Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Columbia 2L taking questions  (Read 1487 times)

CLS2009Student

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2008, 10:37:45 AM »
I just found yesterday that I got into Columbia.  I am in a total state of shock as I was sure I wouldn't get in.  I haven't even looked into the logistics of living in NYC.  I know this is going to be a huge investment, but just how much does it cost to live within a reasonable distance of the school?  Thanks. 

Congrats!!!

Columbia owns basically all the housing in the neighborhood, and they guarantee housing to ALL incoming 1Ls.  This makes the logistics very easy:  You fill out an online form, they assign you an apartment, you move in.  All the housing is within a reasonable distance of the school, and a huge proportion of people live across the street or one short block away from the law school.

Cost varies a lot, depending on what kind of apartment you want.  The 2 or 3 bedroom apartment shares are a great deal.  People pay like $400-$800 each a month to share a very spacious apartment very near the law school with some other law students.  

Your financial aid package, whether loans or scholarships, takes account of the cost of living so you won't be penny-pinching to pay rent.  Actually, I have one of the most expensive housing options and I still find I have too much money burning a hole in my pocket!

CLS2009Student

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2008, 10:41:21 AM »
I hear that your LRAP just got a big boost.  Has that news caused any of your classmates (or you) to rethink big firm work?

Our LRAP did get a big boost.  It's pretty exciting--Columbia was the first law school to institute such a program, and now we have what is almost certainly the most generous program out there.

That said, I still don't think it is persuading a lot of people to rethink big firm work.  The truth is that the best positions in public interest and government aren't really available right out of law school.  And, even with assistance with loans, you're still going to be much better off financially going to a firm.  A lot of my classmates intend to go to a firm for a few years, save up a nice nest egg while getting some great experience, and then use that experience to enter government or public interest at a level where they can really do some interesting work.

There are, of course, a good number of Columbia people who do public interest or government work right out of law school.  I think this will no doubt be a boost for them.

Very interesting response.  Infers that the "best" positions in public interest are the prestigious policy-oriented ones.  (I am not criticizing, I am writing a law review article on this subject)  Thanks for the thoughtful response!

You're right that my answer betrays my opinion--and that of most law students and lawyers I know--that the on-the-ground public interest work is not a great career.  Columbia has a pro bono requirement, so almost all of us have some exposure to this sort of work and the attorneys who do it.  I have to give them mad props--it seems like a pretty unrewarding experience for a number of reasons.  So, yes, I think that the "best" public interest positions are policy-oriented or at least appellate advocacy related, as well as quasi-legal positions.

CLS2009Student

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2008, 11:27:41 AM »
I'm still around if anyone has more questions.

aporia

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2008, 12:03:34 PM »
I'm still around if anyone has more questions.

How's the financial aid situation for you?  Are you in a state of shock over how much you're going to be paying back, or did Columbia give you a little bit of help in that department?

If possible, can you compare CLS's financial aid to that of its peers?
Columbia 2011

CLS2009Student

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2008, 12:10:39 PM »
I'm still around if anyone has more questions.

How's the financial aid situation for you?  Are you in a state of shock over how much you're going to be paying back, or did Columbia give you a little bit of help in that department?

If possible, can you compare CLS's financial aid to that of its peers?

Columbia gave me quite a bit of financial aid.  It was not the highest offer I had, but it was nonetheless very high.  I think every case is an individual one, but all-in-all I think CLS financial aid compares favorably to its peers.  For comparison: NYU originally offered me half as much as CLS.  NYU was willing to narrow the gap a little, but was still far below the offer of CLS.
 
One thing to note is that Columbia usually seems willing to match, exceed, or at least narrow the gap between its financial aid offer and that of a peer law school.  (Peer law school is defined pretty tightly though--Cornell, for example, is a good law school but I don't think they feel the need to match its financial aid offers.)

I have some loans, but I'm really not worried about it.  I'm going to be very well paid as soon as I leave here, as are all my classmates.  Even the largest debt burden could be taken care of in 1-3 years.  As I discussed above, Columbia now also has an even better program to make sure the debt burden doesn't crush those who pursue public interest or government.  The nice thing about going here is I don't need to worry whether I'll be able to repay the debt.

One last thing to think about is that Columbia front loads any grants or scholarships.  (NYU also does this, but I don't know any other schools that do.)  You get 2/5ths of your award each of your first two years, and 1/5th of it your last year.  (E.g. 30+30+15 for a 75k award).  Since most people make 30k-40k the summer before 3L, this helps you get the money where it counts and reduce the amount of loans you have to take out (and the amount of time you're paying interest on them).

Jerry Maguire

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 50
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2008, 01:07:15 PM »
How much do summer jobs after 1st year pay? Are they easy to acquire? Is hoping to make 5-10k during that summer unrealistic ?

CLS2009Student

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2008, 01:15:12 PM »
How much do summer jobs after 1st year pay? Are they easy to acquire? Is hoping to make 5-10k during that summer unrealistic ?

I think making 5K is not just likely, but guaranteed.  Part of Columbia's public interest program is guaranteed stipends for any student who does public interest work.  For 2Ls, this is a $6000 stipend.  For 1Ls, I think (but am not sure) that it is $5000.  Some PI employers pay more.

The real money, however, is in a firm job.  About 1/3 of Columbia people get firm jobs.  My sense is that most of those who do not did not really even try to get one.  At a firm job, you almost always make the same as a 2L.  This is $3100 a week for 10-15 weeks.

Jerry Maguire

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 50
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2008, 01:20:49 PM »
Whoa, and is this the type of work that future lawyers end up doing? I'm imagining lawyers saying "here do this and do that" so they don't do it themselves, but with that pay wow its worth it lol. Are you familiar with other schools and their abilities to get students in those types of jobs as well?

CLS2009Student

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 147
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2008, 01:25:54 PM »
Whoa, and is this the type of work that future lawyers end up doing? I'm imagining lawyers saying "here do this and do that" so they don't do it themselves, but with that pay wow its worth it lol. Are you familiar with other schools and their abilities to get students in those types of jobs as well?

Most firm summer jobs do NOT involve doing all the stuff the lawyers don't want to do.  The firms are trying to woo us.  The summer involves a lot of parties, expensive lunches, and open bars.  It also involves varying amounts of work depending on the firm, but they try to keep it to the most interesting work that you're capable of doing.

Because of Columbia's position in NYC, I think it is easier to get a good firm job as a 1L.  (Firms don't like having to pay to fly you in for an interview as a 1L.)  But students at HYSCCN have pretty good shots at 1L jobs.

Jerry Maguire

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 50
    • View Profile
Re: Columbia 2L taking questions
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2008, 03:17:00 PM »
Hi, are you familiar with the entertainment law aspect of the school at all?