Commentaries

The Official Admissions Blog of Columbia Law School

Experiential Learning at the Law School


Posted on December 12th, 2012 by Office of Admissions
 1 comment  

Being situated in the international nexus of legal practice, publishing, international finance, culture, the arts, and communications affords Columbia Law School students an unmatched experiential education.

Through the Law School’s clinics and externships, students are able to see legal theories tested and validated in the halls of the United Nations, leading public interest organizations, conference rooms of prominent corporations, and both local and federal courtrooms.

Clinical programs at the Law School offer outstanding service to their clients while allowing students to begin the lifelong process of becoming thoughtful, responsible, and reflective lawyers.  Students work under the close supervision of their clinical professors and are encouraged to pursue their own learning goals while taking on the weighty responsibility of providing effective representation to a wide range of clients in important and often sensitive matters. Samples of the 9 clinics taught this spring are:

  • •  Child Advocacy Clinic
  • •  Environmental Law Clinic
  • •  Human Rights Clinic
  • •  Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic

 

Similar to clinics, externships provide students varied hands-on learning opportunities. At the Law School, an externship consists of a seminar that in most cases meets once a week and a field experience at an NGO or government office that is closely related to the seminar. Externship seminars are taught by adjunct professors who are leading practitioners, providing students an unrivaled education in a multitude of interest areas. Just a few (of 12) externships taught this upcoming spring are:

  • •  Arts Law Externship at Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
  • •  Immigration Defense Externship at the Legal Aid Society
  • •  United Nations Externship
  • •  Federal Prosecution Externship at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York

 

With expansive and in-depth programmatic offerings, Columbia Law School finds its students’ intellectual assumptions and cultural preferences examined and challenged as never before.

Frequently Asked Questions from this Fall


Posted on November 15th, 2012 by Office of Admissions
 5 comments  

The application deadline for our Early Decision Plan is today, marking the halfway point of the application period (September 1 – February 15). At this juncture, we would like to address some frequently asked questions that we have received thus far in the application cycle:

Q) If I submit my application before the early decision deadline but there are components yet to be processed by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), will my application be considered under the Early Decision Plan?

A) As long as the missing components of your application are processed by LSAC by a reasonable date, you will be reviewed as an Early Decision candidate.

Q) How can I request a fee waiver?

A) There are two types of fee waivers honored by Columbia Law School: merit-based and need-based. If you qualify for a merit-based fee waiver, you will be notified via Columbia Law School; there is no separate application for this. To receive a need-based fee waiver, you must apply through LSAC.

Q) Can I send additional information to Columbia Law School regarding my application?

A) Once your application has been rendered complete, the only documents that you may send are address updates and letters of continued interest.

Q) Is it worth applying in the 2012-2013 application cycle if I plan on taking the December LSAT?

A) The Office of Admissions receives a large number of applicants after the December LSAT administration. To ensure the best chances of admission to the Law School, submit your application with an indicated future LSAT date as soon as possible. That way, LSAC may begin processing the other components of your application, thereby expediting the completion process once your December LSAT score has been reported.

Whether you are applying Early Decision or Regular decision, relax and enjoy the remainder of the fall as soon as you click submit on your application.

Ways to stay connected


Posted on November 2nd, 2012 by Office of Admissions

To begin, we would like to send our best wishes to those whose lives, families, and neighborhoods have been affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Whether you are thinking about applying to law school, in the process of applying to law school, or awaiting a decision from the admissions committee, there are plenty of ways to stay connected to Columbia Law School.

Currently, our admissions officers are still on the road so we encourage you to browse our travel calendar to learn more about where you can find us whether it is at a college- and university-sponsored Law School and/or Graduate School Fairs, individual campus visitation days, or regional Law School Admission Council (LSAC) Forums. At these events, you will have the opportunity to speak directly with an admissions officer, allowing you to ask questions that we may not have addressed in our 2013 Viewbook or in the Frequently Asked Questions section of our website.

If we are not travelling to your area, you may always contact us at admissions@law.columbia.edu or visit us on campus to speak to an admissions officer, take a self-guided tour, attend law classes, and attend a Visitation Program.

Another great way to learn about life as a law student and receive email updates with news and events from the Office of Admissions is by creating a “My Columbia Law” account. While creating an account, you may link your LSAC account to your “My Columbia Law” account for additional features.

A Warm Welcome


Posted on September 15th, 2012 by Office of Admissions
 4 comments  

Unlike much of the world, our office recently had its New Year celebration. For the Law School, September 1 marks the start of the new admissions cycle in search of the Class of 2016, and we could not be more excited!

There are a number of ways in which you can become better acquainted with Columbia Law School; we will mention a few that are supplemental to generally perusing our website.

The quickest way to familiarize yourself with the Law School is through the creation of a ‘My Columbia Law’ account, directing you to courses, professors, and programs tailored to your goals and interests. In addition, prospective students can learn more about the Law School by visiting a class at the Law School or by attending an information session on-campus or across the country.

Finally, we want to point out that this is the first year the Office of Admissions is completely paperless. For our office this means that we have a system that is both more efficient for processing, and more effective for review. Additionally, this means that all applicants must submit their applications directly to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). The only updates that may be submitted after your application has been processed and rendered complete are address updates and letters of continued interest.

We wish to extend a warm welcome and look forward to learning about each and every one of you.  Should you have any questions during the application process, please contact the Office of Admissions at admissions@law.columbia.edu or (212) 854-2670.

Columbia Law School in the News


Posted on May 1st, 2012 by Nkonye Iwerebon
 1 comment  

Ranging from the various moot court competitions to our clinics that are constantly impacting legislature, the variety of talents and creativity comprising the Law School community never ceases to amaze me.

That being said, I always find it rewarding to see what our current students, faculty, and alumni are doing off campus.  Here are a few articles worth reading from April alone:

Candace Cho ’12 awarded first NYC Corporation Counsel Clerkship

Preet Bharara ’93, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, named by Time Magazine “One of the 100 Most Influential People in the World”

Wall Street Journal article discussing Professor Richard Gardner, and his influence on Columbia Law students and the international scene

An Eminent University


Posted on April 3rd, 2012 by Office of Admissions

In no other environment can you experience an intellectual journey as stimulating, challenging, and rewarding as law school. In addition to the extraordinary opportunities provided by Columbia Law School alone, the interdisciplinary engagements of the University’s innumerable institutes and centers can make your academic and professional practice a special one.

While enrolled, Law School students may apply up to ten credits from any other part of the University to their J.D. degree.  With leading authorities in economics, environmental studies, international relations, religious studies, social theory, history, and other disciplines, the University provides a multifaceted instruction that is unparalleled when combined with that of the Law School. Take for example, someone interested in economics. Aside from the Center for Law and Economics, co-directed by Professors Merritt Fox and Jeffrey Gordon, Columbia has three Nobel Prize-winning economists teaching full-time at various schools within the institution.  Interested in law and the arts? Columbia offers classes taught by a Nobel Prize winning author, as well as numerous Pulitzer Prize winners teaching at Columbia’s Professional School of Journalism. As an eminent university positioned in the international capital of law, economics, communications, arts and culture, Columbia University caters to the interests and curiosities of all of its students. Additionally, if interested and if admitted to both programs, students may earn joint degrees at most schools within Columbia. For more information on joint degrees and cross registration, please reference our website.

To meet the needs of a legal profession that has become increasingly interdisciplinary, Law School students are afforded exposure to and instruction from leading authors, scholars, and practitioners devoted to specialized research. While gaining an understanding of one’s connectedness to the city, the state, the country, and the world, students develop an intellectual dynamism that will guide and accompany them through whatever journey their future may hold.

Decisions and Deadlines


Posted on January 30th, 2012 by Office of Admissions

With the spring semester well underway, the Office of Admissions has entered our favorite season of the admissions cycle – application review and decision time!  The Admissions Committee is enjoying the opportunity to evaluate your academic achievements, personal narratives, accomplishments, and life experiences to bring in an entering class of talented individuals.  We know there are still many prospective applicants out there working diligently to submit their application by our deadline of February 15.

We want you to know that there is still time to get those applications into the hands of the Committee for a careful, holistic review.  Cross your “t’s,” dot your “i’s,” and if questions arise about the process of completing your application, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For those applicants that have already submitted complete applications and are awaiting a decision, there are four possible notifications one can expect:

1) Admit – If you receive a decision of acceptance, congratulations!  Be excited, and go celebrate.

2) Hold – If you find yourself in our Hold category, it simply means that your application is currently under active consideration, and you will be notified by the end of April on a further decision of admittance, denial, or a move to the Reserve group.

3) Reserve – A Reserve notice means that at this point in time, we are unable to make a final decision on your candidacy and will re-evaluate your application in May.  Please respond as directed.

4) Deny – During this admissions season, we expect to see thousands of candidates vying for approximately 380 spots.  Consequently, we are not able to admit all of the talented candidates who apply, and we hope that our decision in no way discourages you from pursuing a legal career.  Although the decision is final for this season, you’re welcome to reapply during a future admissions cycle.

Good luck!

Beyond the Books


Posted on January 5th, 2012 by Office of Admissions

Because our journals, clinics, and externships are not available to 1Ls, prospective students often ask about the various ways they can get involved during their first year of law school. It is important to understand that 1L year is meant to be a time of introduction.  Law school draws students from all walks of life; in turn, it requires a period of adjustment and overview of the skills and ideas that will be polished in the years that follow.

To assist in the transition both from school or professional life, Columbia established the Peer Mentoring Program, which provides 1Ls the opportunity to engage with second- and third-year students. Not only does this facilitate discussions of what classes to take and where to find free lunch within the Law School, but it also offers insights into student life at Columbia.

While various aspects and experiences of law school are exclusive to 2Ls and 3Ls, there exists a large amount of opportunities to sate the 1L appetite. The most prevalent and popular of these opportunities is student organizations.  Ranging from service organizations, to social change and social and recreation organizations, Columbia Law School currently caters to over 85 student organizations.  If you arrive on campus feeling limited by the already-established organizations, you can find your niche and create your own.

In addition to participating in student organizations, 1Ls often involve themselves with one, or many, of the centers and programs housed at Columbia Law School. Whether this means attending wine and cheese events held by Social Justice Initiatives or attending a panel series hosted by the Center for Climate Change Law, campus events are endless. With over 40 centers and programs from which to choose, students’ only frustrations may come from the abundance of choice.

Finally, 1Ls may find themselves participating in various moot court competitions, volunteer opportunities, as well as the endless events occurring all over New York City. Law school is a time for personal and professional growth, and we are here to assist in whatever way possible.

The Application


Posted on October 26th, 2011 by Office of Admissions

In meeting with students both on campus and on the road, one thing is clear – too many prospective law students think that the only two things important to the admissions committee are the undergraduate GPA and the LSAT. Not only does this improperly describe the qualitative factors of the application, but also it fails to give mention to the majority of materials needed to apply.

For anyone going through the application process, it is worthwhile to read through a mini-forum held by the Deans of Admissions from several schools—namely Chicago, Michigan, NYU, Stanford, Yale, and, of course, Columbia.  The focus of the panel was to respond to frequently asked questions regarding the law school admissions process, addressing everything from work experience to letters of recommendation, personal statements to strengths and weaknesses of an application, qualitative factors of the application, and finally, the archetypical law applicant.

On the whole, your application to Columbia Law School is much more than two numbers; it is the story of who you are and where you are headed.  Every application to the Law School will be read by a minimum of two officers, so make sure that everything included in your application is polished and complete.  Lastly, do not leave us guessing.  If something needs explaining, attach an addendum.

Enjoy the fall, and best of luck in the admissions process.

Who should apply Early Decision?


Posted on October 12th, 2011 by Office of Admissions

During our visits to schools, law fairs, and LSAC forums, we have been asked, “should I apply Early Decision?” on numerous occasions. The Early Decision Plan is designed for prospective law students who have thoughtfully considered what would represent for them the most effective legal education, have investigated carefully a range of law schools, and have concluded that Columbia is clearly their first choice.

For Early Decision candidates, the application process is simplified and expedited considerably; it is less expensive in terms of time, effort, and money. The application deadline for the Early Decision Plan is November 15, and applicants are generally notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision in December, allowing them to resume professional, family, and educational responsibilities without any uncertainty. These benefits, however, are accompanied by the cost of self-restricting law school choice.

Candidates applying on an Early Decision basis commit themselves to matriculate at Columbia if admitted. In turn, these applicants will not have an opportunity to review their financial aid packages before committing. Additionally, successful Early Decision candidates may not initiate any new law school applications, must decline any acceptances they may have received prior to admission to Columbia’s Early Decision Plan, and must immediately withdraw other applications once notified of their Columbia acceptance in December. Failure to honor these commitments will result in Columbia revoking its offer of admission. It is worth noting that our office communicates directly with the offices of our peer schools and is aware of the decisions made by our applicants.

Some Early Decision applicants not offered admission will be reviewed again in April as part of the regular applicant pool; others will be informed that their application for admission has been denied and will not be evaluated again that year.

However you decide to apply, from the moment you click submit on your application, relax and enjoy the remainder of the Fall.

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