Columbia ASW, April 7-8

(Where, When and What Did You Think)
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parker09
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby parker09 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:52 pm

I couldn't make ASW (abroad, ugh), so if anyone wants to post any details about their visit, that would be much appreciated! Really, on anything, but I guess anything career services said about job prospects (both private and PI), and anything about the "feel" of the student body and law school area, especially, would be awesome :D

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CG614
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby CG614 » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:49 pm

chris0805 wrote:
hesitantstyle wrote:
ivorynightfall wrote:I reacted really strongly to the two ASWs. Morningside Heights + Columbia made me hate NYC + re-think law school at all; NYU's really inspired me + reminded me why I want to go to law school, and Greenwich Village was the New York I was looking for/imagining...

I haven't gotten my FinAid from either school yet, but barring any eleventh hour acceptances or massive finaid from Columbia I'll be at NYU next year...


+1


Obviously, each person has their own preferences, but I was wondering if you could talk about this feeling in details? As someone who's lived and gone to law school in Morningside Heights and loved it for the last three years, it's hard to imagine how two days here could make you hate NY and law school in general.

I remember loving both NYU and CLS so it's hard for me to imagine either of them making someone "hate NYC + re-think law school at all."


Agreed. I think this is far too drastic a statement. I agree that NYU's ASW was better, but I thought the atmosphere was awesome at Columbia. I felt like NYU pushed the "we are friendly and non-competitive" thing too much, that it felt fake. Columbia just felt like a cohesive community.

ivorynightfall
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby ivorynightfall » Tue Apr 13, 2010 4:58 am

chris0805 wrote:
Obviously, each person has their own preferences, but I was wondering if you could talk about this feeling in details? As someone who's lived and gone to law school in Morningside Heights and loved it for the last three years, it's hard to imagine how two days here could make you hate NY and law school in general.

I remember loving both NYU and CLS so it's hard for me to imagine either of them making someone "hate NYC + re-think law school at all."


Maybe I should've prefaced my statement with some facts about myself: It was my first time in NYC and most of my impressions of the city were formed by TV shows + movies. I personally prefer a relaxed, laid-back, less 'professional' or 'traditional' environment. I went to undergrad at an isolated campus 45+ minutes from the nearest city and have been itching to live in a big city and meet a larger variety of people (not just other students), feel a little bit more like I live in the real world, and do more things than there are on campus. I think I had a really theoretical undergrad education and want more practical experience.

On NYC -

Morningside Heights was not really the hip, happening, quirky 'city' I'd imagined. It felt more like a suburb, and the school itself felt more isolated. CLS' separate 'campus' seems to suddenly appear in the general dirty urban wasteland-ness of MH. I felt like MH had little of the bustle of the city (except for the cool sidewalk cafes/restos that open at night) but all of a city's negative aspects (dirtiness; pollution; sketchiness in some areas; traffic; noise; bums; etc). Greenwich Village is trendy, quirky, and happening; its also overpriced and full of traffic and noise and probably snooty hipsters but that's what I expected from NYC. It seems like a nerve-center of the city where everyone, not just students stuck in the area, congregate, and I loved its proximity to other cool areas/downtown. Its also my favorite part of the city now (granted I did not visit Brooklyn or Chelsea, but I did hit up the other districts). If I wanted a campus in a suburb 45+ minutes from downtown, I'd prefer a school in a nice suburb farther away from the city or even in the middle of nowhere. I want to really live and be in the city.

On why I didn't like CLS -

I don't have anything against CLS or people, and know people who really loved it. But the atmosphere didn't jive with me. My frosh year RA is a 2L there, & he told me he went to CLS because he was tired of people denying that they were special and wanted a traditional, professional, prestigious institution with people who knew that they were special. I wanted to meet down-to-earth, raw, practical people who at least are faking humility (if not are actually so) or too busy actually doing stuff to worry about how they appear.

I also felt like everyone was basically just suffering. Maybe they were being more honest with me but I heard a lot of horrific descriptions of 1L, though that's not unique to CLS. But people at NYU also talked about what they did during 1L or later on to remind themselves of why they were going through 1L hell, which I thought was really insightful and wonderful.

Most people I talked to at Columbia were going corporate and it seemed very much part of a vicious traditional corporate cycle. I.e. even just comparing how people dressed at CLS vs. NYU (CLS felt very preppy). I overheard one guy explain it this way: "It's not that I don't want to do PI; I just can't. It's not practical...I'm in so much debt I need to repay it." Debt is the same at CLS and NYU but I think there's more money for PI at NYU and more people there do PI even despite the debt because they really want to. That was important to me b/c I think most people come in to law school wanting to change the world and then just end up in the corporate grind. I don't want to end up like that, and NYU seemed to acknowledge that a lot more. I also want to be around people who are passionate about what they do, and think that if I lost passion or inspiration or lost touch with why I wanted to go to law school in the first place I'd suffer a lot more, hate law school a lot more, and just be really depressed. I found the idea that people stuck by their passions and that NYU encouraged people to do so really inspiring...I also went to a corporate law panel for fun - the VP of Goldman was supposed to be there (but didn't show), but a founding partner of Wachtell was there and said that he had talked to the dean about how he had trouble hiring who he wanted from NYU when asked about how NYU grads fared in corporate law hiring. I took this to mean not that the education at NYU was subpar (otherwise why would he be there at ASW? and obviously twisting the arms of other people he knew to show up to his panel) but that the people he wanted went the PI route.

NYU also has a better LRAP. People at CLS seemed to regard law school as a kind of competitive trial by fire you have to pass before you get to the good stuff that will make you really happy...aka corporate law. But I think that happiness is not a goal but a frame of mind...if you're not happy now I don't think you'll be happier post law school and I question how many people are actually happy in corporate law. I don't want to be happy later; I want to be happy now...I for one would not and have never really considered corporate law...NYU students, I felt, were happier during the process and did stuff to make themselves happy. They did volunteer work during 1L to see the law or lack thereof in practice; they participated in really time-intensive and intense clinics (there's a death penalty clinic where people actually go to Alabama for the quarter and just work on death penalty cases with the Equal Justice Initiative - super super intense) but loved it every second. It felt more like people at Columbia were strategizing to best frame their resumes. I totally did that before and am totally tired of it.

The CLS curriculum seems to be more focused on the theoretical. No clinics in what I was interested in at least. Although they do have a much better international program (study abroad; in DC; joint overseas degrees; etc.) and probably international law program than NYU, which is much more focused on just NYC (which is good and bad). This is not to say that Columbia is lacking in stuff...they stressed that if something you want to do is missing, you can create it. It just seemed like, with regard to what I'm interested in, there's already a lot of stuff very established at NYU that I wouldn't have to work to create. For such a conservative profession there seemed to be more open discussion or even scholarly critique of the conservative nature of the written law and the legal system at NYU than at Columbia.

On why I liked NYU -

I liked NYU because it felt a lot more integrated with the city and focused on the practice of law. Apart from being more physically integrated with the city, there seems to be a lot more traffic of practitioners coming in and out of the campus. Lots of professors are/were practitioners, and they seem to get a lot of these people in to speak. There are a TON of clinics that seem really hands-on but also educational. Someone asked a NYU administrator if they could get credit for term-time externships and the administrator said something like "We don't believe in taking your money and then giving you credit for working for someone else. We believe in educating you for your tuition, and that's why clinics are great because they combine the practical and academic..." That is kind of annoying for people for whom an externship specifically is useful but you can always do it on the side...but I think that's a good point given the variability of internship quality.

People seemed more raw and holistic. They all seemed to have some sort of life outside of law school or academics; even if it was just their clinics and people they met there. Some people don't like that there's kind of less of an exclusive 'law school community' and people hang out with existing/other friends in NYC but I like that people are doing their own thing because frankly I want to do my own thing. I don[t think that students don't hang out, but that there is a wider range of perspectives when people do hang out because they do have separate lives. I want law school to be part of my social life, not the end all and be all of it. I also think it's a lot more fun when we can each talk about our different clinics or externships or passions or other friends/experiences/activities than if we all want to go corporate and are all doing theoretical research or law review with the hope of working at Wachtell or Skadden someday. In that sense we're much less in competition, which I heard over and over again seems to undermine and underwrite all social relations within law school regardless of where you're at...And let's face it there isn't a holistic LS community at CLS either; there will be cliques and groups either way. It's also less cliquey, I think, when people are more free agents, have separate lives outside of law school, and aren't all focusing on the same academics or jostling for the same corporate positions. Or maybe that's just me trying to explain why I felt CLS was more cliquey than NYU... I also personally felt like it was more acceptable at NYU to take a lower-paying or less-prestigious job because you're passionate about it, though most of the time people seemed to excel at well in PI. I found Columbia more prestige-whorish and obsessed with hierarchy. Again, if there's more diversity then hierarchy matters less because its hard to compare apples and oranges.

People (or at least faculty) seemed more open. Lots of invitations to participate in clinics, research, etc. by speakers. Speakers at CLS ASW said their bit and that was it...sometimes invited you to write to them but that's different from straight up inviting people to co-author or such or sincerely giving credit to students who research assist-ed for them in the past...I think that's rare and wonderful.

Those are my impressions, sculled from just 2 days at CLS and 1 at NYU. Obviously lots of flaws based on my personal preferences, preconceived notions/biases, etc., so feel free to comment but keep in mind that they are just my opinions...

EDIT - also. yes that was a drastic statement. but that was seriously how i personally felt. i totally called my dad after my 2nd day of CLS ASW, telling him that i wasn't sure if i wanted to go to law school at all anymore and probably 2/3 of what i wrote above (save the why NYU part), and brainstorming what i was going to do instead...he was surprisingly supportive for pushing the lawyer thing for so long.

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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby andreea7 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:43 am

I beg to differ with what Ivorynight said. Obviously, if someone doesn't like the vibe of the place, then that's one thing. But on the public interest issue, Columbia has a great LRAP which actually does not have a salary cap, as is common with other LRAPs and I believe NYU's as well. You don't pay anything if you make below $50,000. After that, you are expected to contribute 34% of the amount over $50,000. For example, you could be making $80,000. Your expected contribution toward your loan would be 34% of anything above $50,000 -- in this case $10,200 a year. If you took loans that would require a total annual payment of let's say, $24,000, Columbia would pay $13,800. Hope my math is right here. At any rate, for as long as your loan payments are higher than the expected contribution you will be getting money from Columbia.

For some reason, not that many students go into public interest, but that is not a function of the LRAP. The alumni who talked at the Social Justice Panel on April 8 actually said the main reason for them to choose Columbia was the LRAP which allowed them to do what they loved once they graduated. I also talked to a student at Columbia who said the first year makes you want to pull your hair out, but that is something going on at most schools. True enough, I talked to a friend who goes to NYU and he was pretty laid back in his first year. But that could have also been a function of him being extremely smart.

The people who direct the public interest initiatives seemed pretty great to me and I am excited about being part of that. You are sure to meet at these admitted student days all sort of people. Obviously, I had a different experience than Ivorynight. I hang out with a nice group when the day was over and we all had fun. Whether they go into corporate or whatever they choose to do, it is not my concern much as long as the school itself provides the resources for public interest. NYU is certainly more "hip" and for someone coming to NY for the first time that might be the right thing to do. As someone who's lived in NY for five years I am a little tired of the hipness of certain places -- I also happen to like Columbia's campus, having already enjoyed it for a year in a master's program. That being said, I certainly know people willing to spend their entire paycheck on rent in the Village because it is so cool there. It has a nice fun vibe, but there is no gate at the entrance to the Village saying that only NYU students are allowed -- you can certainly live somewhere else or study somewhere else and hang out there as well.

At any rate, I loved Columbia and the ASW only made that clearer for me. I think there are numerous reasons for someone to choose CLS but the truth is you can't really tell from other people's stories or experiences whether it has the right atmosphere for you. I loved it, Ivorynight hated it. If a hip, laid back, fun experience is important to you, then NYU probably is a better choice. For me academic considerations are the main criterion. They are both great schools, except that one tends to draw a crowd who prefers the fun atmosphere of the Village while the other draws the crowd that's more focused on achievement. For my part, I see nothing wrong with being focused on achievement.

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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby chris0805 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:19 am

Ivoryknight, I'm sorry you had the experience you did at CLS, but I wouldn't urge you to change your mind. If that's how you felt at the ASW, then I think you should definitely base your decision on that.

With that said, I'm sorry for two reasons. One, it's terrible to have that experience at all and I'm sorry that was what CLS had to offer you. I'm also sorry because I love CLS so much. As a dedicated public interest student who (1) thinks that there's a ton of stuff going on here and (2) that we have a great community, I like to volunteer for admissions to help battle those stereotypes that I had of CLS when I was an admitted student (and 0Ls continue to have). It seems like those stereotypes were exactly what you experienced (preppy, corporate, not a lot of interesting work outside the law school, competitive, etc.).

Again, if that's what you felt, then it's very possible that you might feel that way when you got here too. I am in no way trying to sway your decision, and I think you'll have a great time (and a bright legal future) at NYU. It's just that I have more school pride than reasonable, and it always bums me out a little to hear admitted students prefer NYU specifically because NYU is more fun, more laidback, and/or less corporate. I realize those are the stereotypes, but I don't think they're true (even if other people do).

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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby Unemployed » Wed Apr 14, 2010 12:28 am

ivorynightfall wrote:
chris0805 wrote:
Obviously, each person has their own preferences, but I was wondering if you could talk about this feeling in details? As someone who's lived and gone to law school in Morningside Heights and loved it for the last three years, it's hard to imagine how two days here could make you hate NY and law school in general.

I remember loving both NYU and CLS so it's hard for me to imagine either of them making someone "hate NYC + re-think law school at all."


Maybe I should've prefaced my statement with some facts about myself: It was my first time in NYC and most of my impressions of the city were formed by TV shows + movies. I personally prefer a relaxed, laid-back, less 'professional' or 'traditional' environment. I went to undergrad at an isolated campus 45+ minutes from the nearest city and have been itching to live in a big city and meet a larger variety of people (not just other students), feel a little bit more like I live in the real world, and do more things than there are on campus. I think I had a really theoretical undergrad education and want more practical experience.

On NYC -

Morningside Heights was not really the hip, happening, quirky 'city' I'd imagined. It felt more like a suburb, and the school itself felt more isolated. CLS' separate 'campus' seems to suddenly appear in the general dirty urban wasteland-ness of MH. I felt like MH had little of the bustle of the city (except for the cool sidewalk cafes/restos that open at night) but all of a city's negative aspects (dirtiness; pollution; sketchiness in some areas; traffic; noise; bums; etc). Greenwich Village is trendy, quirky, and happening; its also overpriced and full of traffic and noise and probably snooty hipsters but that's what I expected from NYC. It seems like a nerve-center of the city where everyone, not just students stuck in the area, congregate, and I loved its proximity to other cool areas/downtown. Its also my favorite part of the city now (granted I did not visit Brooklyn or Chelsea, but I did hit up the other districts). If I wanted a campus in a suburb 45+ minutes from downtown, I'd prefer a school in a nice suburb farther away from the city or even in the middle of nowhere. I want to really live and be in the city.

On why I didn't like CLS -

I don't have anything against CLS or people, and know people who really loved it. But the atmosphere didn't jive with me. My frosh year RA is a 2L there, & he told me he went to CLS because he was tired of people denying that they were special and wanted a traditional, professional, prestigious institution with people who knew that they were special. I wanted to meet down-to-earth, raw, practical people who at least are faking humility (if not are actually so) or too busy actually doing stuff to worry about how they appear.

I also felt like everyone was basically just suffering. Maybe they were being more honest with me but I heard a lot of horrific descriptions of 1L, though that's not unique to CLS. But people at NYU also talked about what they did during 1L or later on to remind themselves of why they were going through 1L hell, which I thought was really insightful and wonderful.

Most people I talked to at Columbia were going corporate and it seemed very much part of a vicious traditional corporate cycle. I.e. even just comparing how people dressed at CLS vs. NYU (CLS felt very preppy). I overheard one guy explain it this way: "It's not that I don't want to do PI; I just can't. It's not practical...I'm in so much debt I need to repay it." Debt is the same at CLS and NYU but I think there's more money for PI at NYU and more people there do PI even despite the debt because they really want to. That was important to me b/c I think most people come in to law school wanting to change the world and then just end up in the corporate grind. I don't want to end up like that, and NYU seemed to acknowledge that a lot more. I also want to be around people who are passionate about what they do, and think that if I lost passion or inspiration or lost touch with why I wanted to go to law school in the first place I'd suffer a lot more, hate law school a lot more, and just be really depressed. I found the idea that people stuck by their passions and that NYU encouraged people to do so really inspiring...I also went to a corporate law panel for fun - the VP of Goldman was supposed to be there (but didn't show), but a founding partner of Wachtell was there and said that he had talked to the dean about how he had trouble hiring who he wanted from NYU when asked about how NYU grads fared in corporate law hiring. I took this to mean not that the education at NYU was subpar (otherwise why would he be there at ASW? and obviously twisting the arms of other people he knew to show up to his panel) but that the people he wanted went the PI route.

NYU also has a better LRAP. People at CLS seemed to regard law school as a kind of competitive trial by fire you have to pass before you get to the good stuff that will make you really happy...aka corporate law. But I think that happiness is not a goal but a frame of mind...if you're not happy now I don't think you'll be happier post law school and I question how many people are actually happy in corporate law. I don't want to be happy later; I want to be happy now...I for one would not and have never really considered corporate law...NYU students, I felt, were happier during the process and did stuff to make themselves happy. They did volunteer work during 1L to see the law or lack thereof in practice; they participated in really time-intensive and intense clinics (there's a death penalty clinic where people actually go to Alabama for the quarter and just work on death penalty cases with the Equal Justice Initiative - super super intense) but loved it every second. It felt more like people at Columbia were strategizing to best frame their resumes. I totally did that before and am totally tired of it.

The CLS curriculum seems to be more focused on the theoretical. No clinics in what I was interested in at least. Although they do have a much better international program (study abroad; in DC; joint overseas degrees; etc.) and probably international law program than NYU, which is much more focused on just NYC (which is good and bad). This is not to say that Columbia is lacking in stuff...they stressed that if something you want to do is missing, you can create it. It just seemed like, with regard to what I'm interested in, there's already a lot of stuff very established at NYU that I wouldn't have to work to create. For such a conservative profession there seemed to be more open discussion or even scholarly critique of the conservative nature of the written law and the legal system at NYU than at Columbia.

On why I liked NYU -

I liked NYU because it felt a lot more integrated with the city and focused on the practice of law. Apart from being more physically integrated with the city, there seems to be a lot more traffic of practitioners coming in and out of the campus. Lots of professors are/were practitioners, and they seem to get a lot of these people in to speak. There are a TON of clinics that seem really hands-on but also educational. Someone asked a NYU administrator if they could get credit for term-time externships and the administrator said something like "We don't believe in taking your money and then giving you credit for working for someone else. We believe in educating you for your tuition, and that's why clinics are great because they combine the practical and academic..." That is kind of annoying for people for whom an externship specifically is useful but you can always do it on the side...but I think that's a good point given the variability of internship quality.

People seemed more raw and holistic. They all seemed to have some sort of life outside of law school or academics; even if it was just their clinics and people they met there. Some people don't like that there's kind of less of an exclusive 'law school community' and people hang out with existing/other friends in NYC but I like that people are doing their own thing because frankly I want to do my own thing. I don[t think that students don't hang out, but that there is a wider range of perspectives when people do hang out because they do have separate lives. I want law school to be part of my social life, not the end all and be all of it. I also think it's a lot more fun when we can each talk about our different clinics or externships or passions or other friends/experiences/activities than if we all want to go corporate and are all doing theoretical research or law review with the hope of working at Wachtell or Skadden someday. In that sense we're much less in competition, which I heard over and over again seems to undermine and underwrite all social relations within law school regardless of where you're at...And let's face it there isn't a holistic LS community at CLS either; there will be cliques and groups either way. It's also less cliquey, I think, when people are more free agents, have separate lives outside of law school, and aren't all focusing on the same academics or jostling for the same corporate positions. Or maybe that's just me trying to explain why I felt CLS was more cliquey than NYU... I also personally felt like it was more acceptable at NYU to take a lower-paying or less-prestigious job because you're passionate about it, though most of the time people seemed to excel at well in PI. I found Columbia more prestige-whorish and obsessed with hierarchy. Again, if there's more diversity then hierarchy matters less because its hard to compare apples and oranges.

People (or at least faculty) seemed more open. Lots of invitations to participate in clinics, research, etc. by speakers. Speakers at CLS ASW said their bit and that was it...sometimes invited you to write to them but that's different from straight up inviting people to co-author or such or sincerely giving credit to students who research assist-ed for them in the past...I think that's rare and wonderful.

Those are my impressions, sculled from just 2 days at CLS and 1 at NYU. Obviously lots of flaws based on my personal preferences, preconceived notions/biases, etc., so feel free to comment but keep in mind that they are just my opinions...

EDIT - also. yes that was a drastic statement. but that was seriously how i personally felt. i totally called my dad after my 2nd day of CLS ASW, telling him that i wasn't sure if i wanted to go to law school at all anymore and probably 2/3 of what i wrote above (save the why NYU part), and brainstorming what i was going to do instead...he was surprisingly supportive for pushing the lawyer thing for so long.


Whichever law school you choose, you are going to be sorely disappointed. :cry:

(With the exception of CLS I guess. Since your expectation is so low, you might actually be pleasantly surprised).

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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby Lem37 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:42 am

ivorynightfall wrote:
Maybe I should've prefaced my statement with some facts about myself: It was my first time in NYC and most of my impressions of the city were formed by TV shows + movies. I personally prefer a relaxed, laid-back, less 'professional' or 'traditional' environment. I went to undergrad at an isolated campus 45+ minutes from the nearest city and have been itching to live in a big city and meet a larger variety of people (not just other students), feel a little bit more like I live in the real world, and do more things than there are on campus. I think I had a really theoretical undergrad education and want more practical experience.

On NYC -

Morningside Heights was not really the hip, happening, quirky 'city' I'd imagined. It felt more like a suburb, and the school itself felt more isolated. CLS' separate 'campus' seems to suddenly appear in the general dirty urban wasteland-ness of MH. I felt like MH had little of the bustle of the city (except for the cool sidewalk cafes/restos that open at night) but all of a city's negative aspects (dirtiness; pollution; sketchiness in some areas; traffic; noise; bums; etc). Greenwich Village is trendy, quirky, and happening; its also overpriced and full of traffic and noise and probably snooty hipsters but that's what I expected from NYC. It seems like a nerve-center of the city where everyone, not just students stuck in the area, congregate, and I loved its proximity to other cool areas/downtown. Its also my favorite part of the city now (granted I did not visit Brooklyn or Chelsea, but I did hit up the other districts). If I wanted a campus in a suburb 45+ minutes from downtown, I'd prefer a school in a nice suburb farther away from the city or even in the middle of nowhere. I want to really live and be in the city.

On why I didn't like CLS -

I don't have anything against CLS or people, and know people who really loved it. But the atmosphere didn't jive with me. My frosh year RA is a 2L there, & he told me he went to CLS because he was tired of people denying that they were special and wanted a traditional, professional, prestigious institution with people who knew that they were special. I wanted to meet down-to-earth, raw, practical people who at least are faking humility (if not are actually so) or too busy actually doing stuff to worry about how they appear.

I also felt like everyone was basically just suffering. Maybe they were being more honest with me but I heard a lot of horrific descriptions of 1L, though that's not unique to CLS. But people at NYU also talked about what they did during 1L or later on to remind themselves of why they were going through 1L hell, which I thought was really insightful and wonderful.

Most people I talked to at Columbia were going corporate and it seemed very much part of a vicious traditional corporate cycle. I.e. even just comparing how people dressed at CLS vs. NYU (CLS felt very preppy). I overheard one guy explain it this way: "It's not that I don't want to do PI; I just can't. It's not practical...I'm in so much debt I need to repay it." Debt is the same at CLS and NYU but I think there's more money for PI at NYU and more people there do PI even despite the debt because they really want to. That was important to me b/c I think most people come in to law school wanting to change the world and then just end up in the corporate grind. I don't want to end up like that, and NYU seemed to acknowledge that a lot more. I also want to be around people who are passionate about what they do, and think that if I lost passion or inspiration or lost touch with why I wanted to go to law school in the first place I'd suffer a lot more, hate law school a lot more, and just be really depressed. I found the idea that people stuck by their passions and that NYU encouraged people to do so really inspiring...I also went to a corporate law panel for fun - the VP of Goldman was supposed to be there (but didn't show), but a founding partner of Wachtell was there and said that he had talked to the dean about how he had trouble hiring who he wanted from NYU when asked about how NYU grads fared in corporate law hiring. I took this to mean not that the education at NYU was subpar (otherwise why would he be there at ASW? and obviously twisting the arms of other people he knew to show up to his panel) but that the people he wanted went the PI route.

NYU also has a better LRAP. People at CLS seemed to regard law school as a kind of competitive trial by fire you have to pass before you get to the good stuff that will make you really happy...aka corporate law. But I think that happiness is not a goal but a frame of mind...if you're not happy now I don't think you'll be happier post law school and I question how many people are actually happy in corporate law. I don't want to be happy later; I want to be happy now...I for one would not and have never really considered corporate law...NYU students, I felt, were happier during the process and did stuff to make themselves happy. They did volunteer work during 1L to see the law or lack thereof in practice; they participated in really time-intensive and intense clinics (there's a death penalty clinic where people actually go to Alabama for the quarter and just work on death penalty cases with the Equal Justice Initiative - super super intense) but loved it every second. It felt more like people at Columbia were strategizing to best frame their resumes. I totally did that before and am totally tired of it.

The CLS curriculum seems to be more focused on the theoretical. No clinics in what I was interested in at least. Although they do have a much better international program (study abroad; in DC; joint overseas degrees; etc.) and probably international law program than NYU, which is much more focused on just NYC (which is good and bad). This is not to say that Columbia is lacking in stuff...they stressed that if something you want to do is missing, you can create it. It just seemed like, with regard to what I'm interested in, there's already a lot of stuff very established at NYU that I wouldn't have to work to create. For such a conservative profession there seemed to be more open discussion or even scholarly critique of the conservative nature of the written law and the legal system at NYU than at Columbia.

On why I liked NYU -

I liked NYU because it felt a lot more integrated with the city and focused on the practice of law. Apart from being more physically integrated with the city, there seems to be a lot more traffic of practitioners coming in and out of the campus. Lots of professors are/were practitioners, and they seem to get a lot of these people in to speak. There are a TON of clinics that seem really hands-on but also educational. Someone asked a NYU administrator if they could get credit for term-time externships and the administrator said something like "We don't believe in taking your money and then giving you credit for working for someone else. We believe in educating you for your tuition, and that's why clinics are great because they combine the practical and academic..." That is kind of annoying for people for whom an externship specifically is useful but you can always do it on the side...but I think that's a good point given the variability of internship quality.

People seemed more raw and holistic. They all seemed to have some sort of life outside of law school or academics; even if it was just their clinics and people they met there. Some people don't like that there's kind of less of an exclusive 'law school community' and people hang out with existing/other friends in NYC but I like that people are doing their own thing because frankly I want to do my own thing. I don[t think that students don't hang out, but that there is a wider range of perspectives when people do hang out because they do have separate lives. I want law school to be part of my social life, not the end all and be all of it. I also think it's a lot more fun when we can each talk about our different clinics or externships or passions or other friends/experiences/activities than if we all want to go corporate and are all doing theoretical research or law review with the hope of working at Wachtell or Skadden someday. In that sense we're much less in competition, which I heard over and over again seems to undermine and underwrite all social relations within law school regardless of where you're at...And let's face it there isn't a holistic LS community at CLS either; there will be cliques and groups either way. It's also less cliquey, I think, when people are more free agents, have separate lives outside of law school, and aren't all focusing on the same academics or jostling for the same corporate positions. Or maybe that's just me trying to explain why I felt CLS was more cliquey than NYU... I also personally felt like it was more acceptable at NYU to take a lower-paying or less-prestigious job because you're passionate about it, though most of the time people seemed to excel at well in PI. I found Columbia more prestige-whorish and obsessed with hierarchy. Again, if there's more diversity then hierarchy matters less because its hard to compare apples and oranges.

People (or at least faculty) seemed more open. Lots of invitations to participate in clinics, research, etc. by speakers. Speakers at CLS ASW said their bit and that was it...sometimes invited you to write to them but that's different from straight up inviting people to co-author or such or sincerely giving credit to students who research assist-ed for them in the past...I think that's rare and wonderful.

Those are my impressions, sculled from just 2 days at CLS and 1 at NYU. Obviously lots of flaws based on my personal preferences, preconceived notions/biases, etc., so feel free to comment but keep in mind that they are just my opinions...

EDIT - also. yes that was a drastic statement. but that was seriously how i personally felt. i totally called my dad after my 2nd day of CLS ASW, telling him that i wasn't sure if i wanted to go to law school at all anymore and probably 2/3 of what i wrote above (save the why NYU part), and brainstorming what i was going to do instead...he was surprisingly supportive for pushing the lawyer thing for so long.


I don't think I can respond to each of your charges (since they are based on your opinion), but it sounds as though you experienced a side of CLS that I've never seen. First, Morningside Heights is hardly a "dirty urban wasteland," especially when compared to the Village, where there are equivalent (if not greater) amounts of "dirtiness; pollution; sketchiness in some areas; traffic; noise; bums." Columbia employs a number of superintendents/maintenance workers who are out hosing down/cleaning the streets every morning at 7 AM (I pass by them on my way to my 8 AM class...sigh).

Second, I apologize for the one douchebag you met who gave you the idea that CLS students think they're special, privileged, and have no humility. He is the exception. We are from all different backgrounds, and most of us feel lucky to be here. We have no disillusions about how tenuous the legal market is right now for all law students. I don't think it's fair to be lumped into that category, but I'll assume you had a particularly bad experience.

Only one of my friends is going into corporate law. I'm almost shocked at your statement about CLS being focused on more corporate work. A lot of us have already worked at firms as paralegals, and have no intention of going back. I'm also surprised by your belief that CLS classes are more "theoretical," while NYU classes are more practical and down-to-earth. 1L classes across all law schools are standard, and most 2L and 3L classes are very similar as well. The clinics are similar also. You talk about NYU's death penalty clinic; CLS has an equivalent clinic called "Consequences of Mass Incarceration" where we work at prisons in the area (Rikers, etc.). Not to mention that groups such as Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Law Students Against Domestic Abuse (forget the actual name) go out and work in the community weekly.

Obviously, you'll choose whichever you prefer. It sounds like you like the Village, and I encourage you to rock out there. However, I couldn't disagree with your assessment of my school more. It sounds like typical CLS/NYU stereotypes, and you'll either believe them or you won't.

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CG614
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby CG614 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:50 am

Lem37 wrote:I don't think I can respond to each of your charges (since they are based on your opinion), but it sounds as though you experienced a side of CLS that I've never seen. First, Morningside Heights is hardly a "dirty urban wasteland," especially when compared to the Village, where there are equivalent (if not greater) amounts of "dirtiness; pollution; sketchiness in some areas; traffic; noise; bums."

Second, I apologize for the one douchebag you met who gave you the idea that CLS students think they're special, privileged, and have no humility. He is the exception. We are from all different backgrounds, and most of us feel lucky to be here. We have no disillusions about how tenuous the legal market is right now for all law students. I don't think it's fair to be lumped into that category, but I'll assume you had a particularly bad experience.

Only one of my friends is going into corporate law. I'm almost shocked at your statement about CLS being focused on more corporate work. I'm also surprised by your belief that CLS classes are more "theoretical," while NYU classes are more practical and down-to-earth. 1L classes across all law schools are standard, and most 2L and 3L classes are very similar as well. The clinics are similar also. You talk about NYU's death penalty clinic; CLS has an equivalent clinic called "Consequences of Mass Incarceration" where we work at prisons in the area (Rikers, etc.). Not to mention that groups such as Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Law Students Against Domestic Abuse (forget the actual name) go out and work in the community weekly.

Obviously, you'll choose whichever you prefer. It sounds like you like the Village, and I encourage you to rock out there. However, I couldn't disagree with your assessment of my school more. It sounds like typical CLS/NYU stereotypes, and you'll either believe them or you won't.


I agree, those are the typical stereotypes, which were dispelled for me by my visit. I was worried that CLS students would be elitist, and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I found the atmosphere at CLS to be far more relaxed and friendly than NYU. To me, NYU students and faculty kept pushing the "NYU is not as competitive" line that it almost felt contrived. I actually felt the community sense at CLS. That is no way a dig at NYU, for I love their school and program too. I just feel like CLS is a better fit for me. And that is what everyone that is making this decision needs to do. Visit both schools and see which one feels right. Congrats with your NYU decision, I feel like I would love it there as well, but I am heavily leaning CLS at this point.

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Lem37
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby Lem37 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 9:48 am

CG614 wrote:
Lem37 wrote:I don't think I can respond to each of your charges (since they are based on your opinion), but it sounds as though you experienced a side of CLS that I've never seen. First, Morningside Heights is hardly a "dirty urban wasteland," especially when compared to the Village, where there are equivalent (if not greater) amounts of "dirtiness; pollution; sketchiness in some areas; traffic; noise; bums."

Second, I apologize for the one douchebag you met who gave you the idea that CLS students think they're special, privileged, and have no humility. He is the exception. We are from all different backgrounds, and most of us feel lucky to be here. We have no disillusions about how tenuous the legal market is right now for all law students. I don't think it's fair to be lumped into that category, but I'll assume you had a particularly bad experience.

Only one of my friends is going into corporate law. I'm almost shocked at your statement about CLS being focused on more corporate work. I'm also surprised by your belief that CLS classes are more "theoretical," while NYU classes are more practical and down-to-earth. 1L classes across all law schools are standard, and most 2L and 3L classes are very similar as well. The clinics are similar also. You talk about NYU's death penalty clinic; CLS has an equivalent clinic called "Consequences of Mass Incarceration" where we work at prisons in the area (Rikers, etc.). Not to mention that groups such as Law Students for Reproductive Justice and Law Students Against Domestic Abuse (forget the actual name) go out and work in the community weekly.

Obviously, you'll choose whichever you prefer. It sounds like you like the Village, and I encourage you to rock out there. However, I couldn't disagree with your assessment of my school more. It sounds like typical CLS/NYU stereotypes, and you'll either believe them or you won't.


I agree, those are the typical stereotypes, which were dispelled for me by my visit. I was worried that CLS students would be elitist, and nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I found the atmosphere at CLS to be far more relaxed and friendly than NYU. To me, NYU students and faculty kept pushing the "NYU is not as competitive" line that it almost felt contrived. I actually felt the community sense at CLS. That is no way a dig at NYU, for I love their school and program too. I just feel like CLS is a better fit for me. And that is what everyone that is making this decision needs to do. Visit both schools and see which one feels right. Congrats with your NYU decision, I feel like I would love it there as well, but I am heavily leaning CLS at this point.


I also wanted to comment a little more on the theoretical vs. practical assessment, because I'm not so sure what is even meant by that. If you (Ivorynighfall) are claiming that CLS students sit around in our ivory tower musing on theories of natural law and justice, this is ridiculous. First, as I pointed out, most classes at law schools are taught similarly, with very similar curricula. This is how I was able to study for my Torts exam with some Fordham Law friends last semester. Secondly, our professors are extremely down-to-earth, in that they gained their prestige from working on the very cases we read about in our books. Jack Greenberg argued Brown v. Board of Education. Suzanne Goldberg was Senior Staff Attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and currently does an immense amount of work in the field of women's and LGBT rights - experiences which she shared with us almost daily in her CivPro class. Carol Sanger is just...amazing.

All of the professors here have made huge contributions to the law, and a number of them are legends in the field of civil rights. This is a far cry from the stuffy, corporate atmosphere in your description. So while I appreciate your unique opinion, I have to disagree with some unfair characterizations.

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dutchstriker
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby dutchstriker » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:16 am

Just wanted to make two points in response to the long post by ivoryknight.

First, I had a great time when I visited Columbia. Everyone was very down to earth and I met some very cool, public-interested minded students. I actually had a much better time with the students at Columbia than at NYU. That said, personal preferences rule the day on this issue.

Second, Columbia and NYU's LRAPs are very similar in quality. They both have the same income floor of around $50,000. If you make less than that, you are not expected to contribute anything. NYU expects you to contribute 40% from $50k to $70k and 50% from $70k to $80k. If you make over $80k you are no longer eligible for LRAP benefits. This is a pretty big deal for those doing federal government work who still have $150k in debt.

Columbia has no income cap and you're only expected to contribute $34.5% of anything over $50,000. Basically, Columbia's LRAP is most definitely more generous, with two possible exceptions. First, your loans are not fully forgiven until five years of participation, whereas at NYU they are forgiven after three years. Second, the income scale at NYU slides up at least 10% four and seven years after graduation (i.e. the base moves from $50k to $55k to $61k).

I think most people would find that Columbia's LRAP is a bit more generous for them, although I would have to do some calculations to be assured of that. They're both pretty solid LRAPs, but that income cap at NYU is pretty scary. I'm not willing to say which is "better" because there's too much that goes into that type of an evaluation.

Sorry for the long post. I get annoyed when people say "So-and-so's LRAP is better than so-and-so's" without going into any more detail.

spondee
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby spondee » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:27 am

Yeah, the idea that NYU's LRAP is much better comes from the days when NYU was really spearheading this idea that the law school should assist its graduates working in public interest. But nowadays, especially with Columbia's most recent revisions, the two LRAPs are practically identical; there's no way to make a sweeping statement that one is better overall than the other. They're both exceptionally generous, trounce Chicago's, but still fall short of Yale's.

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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby Lem37 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:54 am

ivorynightfall wrote:
People seemed more raw and holistic. They all seemed to have some sort of life outside of law school or academics; even if it was just their clinics and people they met there. Some people don't like that there's kind of less of an exclusive 'law school community' and people hang out with existing/other friends in NYC but I like that people are doing their own thing because frankly I want to do my own thing. I don[t think that students don't hang out, but that there is a wider range of perspectives when people do hang out because they do have separate lives. I want law school to be part of my social life, not the end all and be all of it. I also think it's a lot more fun when we can each talk about our different clinics or externships or passions or other friends/experiences/activities than if we all want to go corporate and are all doing theoretical research or law review with the hope of working at Wachtell or Skadden someday. In that sense we're much less in competition, which I heard over and over again seems to undermine and underwrite all social relations within law school regardless of where you're at...And let's face it there isn't a holistic LS community at CLS either; there will be cliques and groups either way. It's also less cliquey, I think, when people are more free agents, have separate lives outside of law school, and aren't all focusing on the same academics or jostling for the same corporate positions. Or maybe that's just me trying to explain why I felt CLS was more cliquey than NYU... I also personally felt like it was more acceptable at NYU to take a lower-paying or less-prestigious job because you're passionate about it, though most of the time people seemed to excel at well in PI. I found Columbia more prestige-whorish and obsessed with hierarchy. Again, if there's more diversity then hierarchy matters less because its hard to compare apples and oranges.


Also, this entire statement is ridiculous and false. We all have lives outside of the law school here. I don't know where you got the idea that people simply studied/competed/hung out in cliques all day, unless you had (a) absolutely the worst law student host ever, (b) didn't go to any ASW events or interact with any current students, and (c) didn't come to the Wednesday night cocktail hour, after which tons of people filtered off into MH to go to different bars and restaurants.

We are not prestige-whorish or obsessed with hierarchy (again, this is really just mean).

We are extremely diverse (all ages, walks of life, races), so by your concept: not prestige-whorish or obsessed with hierarchy.

I find it hard to believe that you could come up with this kind of in-depth (and by my estimate, false and presumptive) analysis after a day and a half here. Again, I'm all for people going to the law school where they best fit, and I have a lot of friends down at NYU. But I can't stand by while someone calls me and my classmates "cliquish" "corporate" "prestige-whores" with "no lives outside of law school."

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M51
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby M51 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:04 pm

Wow that was a long post.
Well, good for you going against the grain. Besides the false statements about LRAP and PI (CLS has a larger endowment, a more generous PILF, and less competition for this $... I have stories), the rest are your impressions, but most are utterly puzzling to me... what you wrote is like a characture of CLS/NYU, everything people heard BEFORE they came here (or to NYU).

Heirarchies??????? Really??????? :| Don't even know how to respond to that. Did you see the corporate people steal the PI kids' lunch money or something?

I'm also pretty sure you don't have a clue what "corporate positions" entail, since you automatically discounted them from your discussions of diversity. As a corporate person, I almost feel insulted that I can't be a holistic person too :cry: ... am I just doomed to be subhuman in the heirarchy of law?

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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby CG614 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:45 pm

M51 wrote: As a corporate person, I almost feel insulted that I can't be a holistic person too :cry: ... am I just doomed to be subhuman in the heirarchy of law?


It's worse, since you are at CLS you are preppy and elitist too! What a combo...

I question whether that poster even visited CLS. I had my concerns with the rumors, but all were dispelled by my visit.

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rupert.pupkin
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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby rupert.pupkin » Wed Apr 14, 2010 10:41 pm

This is, of course, what everyone at Columbia aspires to. :roll:



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Re: Columbia ASW, April 7-8

Postby Supermant » Thu Apr 15, 2010 1:32 pm

ivorynightfall wrote:Those are my impressions, sculled from just 2 days at CLS and 1 at NYU. Obviously lots of flaws based on my personal preferences, preconceived notions/biases, etc., so feel free to comment but keep in mind that they are just my opinions...


No matter where you end up, you're gonna be a real treat to be in classes with next year.




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