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Messages - Uptown *2*L

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51
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia, Penn, NYU, Chicago, oh my!
« on: January 28, 2008, 02:51:44 PM »
I cannot imagine that they would differ by that much.

Imagine whatever you want. Read the numbers; there is a substantial difference. As has been written about, firms are pretty rigid in their views of law schools.

My biggest suggestion would be to look through attorney bios for major firms in the cities where you want to practice. Focus on the young associates (partners and senior assocs. are irrelevant; too many other factors). A lot of them let you sort by office and by school. You will notice a huge dearth of Penn grads, particularly out west. Even if that is self-selection, it means there are that many fewer allies you have when it comes time to get hired.

52
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia, Penn, NYU, Chicago, oh my!
« on: January 28, 2008, 12:00:17 PM »
I guess I may be underestimating the Biglaw prestige difference between Penn and Columbia/NYU.  I could understand if the choice was between Harvard and Penn, but within the CCNP range they all seem broadly comparable for firm prospects to me.

This is wrong. Penn's prestige for Biglaw is substantially below that of Columbia / NYU, and arguably even Chicago.

Please go educate yourself: http://lawfirmaddict.blogspot.com/2007/03/vault-50-placement.html

In New York, Columbia arguably bests Harvard. Outside New York Columbia does substantially better than Penn. Follow the links on the right.

53
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia 1L taking questions
« on: January 28, 2008, 11:07:36 AM »
i am getting really surprisingly excited about CLS.

this is what we like to hear.  ;)

Yes, that is what we like to hear. I'm glad you're getting excited, Button -- I think you'd really like it here. I sympathize with the surprise, though. I felt the same way last Winter.

54
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia 1L taking questions
« on: January 28, 2008, 11:01:44 AM »
I have a bunch of questions now too (sorry about any repeats).
1) How does class rank work? I'd also like to know a little about the curve as well.
2) How safe is the area near the law school?
3) How would you all rate the quality of the faculty in terms of teaching ability? Did you generally have a positive 1L experience with them?
4) How hard is it to get a 1L firm job - either through OCI or mass mailing?
5) What's the social scene like? Do people go out/hang out after class or is CLS more of a commuter campus?
And lastly, what's the Sharp? I got the Hamilton in my letter, but I'm not sure what the Sharp is...
Thanks in advance for your feedback.  :)

I'll throw in my $0.02 on these.
1) There is no class rank. If you PM me, I'll give you the internal document Columbia distributes to 1Ls about the curve.

2) The area near the law school is generally safe. I would say that it is as safe as New Haven and Greater Cambridge (I have lived, for varying amounts of time, in both). Columbia's precinct has one of the lowest crime rates in all Manhattan (I think bottom 2).

3) I had an unbelievable experience with the faculty first semester. I had top-notch teaching profs who were also world-class researchers or practitioners. This semester it is a bit spottier; I love two of my profs and are less certain about the other two. But still high marks, and overall the teaching faculty is excellent.

4) 1L firm jobs depend on a huge range of variables, so it is hard to say. Statistically, 30% of the class gets them. From what I understand, the Hamilton should REALLY help. Your grades, and the market you apply in, will also matter. I do not have a firm job yet, but was late to the game (and do have some interviews lined up through OCI).

5) Social scene is awesome. Lots of people hang out together outside of class, but it is by no means mandatory. The class is big enough that there are quite a few social niches, but not too big that you can't know most of the class by the time you graduate. I am *really* happy with the social scene. There is also a huge range in the social scene, which I really like. Some nights we go out to a restaurant or bars around New York. Once a month my roommates and I throw a big house party which usually gets somewhere between 50-100 people to show up to my apartment (you *will* be invited if you come to CLS). But some weekends it can be low key and I just end up going to a movie and sitting around shooting the *&^% with friends. I'm going skiing with some CLS friends this weekend.

6) Sharp is a scholarship which may or may not be given out this year. 24 nominees, requires an interview. I was nominated but didn't get it. It gives full scholarship PLUS living expenses. If you were nominated, the letter would've come with your admit package (and you wouldn't be nominated for both that and the Hamilton).

55
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia 1L taking questions
« on: January 19, 2008, 10:27:06 AM »
Bump.

56
Incoming 1Ls / Re: How does your UG degree affect placement in top firms?
« on: January 15, 2008, 02:23:11 PM »
I didn't mean to bash on W&L, and perhaps pairing it with UVa law was a bad choice -- W&L it pretty prestigious south of the Mason-Dixon.

But in New York, LA, London, and to a lesser extent Chicago -- aka, the three (four) biggest legal markets -- W&L is decidedly second tier. This is mainly about perception of prestige on the part of hiring committees (and clients), not about how good a school actually is or how well you did there.

57
Incoming 1Ls / Re: How does your UG degree affect placement in top firms?
« on: January 14, 2008, 08:52:25 AM »
This question is almost ridiculous. Of course it matters.

Let's say a firm is looking at two UVA law students, both of whom are in the middle of the class and look otherwise comparable on paper. One has an UG from Princeton and the other from W&L. A firm would be stupid not to pick the Princeton kid first, barring other factors.

Now let's say you're looking at Wachtell. Two candidates both at the top of their class at Columbia, both law review, both interview well, but Harvard UG vs. UF undergrad (and I have nothing against UF). Again, barring something extraordinary, Harvard UG is probably first in line for that job.

Of course its a factor. It is one of many factors. Is it possible to go to Penn State, Harvard, and then Cravath? Sure. Is that Penn State degree going to work against you? Will you have to have done that much better at Harvard? You bet.

Looking through firm rosters is probably not the best way to get data, unless you restrict yourself only to young associates. There are too many other variables in partner lateral hiring as to make it useless.

The best tool here is common sense. I've been on the other side of the interview table, though in a business (not legal) context. Resumes are holistic, and all other things being equal (interview, fit, etc.) the stronger resume gets the job. Period.

58
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia 1L taking questions
« on: January 10, 2008, 10:00:48 AM »
Any generalizations we can make about Columbia based on your avatar? ;)

Ha. The 'tar predates CLS. It was the result of three years of prep school + four years in a demanding major at an ivy + a year of non-law grad-school.

Honestly, until about two weeks before exam time, CLS was a bit of a relief...

59
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia 1L taking questions
« on: January 09, 2008, 03:05:44 PM »
People call them ASWs but IIRC last year Chicago, Boalt, Columbia, and NYU all had them during the week -- think of them more as AS-Days rather than AS-Weekends.

Last year Columbia was Wednesday night / all day Thursday, and NYU was on Friday (for both sets of days). This made it substantially easier.

But yeah, plan on taking a few days off from work. If you are coming from afar, the consolation is that mid-week flights = cheaper.

HTH.


60
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Columbia 1L taking questions
« on: January 03, 2008, 04:47:52 PM »
First post, woohoo!  :D
Thanks in advance! (btw, the Columbia 2010 thread here is very impressive, nice work guys. great cliffhanger there at the start of 1L...)

1) How're the federal judicial clerkships distributed? (Top 10% of class has a shot? Top 50%, weighing soft facors more? etc)
2) What's everyone doing/trying to do the summer after 1L? (How much impact do grades have on this?)
3) Was your ASW representative of the 1L experience in general? Or did they lie to you...
4) I'm headed over there to visit this weekend, any food places that come highly recommended? (and won't cost me an arm+leg?) Any good bars w/ a good happy hour rate? I'd usually use yelp.com, but I figure you guys would know best  ;)
5) Anywhere else I can/should visit when I'm there?

I want in too!  :)

Thanks for the nice work comment on the 2010 thread... What else was I supposed to do during the last month of my job?

My $0.02 on your questions...
1) Schizer has put in a HUGE push for clerkships. On the student level, this means he encourages us to seek them out at pretty much ever opportunity. I've heard that on the faculty level this has translated into him pressuring faculty to be more proactive about picking up the phone and advocating for students -- which is the single most important thing in getting an interview with a judge. Remember that there is HUGE variability among circuits and districts for how competitive it is. Outside of the 2nd and 9th I'd guess that top 30% is probably competitive for an interview (you will probably need at least one journal). Top 50% is probably competitive in any district other than SDNY. I've been told (by 3Ls) that they key in clerkships is getting the interview; from there on out, everybody pretty much has an equal chance -- but, of course, it varies from judge to judge.

2) I'm trying to do a whole slew of things -- I've put firm letters in the mail and I'm applying for some very targeted government and judicial jobs (USDA in ED and SDNY; Manhattan DA; NYC Corporation Counsel).

3) My ASW was entirely representative of life at Columbia. It was the single greatest factor in my decision to attend, and I have not been disappointed.

4) For the best food in Morningside Heights, trek over to A Restaurant and Wine Room. http://arestaurantandwineroom.com/. I think it runs about $30 for two courses, and is BYOB. If you are looking for (relatively) cheap eats, try either The Heights or Deluxe, both on Broadway.

5) The list of things to see in NYC is long, but while you are up around
Columbia I would take a look inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, at 112th and Amsterdam. World's largest Cathedral, and world's third-largest Christian church (behind St. Peter's and the Hagia Sophia). It's still under construction / renovation, but you can get to the transept and get a sense of its size. This Jew finds it amazing and well worth half an hour. Plus entrance is free!

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