyone except for bottom 10% could swing a V100 job. That is not the case anymore, and probably will not be in the near future. That said, I don't think going forward it will be like this year, where bottom half is struggling to get jobs period.

If you are applying now, I would not be overly worried about it.

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Capercaillie
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Capercaillie » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:13 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:. . . About 109 students in my Torts and Civ Pro classes, and 35 in my Contracts class (CLS always puts first semester 1Ls in two big classes & one smaller one). There are 12 students in my legal writing class. . . .

:shock: How Socratic are your professors generally?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:14 pm

teaadntoast wrote:Thanks!

I didn't do a very good job asking my question and should've been clear that I live here and am familiar with both campuses. I'm really curious about the atmosphere in the classes themselves, and what about the students or faculty persuaded people who were accepted by N and C to choose C.


Yeah, I liked the atmosphere at Columbia more. The class I sat in on at NYU the professor was just kind of droning on and calling on people. In the CLS I went to (and the classes I'm in now) people raise their hands and seem more engaged. People also came up to me after class and asked if I was visiting and chatted with me for a while.

The ASW was also a lot better in my opinion at CLS than NYU. Bobbitt gave a lecture which was very interesting, and we had a mock class with 30 people where we actually read a case and talked about it (very friendly, no pressure). I'm sure they wheeled out the best profs for ASW, but I was blown away by how good they were at actually teaching.

That said, it could have just been luck of the draw. Some people say the exact same things as I said above but the other way around. Visit and you should get a good sense.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:16 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
gmmathers wrote:Thank you for this thread.

How many students are in your lectures?

Have you checked out any of the student clubs?

What other activities/gatherings are there to get to know other students besides Bar Review (NYU has regular mixers)?

About 109 students in my Torts and Civ Pro classes, and 35 in my Contracts class (CLS always puts first semester 1Ls in two big classes & one smaller one). There are 12 students in my legal writing class.

Yea, I signed up for the Wine Tasting Club. I'm also doing Law Revue (the comedy, not the journal) even though I have absolutely no skill/talent/experience in theater or music. I'm going to try out for a moot court. Here's a list of student orgs: https://www.law.columbia.edu/current_student/student_service/studentorgs_abc/alphabet_orgs

Most of the student organizations sponsored an activity for 1Ls during the first few weeks of classes, meaning there have been a bunch of big meet ups with lots of 1Ls. During the first couple weeks of classes, there was seriously pretty much an activity every day. Some were small, some were large, but there were definitely plenty of them.


Same with me. Upper level classes are smaller - there are only 4 or 5 huge classes (Corporations, Evidence, Federal courts) and most of the others are 30-40 people or seminars.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:18 pm

Capercaillie wrote:
MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:. . . About 109 students in my Torts and Civ Pro classes, and 35 in my Contracts class (CLS always puts first semester 1Ls in two big classes & one smaller one). There are 12 students in my legal writing class. . . .

:shock: How Socratic are your professors generally?

Very. My torts professor lectures some because we're doing foundational stuff, but when it comes to cases he does a lot of Socratic (almost all cold calling). My Contracts and Civ Pro professors are pretty exclusively Socratic (also cold calling). That being said, all 3 professors take questions from the class when people have them.

I went to a tiny undergrad. These are huge classes compared to what I'm used to, but it doesn't bother me at all. I don't know why, I guess it's because I expected big classes in grad school, and I guess it's because part of me actually got a little tired of 4 years of tiny class discussions.
Last edited by MeTalkPrettyOneDay on Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:19 pm

Capercaillie wrote: :shock: How Socratic are your professors generally?


They are all socratic, but to varying extents.

Legal methods: Socratic method with passing allowed.

CivPro: Socratic method with passing allowed.

Contracts: Socratic method, but you are warned the day before who is going to be doing the cases. Because of this, you can't pass.

Torts: Purely voluntary - no cold calling.

All professors take voluntary questions/comments (and people raise their hands quite frequently).

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Capercaillie
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Capercaillie » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:21 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
Capercaillie wrote: :shock: How Socratic are your professors generally?


They are all socratic, but to varying extents.

Legal methods: Socratic method with passing allowed.

CivPro: Socratic method with passing allowed.

Contracts: Socratic method, but you are warned the day before who is going to be doing the cases. Because of this, you can't pass.

Torts: Purely voluntary - no cold calling.

All professors take voluntary questions/comments (and people raise their hands quite frequently).


Thanks! Out of curiosity, does anyone ever pass?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:26 pm

ClemCarter wrote:This question might sound odd, but your answers will be indicative. When you talk to other folks in the city or to friends at other law schools, what types of stereotypes do they invoke about CLS students? Do you hear the same stuff over and over?


I'll try to answer based on groups of people I talk to:

-The general public seems to believe Columbia is a really good law school, but doesn't seem to know anything about the atmosphere or what it's good at. Occassionally I'll get a "Oh, I heard they have a really good international law/entertainment law/robot and alien law program," but you could say that about any good law school.

-Firm lawyers in New York seem to think Columbia is the shit. Especially among older folks, there's a sense it's definitely better than NYU, and more on a par with Harvard just because it historically was (I don't think this is true anymore with respect to either school). They don't really know/care about the atmosphere/personality of the school.

-NYU kids have a conception of CLS as a pressure cooker where everyone is a huge gunner-douche and rips the pages out of each others' books. I actually really think this stereotype is overdone.

-Kids from other law schools seem to think Columbia is a good school, and very corporate-focused, at least as far as jobs (which is true to a certain extent).
Last edited by imchuckbass58 on Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:27 pm

Capercaillie wrote:
Thanks! Out of curiosity, does anyone ever pass?


Only if you're truly unprepared. With the people who pass, generally it seems like they totally haven't done the reading. Most people, even if they're not sure of the answer, will take a stab at it.

I'll also add that it's not like in Turow's "1L" where profs ridicule the kids who pass or get questions wrong. More often they'll either try to give you a hint and tease out the answer, or they'll move on to someone else.

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ClemCarter
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby ClemCarter » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:30 pm

imchuckbass58 wrote:
ClemCarter wrote:This question might sound odd, but your answers will be indicative. When you talk to other folks in the city or to friends at other law schools, what types of stereotypes do they invoke about CLS students? Do you hear the same stuff over and over?


I'll try to answer based on groups of people I talk to:



Interesting stuff. Thanks.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 3:34 pm

I am going for a bike ride, but I'll be on sometime later this weekend if people want to leave questions.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:28 pm

I sat in on Gerard Lynch's class. He seemed like a great professor. Also, from what I understand, Tim Wu is a really fun and engaging guy.

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Helmholtz
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby Helmholtz » Fri Sep 18, 2009 4:29 pm

Oh, another question. I typically work out about 6 six days a week (three days cardio and three days w/weights). I've heard some not to great things about Columbia's gym. What do the law students typically do for exercise?

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superserial
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby superserial » Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:00 pm

MeTalkPrettyOneDay wrote:
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.


in a group of 10 or more people there's about a 90% chance that you'll be hanging out with at least one Cornell grad.

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:20 pm

Helmholtz wrote:Oh, another question. I typically work out about 6 six days a week (three days cardio and three days w/weights). I've heard some not to great things about Columbia's gym. What do the law students typically do for exercise?


The Columbia gym sucks a lot. Seriously, it's terrible. The machines and weights are nice enough, but there are nowhere near enough of them and the space is really small.

I have a road bike so while it's still nice out I bike in central parks then do pushups/situps on the grass. When it gets cold I guess I have to use the gym - probably will try to go at off-hours (it's open really early and really late, which is nice).

trojanfan06
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby trojanfan06 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 2:37 am

Any advice for getting in? Do you think a "why columbia" essay would be helpful versus a diversity statement (non urm though)?

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:37 am

imchuckbass58 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:Oh, another question. I typically work out about 6 six days a week (three days cardio and three days w/weights). I've heard some not to great things about Columbia's gym. What do the law students typically do for exercise?


The Columbia gym sucks a lot. Seriously, it's terrible. The machines and weights are nice enough, but there are nowhere near enough of them and the space is really small.

I have a road bike so while it's still nice out I bike in central parks then do pushups/situps on the grass. When it gets cold I guess I have to use the gym - probably will try to go at off-hours (it's open really early and really late, which is nice).

Yea, chuckbass is right. The Columbia gym is not nice. Working out outside, particularly when the weather is nice, is a good call. I don't use the gym much, but from what I hear, going during off hours helps cuts down on the swarms of undergrads, but it's still a cramped facility. One of my friends decided on the most amusing solution ever: she bought a treadmill. For her studio apartment. Awesomeness.

imchuckbass58
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby imchuckbass58 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:41 am

trojanfan06 wrote:Any advice for getting in? Do you think a "why columbia" essay would be helpful versus a diversity statement (non urm though)?


I did not write either. I don't have any particular insight into Columbia's thought process, but my general stance on "Why X" and DSs is write them if you actually have something interesting to say, not because you think you "have to."

So if your reasons for going to Columbia are 1) New York City, 2) Strength in corporate/international/robot and alein law, and 3) Great faculty, then you're probably better off not writing one. Similarly, if your "diversity" is you have strong political views....then better off not writing one. If, on the other hand your parents immigrated from China, you had to teach yourself English and you want to really want to study Chinese law because you speak fluent Chinese and have some interesting thoughts about how China's legal system could be reformed, that might be better fodder for a DS/Why X essay.

As far as other advice, not surprising, but CLS is a numbers whore, especially LSATs. If you have a lower GPA but a crazy high LSAT you're better off here than the other way around. Also, CLS seems to put a premium on brand-name undergrads - lots of ivies and top LACs here. It's definitely not impossible to get in from more obscure schools though.
Last edited by imchuckbass58 on Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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MeTalkPrettyOneDay
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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby MeTalkPrettyOneDay » Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:53 am

trojanfan06 wrote:Any advice for getting in? Do you think a "why columbia" essay would be helpful versus a diversity statement (non urm though)?

Does this year's Columbia app allow for a "why Columbia" essay? I don't remember that from last year, but maybe it's new, or maybe I just forgot about it from last year.

A diversity statement may still be a viable option. If there's something that makes you fairly unique - unique educational background, very unique travel experiences, unique upbringing, unique employment background... generally diversity of experience stuff - you could write a DS. I don't think a DS is just about racial/cultural diversity. It's an opportunity for you to show what's unique about you - what helps separate you from the thousands of other applicants. That being said, it's by no means a requirement. If you're a pretty standard applicant with pretty standard experiences, skip the DS.

Good luck!

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Re: Columbia 1L Taking Questions

Postby trojanfan06 » Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:05 pm

The app does not ask for it specifically but I've just read of people doing it for schools that don't explicitly ask for one with success so I was just wanted to get some opinions.




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