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Messages - SouthSide

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« on: February 03, 2008, 08:43:24 AM »
(Full disclosure: I'm an HLS 1L)
The bottom of the bottom of HLS can get biglaw job offers.  That isn't as true at CLS, but assuming you have at least a decent grades, you're probably going to get offers if you're at CLS too.

In my experience, everyone with a pulse at CLS can get a biglaw job offer. I don't think anyone seriously worries about being employed on graduating

If you don't want to do big firm law, I think HLS wins hands down.  We have a great public interest placement office.  I had opportunities to do whatever I wanted this summer: public interest in Ireland, Russia, South Africa, urban or rural America.  Literally, whatever I wanted.  Also, you need to remember all public interest jobs aren't created equal.  The more important ones, the ones where you're getting on the track to eventually argue important cases with nationwide implications, are difficult to get.  Anecdotally, I've seen the HLS name alone (we don't even have grades yet) help a great deal in landing these sorts of jobs.

Again, I don't think there is a significant difference between the two schools in this area. Columbia guarantees summer funding for public interest work both 1L and 2L summers (I would imagine Harvard does the same), and the job options are phenomenal. It's hard to imagine that any other school could do much better than Columbia in terms of international job opportunities. I spent my first summer doing a human rights project in Pakistan, and knew people working in London, the Hague, Serbia, India, Tanzania, rural West Virginia etc.

But this doesn't capture one of the best parts of Columbia, and what in my opinion makes it arguably the best law school experience in the country. We don't have to wait until the summer to get involved in the most interesting and important work! Our placement in New York means that the school is connected to all sorts of organizations large and small, national and international. Students are doing cool projects and making connections all year round. Columbia has official externship and clinical programs where you can work with a judge in the 2d Circuit or the Southern District of New York (almost a part-time clerkship while you're still in law school!), the New York U.S. Attorney's Office, or do projects with the UN, the ACLU (their headquarters are just a subway ride away), various NGOs and community development organizations, and many others. And the alumni network in the city is so strong that you can find a ton of other, unofficial opportunities while you're in school. I know someone who is interested in intellectual property, so he connected with an adjunct professor and is working on the Viacom/Youtube litigation, and that's not a particularly unusual story here.

NYU is also in the city, but they don't have the same range of programs and opportunities. And there is no substitute for many of these opportunities if you're not here, because this is where so much of the action in the legal world is centered.

In my opinion, Harvard offers a small advantage in prestige, especially among non-lawyers, but not a corresponding tangible advantage in the opportunities you have after law school. And I think no school matches Columbia in terms of the incredible educational and experiential opportunities you can take advantage of while you are in law school.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« on: February 01, 2008, 07:52:12 AM »

Oooh, awesome - so far I've only talked to people who chose Harvard. Would it be okay if I PMed you?

You already did. I hope my answer was helpful!

Sorry to continually hijack, QotC.  I just want to say hi to my old friend SouthSide.

I'm glad all's still going well up there, kiddo.

Hi, Miss P! How are things with you?

Congrats on Johan Santana! Maybe the team won't collapse this year.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Harvard vs. the Hamilton (Columbia)
« on: January 31, 2008, 07:29:01 PM »
I am making my annual return to this board to highly recommend taking the scholarship at Columbia over Harvard. I am now a 2L at Columbia, and I can't believe that I ever agonized over this decision at all. I can't overestimate just how great it is to have financial freedom in law school. And I don't feel that I've given anything up to come to Columbia. The faculty and student body here are great, and the opportunities you get are, if anything, better than any of its peer schools. It was definitely the right decision for me, and I think it would be for the majority of people.

Now, I haven't taken the time to read this entire thread, so I'm not sure what people's specific concerns might be. But I will check back here periodically and I am happy to take any questions about why I made the decision I did, or my general thoughts on Columbia.

Pickles, I've worked a little bit with Sachs (I'm presently a PhD student studying climate at Columbia, switching over to law). Let me assure you that he is, indeed, the biggest feminine hygene product in world history.

Really?!? How disappointing from someone who seems so genuine in wanting to help people.

Yes, the consensus among people who've worked with him is that he's not the greatest person to work with. The broader point, however, remains that Columbia is better than almost any other school (the only possible exception is Harvard, and that's debatable) in the depth and richness of the school's connections to international development and human rights issues.

So is this a long winded thread saying if you want to do public interest go to NYU? I'm seriously considering Columbia but am pretty dead set on human rights law, especially internationally in Africa. Would it be a mistake to pick Columbia over NYU if this is one's goal?

I haven't read this thread in its totality, but I just saw this. I actually think Columbia is better for human rights law. The faculty who do human rights are better at Columbia and you are connected to a university that has way better programs over all. Between SIPA, the Earth Institute, and the Business School, there is just a lot more going on at Columbia connected to international human rights and economic development. Columbia also has massive hook-ups with the UN. If you want to work in Africa, and you are deciding between Columbia and NYU, you should almost definitely go to Columbia.

Law School Admissions / Re: CLS admit thread
« on: February 06, 2007, 09:49:41 AM »
If only.

She just said she was calling to see if I had any questions about CLS and inviting me to visit CLS and contact her if I needed anything.  Very nice, and I have to say I love the way she pronounced her name, even though I know I would only butcher it. 

How do you pronounce it?

Her name is E. Nkonye Iwerebon.  No clue how to pronounce it, even as I have her message on my voicemail.  She said it very fast. 

This may sound stupid, but it's pronounced exactly as it's spelled. Nkonye. There's no better phonetic way of spelling it.

Also, she is very nice and you will meet her at the Sharp interview, Moni.

I think that CLS is a great school; I almost went there.  And I think that the difference between CLS and HLS is slight and fairly arbitrary.  However, I think it would be a mistake to just equate the two, even when talking about firm jobs.  I got a 1L firm job, and the firm came to HLS to interview us.  The only other school they went to was Stanford.  And they told us in the interview that they wanted 1, maybe 2, HLS first years for each office and the same for SLS.  They weren't even considering students from other schools.  Now the difference recedes some when you get to 2L recruiting simply because those jobs are more plentiful.  But I just wanted to share because I wasn't even thinking in terms of such differences when I was trying to decide where to go.  It's tempting to disregard the difference, because like I said, I think it is pretty arbitrary, but there are times when the difference, as perceived by the rest of the world, matters.  And I'm extremely happy with my summer job.

A bunch of firms did OCI for Columbia 1Ls as well. I haven't seen anything that indicates it's easier to get a firm job as a Harvard 1L than it is as a Columbia 1L.

By all means, I encourage using the Columbia money to bargain with Harvard. Harvard will at least consider it. Bear in mind that Yale doesn't care, though. They told me not even to bother sending in my scholarship information from Columbia.

Is it undeserved? I hear people work real hard at Swarthmore.

We do, but I can't be so presumptuous as to assume we work any harder than students at other top schools.  Without having attended any other American schools, I can't say for certain that our grading is any more difficult.

It's not presumptuous to say that Stanford is brimming with slackers. I always thought that was the main reason people went to Stanford. There aren't too many better place in the world to spend a four-year vacation.

Law School Admissions / Re: Yale Obsession
« on: January 31, 2007, 03:02:45 PM »
I would have thought that the unlikeliness of having Dershowitz as a prof would be a selling point.

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