Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - SouthSide

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 ... 111
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia and Public Service
« on: January 26, 2007, 12:48:15 PM »
Unfortunately, demingh is over-trolling here. The fact is that more NYU students do go into public interest work. If you break it down by law firms/clerkships/public interest/government/other, you get:

Most recent Columbia graduating class: 79/14/4/2/1

Most recent NYU graduating class: 76/13/6/4/1

Why the disparity? Both schools have very similar public interest programs and loan repayment assistance programs. I think the best explanation is that the schools attract slightly different student bodies. Slightly more NYU students want to go into public interest work directly out of law school, in part because the school does have a reputation among the sort of people who post on this forum as being more friendly to public interest work. This self-selection bias results in the difference between the two school's placements statistics. I'm not sure if this difference extends over a full career. It would be more informative to have data about what each school's alumni are doing ten years out of law school, but unfortunately these data don't exist.

Another plausible explanation is that some of the NYU students who go into public interest jobs do so as a fall-back because they don't get the most desirable firm jobs, and that fewer Columbia students have this problem. I don't think this is the case, but it would fit the data equally well.

  • I am definitely quite left leaning politically, though I am very fond of purely ecomomic/market solutions whenever possible
  • I currently live in the Village, and my wife refuses to move to the UWS at least for a year, and possibly never (she has that power, since she will largely be supporting me during the next 3 years)
  • I am interested in BigLaw, leaning toward IP (non-patent), but this may change with exposure (currently none)
  • I have always been collegial (sharing my papers / editing others) in UG, and am worried about the rumored cutthroat atmosphere at CLS
  • I'll have been out of school 4 years when 1L starts - if that is even relevant
  • I may want to practice in either London or Boston (instead/after NYC)

Anyone out there commute to CLS via A-train to 125th - I did this for the LSAT and it was fast, but I'm interested in any problems etc.

I'll take my crack at these.

1: Columbia is an extremely left-leaning school, but it has a lot more ideological diversity among both students and faculty than NYU does (speaking from personal experience). In my view, this is a plus. It's good to know and interact with people you disagree with. There aren't many conservatives at Columbia, but there are enough to make the discussions and the intellectual/political atmosphere very interesting.

2. I know a number of people who commute from the Village or other points downtown. It's very simple. If you already live there, you know what a quick ride it is. I wouldn't worry about it.

3. If you want to do IP, you should go to Columbia. The IP program at Columbia is in a whole different league than that at NYU. It's actually one of the few areas where there is such a clear advantage to one school over the other. For big law firms in general, there is a placement edge to Columbia, but both schools are great for that.

4. Columbia isn't cutthroat in my experience. I felt like all of my fellow students were very willing to work together and study together, despite the fact that we are technically competing for a limited number of high grades. The great thing about Columbia (and I would assume NYU), is that because we all have good career prospects, there isn't too much pressure to be competitive against each other. I've heard that the really cutthroat places are schools with lower rankings where only a small number of students get desirable jobs.

5. I had been out two years. There are a lot of people like that here. Probably irrelevant.

6. If you want to practice in London, slight advantage to Columbia. (better known overseas) But very slight. You will be able to get a good job in either of those cities from both Columbia and NYU.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia and Public Service
« on: January 26, 2007, 07:16:57 AM »
thanks for the info, southside.  i was also wondering if you could talk about Columbia's clinics?  most of the other schools I've been accepted to really harp on their clinical opportunities.  i don't hear as much of this from Columbia, but i would assume they have great clinics as well.  true?

all of the CLS students i've seen post here have been very helpful and positive, which is a good sign.  however, i still wonder if there is any truth to the stereotype of CLS students as cutthroat and/or concerned only with making massive amounts of money in biglaw. 

dispel my doubts?

Columbia does have very good clinics. Here's the link:

Two particular notes: First, Columbia's new gender and sexuality clinic is the first of its kind, and still the only one in the country, which is very cool. Also, the human rights clinic is awesome. I have a few friends on it, and they say great things about it. As a 1L, I'm not yet too familiar with all the clinics, but they seem to be very good.

Also, keep in mind that there are a number of other ways to get involved in public interest work as a 1L. I have been involved in the Courtroom Advocates Project, which represents victims of domestic violence, and it's a great experience to actually work through the courtroom process with a client as a 1L. (NYU is also involved with CAP). Columbia also has a tenant's rights group, a criminal justice action organization, a youth justice group, and a human rights group. I've known people who've done projects with each of these as 1Ls, and the experience is uniformly positive. I did some projects for the human rights group, doing actual legal research that was needed by human rights organizations for casework they are doing. Bottom line: you will have more opportunities to do real public interest/pro bono work at Columbia than you can possibly take advantage of.

It has not been my experience at all that Columbia students are cutthroat or interested only in corporate work. (You can be cutthroat and interested in public interest as well, by the way.) I have been consistently amazed by the diversity of interests here, and the general quality and experience of the students.

Oooh...can't wait until someone says something about this - the quality of the students at one equally ranked school with maybe one LSAT point difference is higher?


I made it clear in my earlier post that I was speaking about my own perceptions from visiting both schools. The NYU students that I know are great, but I was a little bit more impressed by the people I met at Columbia. That perception has only been strengthened sine I came here. I think anyone considering both schools should definitely visit both of them and form your own judgements.

Law School Admissions / Re: CLS admit thread
« on: January 25, 2007, 11:41:53 AM »
Congrats to all. Let me know if anyone has any questions about Columbia or just New York in general.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia and Public Service
« on: January 25, 2007, 11:37:11 AM »
so, just got into Columbia, and I expect my choice will come down to CLS and NYU.  I know there is a whole thread comparing these two schools, but for me the decision is all but made (Columbia) except for one thing- I think it is very likely that I will want to do public service or government type work after graduating.  i absolutely do not want to do biglaw and i don't particularly want to live in NYC. 

so i guess i have some questions about Columbia that don't usually get asked. 

-does NYU's focus on public interest/public service give it a significant advantage over Columbia for public service career prospects? 

-i know that NYU's LRAP is reputed to be better, but I'm wondering how much better.   

-how well does Columbia place outside of NYC and off the East Coast.  How about the Pacific Northwest?  The Midwest?

basically i'm concerned about CLS's reputation as being married to Wall Street, and appreciate any thoughts people have about what it would be like doing public service from there.

I'll take an admittedly biased crack at these questions.

First, it's safe to say that public service career prospects are similar at the two schools. You have excellent options in the public sector coming out of both. One area where Columbia has a slight advantage is if you are interested in working overseas. This is mostly because Columbia University overall is better known internationally. If you are set on doing public interest work, the issue at both schools is not so much your likelihood of getting hired as it is the environment of the two schools and what works best for you. You'll get a good sense of this when you actually visit the two schools.

Here's my take: there are more students who are interested in public interest work at NYU, so to that extent there is more of a culture of public interest work at NYU. On the other hand, the overall atmosphere at Columbia is more serious academically, and the quality of the students is higher. As someone who is myself interested in doing human rights work in my career, I valued the better academic climate at Columbia, as well as the much greater chance to take advantage of the uniformly strong other departments of the university, as being more important components of my legal education.

Second, if you want to crunch the LRAP numbers, here are the two policies.

I remember trying to forecast a few different potential financial scenarios last year, and basically coming to the conclusion that for the most part, there isn't much difference. Maybe a few thousand dollars over the course of your career, depending on your precise salary at any given time. I would not make my decision based on that.

Third, Columbia places very well everywhere in the country. By just about every metric, it has a better placement record for desirable jobs than NYU.

Here's a novel idea, how about you go to law school BECAUSE YOU LIKE THE LAW not because its an investment.  If you want a sound investment, go into finance and get an MBA.  For some reason law attracts risk averse, socially inept people who figure that they don't have the bravado it takes to succeed in the business world.

Those people that don't go into BIGLAW by choice are the type of people that do not see law school as an investment, but rather a necessary means to achieve their career goals or personal aspirations.

This is the appropriate response. There's lots of better ways to make money than by going to law school. If you go in thinking about it as an investment, you probably won't be happy even if you go to a top school and get a biglaw job. You need to really be interested in the law.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Northwestern $$$ v. HSCCN
« on: January 23, 2007, 06:36:21 AM »
How much $$ from NU? Definitely Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, or Columbia... did you apply to Boalt? They apparently match offers from t14. Try that with HSCC.

HYS do not have merit aid and won't match merit offers - I had success with CLS though

They do match need offers, and they might be persuaded by merit if it was presented as meeting need.  That said, the matching probably doesn't go much lower than CCN with them.

I will post here what I posted on XO, since it's relevant:

Date: January 16th, 2007 4:08 PM
Author: bassdesire

I think people are really overlooking the fact that you are likely to have loans even with $$$. The $$$, if its a full scholarship, only applies to tuition. If it's less, then you may have to cover the rest in loans. If you have loans for your living expenses and some portion of your tuition, then you're going to be paying them back when you graduate anyway. The relevant question isn't "how much is school X giving you?" but, "Given your aid package at HLS, how much more debt will you accrue over three years than at school X?"

If you don't have much money, the difference isn't likely to be too significant (especially the difference between Chicago with $$ and comparable COL). Would you be willing to have, for example 20K less in loans to go to Chicago? I wouldn't, primarily because I would be able to relax at HLS. Even at the bottom of the class, I will have tremendous opportunities. That's worth 20K.


I would quibble with the Chicago/Harvard comparison there. Students at the bottom of the class at Chicago aren't too worried about finding great jobs either. That ability to relax and focus on what interests you without worrying too much about your grades extends at least to the top 6 schools. The interesting question is how far it extends below that. My general sense from talking to a fair amount of people is that it completely depends on what your career goals are.

If you would be perfectly happy working at a big Chicago firm, then Northwestern is as good for you as any school in the country, and just about everyone at Northwestern has very good local options. But it doesn't have quite the national reputation of the schools that are a bit higher up on the pyramid. If you are going to want to work in the Bay Area or New York, or you are motivated to compete for the top clerkships, then you should go to Harvard or Chicago over Northwestern.

Also, I'm surprised that people are talking up the Harvard need-based packages on this thread. Wait until you get yours, but mine was basically nothing, despite the fact that I and my parents don't have any money and other schools with higher rankings made more generous need-based offers. Friends of mine have similar experiences to mine with Harvard, so it must be fairly random.

Final point - I totally agree that you need to compare the overall debt picture at every school you get into. Don't just concentrate on the "sticker price" of the scholarship they offer you. I would assume that everyone does that, but if it needed to be said, then I'm glad someone said it.

It's a very simple 3-step process that anyone can do.

1) Fly to Washington DC.

2) Give Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. the greatest night of pleasure and passion that he has ever experienced.

3) Have him write you a very personal letter of recommendation to his alma mater.

The only tricky part is step 2 ...

Anyway, citing Wachtell alone is pretty useless.  Go down a couple ranks in the V10 and they're recruiting from 30+ schools.

I agree. I was using that as an extreme case, and even they interview at 8 schools. I haven't seen another firm go below 15 to 20, and most are a lot more than that.

I have been told by lawyers at law firms in major cities that they do. This coincides with the information on the NALP database. The best firms hire primarily from the top 6 or maybe 8 law schools. For instance, Wachtell only interviews at 8 schools, and basically only hires students from those 8 schools. As far as I can tell, though, that is by far the most selective list of on-campus interviews of any law firm in the country. Most law firms interview at ten to fifteen national schools, plus a couple of the better local schools. But nobody hires only Yale or Harvard grads.

Pages: 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 ... 111