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Columbia Law School

From lawbrain.com

Columbia Law School is located in the heart of New York City. Renowned as a premier school of legal education, Columbia Law School is deeply committed to teaching and professional training.



Columbia Law School is located in New York City, New York. Founded in 1858, it has a long and storied history as an elite institution of legal education. Today, Columbia Law School continues its tradition of high-end education through a combination of high standards, numerous academic offerings, and knowledgeable faculty.

Columbia Law School offers three different degree programs – J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. Approximately 1,200 students attend classes (across all levels of instruction) each year as full-time students. Columbia enrolls almost 380 new students each year, hailing from 48 states and 32 different foreign countries.[1]

Cost-wise, Columbia Law School forecasted tuition, fees, and costs (including books) to amount to $53,800 annually. Unfortunately, as New York City can be an expensive place to live, the estimated expenses for room, board, and personal expenses amounts to an additional $20,200 per year, for a grand total yearly cost of $74,000.[2]

In exchange for those costs and fees, Columbia Law School offers a competitive legal education consisting of challenging academic offerings. First year students, while taking required courses, are permitted to choose one elective course, setting Columbia apart from its peers. Second and third year students may of course select elective courses of their preference. Columbia Law School also offers ten different joint degree programs for students to pursue additional graduate degrees during their time at the school. Aside from courses and joint degrees, Columbia Law School plays host to over 40 different centers and programs of focused study on varying topics within the law. And students may also compete for the opportunity to work on one of fourteen student law journals Columbia Law Schools hosts.

Columbia also specializes in International and Comparative Law as well as Public Interest and Human Rights Law. Students interested in these disciplines can avail themselves of the centers, exchange programs, and clinics dedicated to these pursuits. Students who attend Columbia Law School can rest easier in terms of employment. Almost 99% of graduates were known to be employed by graduation with a median private sector salary of $160,000 and a median public sector salary of $54,000.[3]


Of course, rankings are vitally important to not only a school but also its students and alumni. Schools continually seek to improve their standing on the various lists and know that rankings are a big part of why students choose to attend a school. Students seek out highly-ranked schools to improve their employment prospects, and alumni appreciate graduating from schools with high rankings for their future career development. It also goes without saying that a high ranking often affords a certain amount of arrogance or even feelings of superiority over others, often assumed by schools, students, and graduates. As of this writing, Columbia is currently ranked 4th by U.S. News and World Report,[4] and 7th by Vault.com.[5]

What They Are Saying

Columbia Law School grads rarely have trouble passing the bar exam, with almost 95% passing on their first attempt.[6]Columbia was one of the top law schools sending a large number of its graduates (over 55%) to Biglaw jobs.[7]


Though Columbia Law School continues to put up high employment figures, it came under scrutiny after its Career Services Office encouraged students to participate in the undergraduate school’s career fair in light of the bleak job market.[8]

Notable Professors

  • Eben Moglen
  • Patricia J. Williams
  • Lance Liebman
  • Jeffrey Fagan

Notable Alumni

  • United States President Theodore Roosevelt
  • United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


  1. http://www.law.columbia.edu/jd_applicants/aboutcls/studentbody
  2. http://www.law.columbia.edu/current_student/financial_aid/cost_billing
  3. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-school-03104
  4. http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/law-school-03104
  5. http://www.vault.com/wps/portal/usa/education/law-ranking
  6. http://www.top-law-schools.com/columbia-law-school.html
  7. http://abovethelaw.com/2011/03/best-law-schools-for-getting-a-biglaw-job-2011/#more-60520
  8. http://abovethelaw.com/2009/09/disturbing-message-about-the-legal-job-market-from-columbia-law-school/


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