Professor Interaction and Mentoring at Columbia Law School

Mayra B. JoachinOne of the most valuable aspects of Columbia Law School is its faculty. Not only do CLS professors genuinely care about their students, but they also take steps to foster faculty-student relationships. As a first-year student, my Civil Procedure Professor, Susan Sturm, invited our class to her apartment so that we could interact in a more personal setting while having drinks and hors d’oeuvres. This experience is not uncommon throughout your three years at Columbia Law School. Professors such as Professor Jackson schedule lunch with students in their class throughout the semester, and some go out for drinks with their students at the end of the semester, such as Professors Metzger and Judge. These opportunities are invaluable to our development when many of us are still exploring different careers in the law.

The relationship that a CLS student can develop with a professor here, however, surpasses social interactions. As a third-year student, I’ve been fortunate to develop close relationships with several professors. Professors Sturm, Johnson, and Genty, for example, have made themselves available whenever I have needed both academic and professional advice. They have all recommended classes, provided advice as to how to structure my three years at CLS, and provided personal information regarding their experiences as practitioners. One professor, Professor Elora Mukherjee, was kind enough to offer to conduct mock interviews for me when she found out that I had a few upcoming interviews scheduled. This professor had met me fifteen minutes before, when I approached her to discuss the substance of my note topic. Professors are also willing to assist in your academic enrichment even if you are not enrolled in their courses. Through my Note and my participation in a student-created reading group, I had the opportunity to learn from Professors Ponsa, Thomas, and Greene, among others.

The types of opportunities mentioned above are not limited to professors who teach seminarswhich typically have less than 20 studentsor small lectures, which generally have less than 50 students. Professors who teach the larger lecture classes, which can have about 100 students, also make themselves available throughout the semester and after it. All professors offer at least a few office hours weekly and also accept appointments outside those hours. Outside of the classroom and office hour setting, Professors also frequently attend student social activities such as our annual Public Interest Law Foundation Auction and the 1L Dinner. The relationships I’ve developed with the faculty here are unparalleled, and I genuinely believe that these individuals will be lifetime mentors as I progress through my career.

Mayra B. Joachin is a 3L from Norwalk, CA.

Mayra B. Joachin
Mayra B. Joachin, 3L