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Columbia University (Columbia Law School)




One of the first law schools established in the United States, Columbia Law School is internationally renowned as a leading center of legal scholarship with a deep commitment to teaching and professional training. The Juris Doctor (J.D.) program is offered only on a full-time basis, requiring three years of study. The academic year, comprising two semesters, extends from mid-August through mid-May. There are no evening or summer study programs available.

As the largest of Columbia Law School's degree programs, there are approximately 1,200 J.D. students enrolled across all three years of study. Each August, about 365 women and men enter our community as first-year students, and approximately 45 enter our second-year class as transfer students. By all measures, Columbia stands as one of America's most highly selective law schools. Our student body is distinguished by being one of the most talented and culturally diverse in the world.

A compelling reason to study law at Columbia is the opportunity to learn with the exceptional individuals who comprise its community. In selecting its students and appointing its faculty, Columbia chooses men and women with extraordinary intellectual gifts and outstanding academic credentials.

During the past decade, a period marked by significant changes in the demand for legal education, Columbia continues to attract one of the very largest and most highly qualified applicant pools in the country. As evaluated by the principal criteria used to measure admissions selectivity -- application volume, acceptance rates, yield ratios (the percentage of accepted applicants choosing to enroll), median LSAT scores, and undergraduate performance -- Columbia continues to stand among the most highly selective law schools in the United States. Columbia has also renewed its intellectual excellence by recruiting outstanding teachers and scholars from other leading law schools, the legal profession, and other university faculties such as philosophy and economics. In selecting students and faculty, however, Columbia has long considered it essential to go beyond outstanding academic credentials. One would be hard pressed to identify a leading law school more diverse than Columbia.

With a truly national and increasingly international student body (representing more than 230 colleges and universities and hailing from 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 44 countries); with more students of color than other leading law schools and approximately half of its students women; with two-thirds of its entering law students returning to school from a wide range of professional experiences; and with a student community noted for its religious and political diversity, Columbia is a distinctive place to learn law.

Younger Columbia law students are the cream of their college graduating classes. Older students are accomplished professionals across a wide range of fields -- the arts, sciences, publishing, politics, human rights, banking, to name but a few. Columbia attracts students from every conceivable place and background: the industrial corridors and Ivy halls of the Northeast, the small towns, farms, and suburbs of the Midwest and South, the inner cities of America, and the far reaches of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The mixture of interests and experiences found in the Columbia J.D. student body is enriched further by the presence of foreign-trained lawyers, drawn to Columbia from around the world, from both civil and common law traditions. Many of these candidates for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree have held important positions in their countries' governments, corporations, or in political or human rights organizations. They provide an intellectual cross-fertilization with J.D. students that adds an international dimension to a Columbia Law School education.

Columbia's faculty members value the diverse backgrounds of their students, as well as their formidable academic skills. Like the best students, outstanding faculty want to be challenged by perspectives and experiences other than their own.

Columbia Law School is justifiably world renowned as a leader in scholarly research and a trailblazer in the development and application of legal theories and principles. In both traditional and emerging fields of law, Columbia professors are at the forefront of developing and interpreting legal issues and precedents of great consequence to society. But the Law School's overriding commitment continues to be as a teaching institution.

Faculty members, including the most senior professors, are accessible to students within and beyond the classroom. And a considerable portion of a student's learning at Columbia takes place on a small scale. At least one substantive course in the first semester is limited to approximately 30-35 students. During their upperclass years, students choose from a broad array of small seminars (numbering about 125), averaging 14 students. The student-faculty ratio is even lower in the Law School's clinics, with one faculty member for every eight to twelve students. Beyond the classroom, students work with professors as research assistants, participating in theoretical and practical endeavors that advance legal scholarship and the practice of law.

The School also makes special efforts to bring first-year students (1Ls) together socially. In addition to orientation activities, the academic year begins with a dinner for 1Ls and faculty members. Faculty advisors take first-year students out to dinner or lunch in the fall. And throughout the year, students gather in small groups with faculty for receptions at the dean's home and for breakfasts with prominent alumni/ae.

Columbia also supports the development of community within the student body. Students work in teams on classroom and extracurricular projects. There is a wide variety of publications, clubs, and interest groups to join, and students organize study groups for mutual support and learning. And, while celebrating individual achievement, the School does not issue class rankings; all graduates of Columbia are considered highly qualified to enter the legal profession.

Unlike the legal profession of just a generation or two ago, the world in which lawyers now practice is a professional global village. Some of the major changes in the past decade include increased internationalization, technological progress, and the continuing movement in value creation toward intellectual property. Columbia Law School's response to such societal changes springs from its long-standing commitment to constant evolution and responsible innovation -- to offering educational opportunities and producing important scholarship in fields of interest to every person with a passionate intellectual interest in the law, and in how law affects our society.

The men and women of Columbia Law School do not see themselves as detached observers of events or as caretakers of the status quo. Fired by a sense of pride and a spirit of service, they consider themselves to be hands-on participants in building legal systems and social organizations that protect justice and promote opportunity for all. Throughout its history, Columbia has encouraged its students and faculty to mold the law, not merely convey it. The convictions of our graduates are reflected in the contributions they have made -- not only to the legal profession, but also to government and politics, business, education, philanthropy, and the arts -- shaping culture and human progress throughout the world.

The Faculty at Columbia Law School is among the finest anywhere. Faculty members are committed to serious scholarship, and their work is at the forefront of developments in such areas as constitutional law, corporate and securities law, critical race theory, gender studies, human rights and public interest law, intellectual property law, international and comparative law, jurisprudence, law, science, and technology, legal history and the philosophy of law, as well as many other areas. Columbia professors use their skill to stimulate students to think for themselves and to help students make their own original contributions to legal scholarship. There are many opportunities for students and faculty members to collaborate on research and to engage frequently in an informal sharing of ideas. The intellectual environment of the Law School is indeed a rich and creative one.

Worthy successors to earlier architects of American law teach at Columbia today. Prominent among them are legal scholars who have influenced the development of international law. Professor Louis Henkin, for example, pioneered the development of comparative constitutionalism, a field bridging constitutional law, international law, foreign affairs, and human rights.

Columbia faculty members are also advancing the frontiers of knowledge in intellectual property law, corporate law, feminist jurisprudence, and critical race theory. Among a network of scholars pursuing intellectual property issues posed by new technologies is Professor Jane Ginsburg, co-author of the casebooks Cases and Materials on Copyright and Trademark and Unfair Competition Law, and author of numerous articles. Her colleague, Harold Edgar, Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science, and Technology, served on the UNESCO Committee on Bioethics, a group charged with creating ethical and legal guidelines for the use of human genome technology.

The Arthur W. Diamond Law Library is one of the most comprehensive law libraries in the world. At its core are more than a million volumes and volume equivalents, and subscriptions to more than 7,450 journals and other serials. Those resources alone make it one of the best libraries in the world. But the Diamond Library is much more than its collections. The reference librarians are unsurpassed in skill and knowledge and are dedicated to making each student an expert in legal research. The development staff makes sure that key works from all over the world are added to the collection as they become available. The technical services staff ensures that records for these materials are in the computer catalog and on the shelves as quickly as possible. Columbia's massive collection is complemented by service of the highest quality.

The Library is also extremely conscious of its role as a place where the faculty and students can work comfortably and efficiently. Most of the study carrels are designed for legal research, a little larger than the standard carrel, and with a power source for laptops. Virtually all of the library's space is within range of a wireless network node. This makes the integration of paper-based and computer-based research especially facile.

The range of materials held in the Library is enormous. It contains the statutes, cases, and administrative codes from each of the 50 states. It is a depository for U.S. government and United Nations documents. It has books from more than 100 countries written in more than 80 languages. The international law collection is outstanding and includes one of the best collections of Japanese law outside Japan. The rare books archive contains a very rare manuscript from the 13th century of Bracton's De Legibus, which is one of the first texts written on English law.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Diamond Law Library provides access to documents on the Web the day they are written. For documents not within the Library's walls, interlibrary loan service is highly personalized and effective.

The Diamond Law Library is one of the key reasons that Columbia Law School is an extraordinary place to learn the law: a resource that not only supports the formal teaching program but which allows students to develop their own course of study.

The Office of Career Services coordinates legal employment resources and provides professional counsel to students as they formulate career decisions. Columbia's career program is one of the largest and most successful in the country. For example, 97 percent of the Class of 2004 was employed by graduation and 99 percent within nine months after graduation. Virtually all members of the class had found their preferred form of employment, in the geographic area of their choice. Most noteworthy is that two-thirds of the 2004 class reported that they were commencing their legal career with their

Columbia law students benefit in innumerable ways from their immersion in the vibrancy of one of the world's most important cities. New York is the world's center of law practice. The sophistication and expertise of its practitioners not only add resources to the Law School, but also make available a wide variety of career choices to those who remain in the city and become part of a career-expanding background for those graduates choosing to live and work elsewhere. New York is also the world capital of publishing, international finance, culture, the arts, and communications. Yet as an urban center, it is representative of the many problems, hopes, challenges, and opportunities facing individuals and societies around the world.

As such, New York provides a vast living laboratory for students' personal and professional growth. Living and studying in New York, students find their intellectual assumptions and cultural preferences examined and challenged as never before.

Columbia law students do not learn in a vacuum. They see legal theories tested and validated in the halls of the United Nations, in the offices of human rights organizations, in the conference rooms of leading corporations. The world's most accomplished litigators, corporate lawyers, judges, legal scholars, human rights advocates, and international political figures are part of the fabric and daily life of the city, and many are familiar figures at Columbia Law School as adjunct teachers, visiting scholars, and lecturers.With their many strengths and abilities, Columbia law students contribute to the life of New York City as much as they draw from it. The Law School actively encourages students to delve into the surrounding metropolis and contribute their talents to the city through internships, clinics, and pro bono work and community service. The School maintains an extensive network of support systems for these activities.

Beyond the study and practice of law, New York City offers unparalleled opportunities for personal growth, enrichment, and just plain fun. This is a city of mind-boggling scope and variety, where 80 languages are spoken and where an Italian deli, an Ethiopian restaurant, and a Chinese noodle shop share the same block. It is a city with hundreds of museums, art galleries, and theaters. Music lovers can choose from formal venues such as Lincoln Center to clubs in Greenwich Village to improvisational jazz in Central Park. For sports enthusiasts, whether athletes or fans, the city provides an exciting array of opportunities for exercise, competition, and enjoyment. And much of what the city offers is available to students at reduced or no cost and is but a brief bus or subway ride away.

New York City attracts a certain type of person -- one who is curious, adventurous, and open to new challenges and experiences. And Columbia Law School abounds with this type of individual -- students and teachers who are independent, energetic, open-minded, eager to be nourished by the variety of life in the world's greatest city.

The breadth and depth of the curricular offerings at Columbia Law School are exceedingly vast and uniquely robust with respect to many of the most compelling areas of interest in legal scholarship.

The Faculty of Law believes it to be of primary educational importance for Columbia law students to acquire the perspective offered through some intensive study of legal questions detached from the existing rules and the immediate problems of contemporary law in the United States. Further essential to the education of a well-rounded lawyer is a grasp of the historical antecedents of our present legal system, awareness of alternative approaches to legal problems adopted by other societies, and insight into the ultimate purposes and theory of law.



School name:Columbia UniversityColumbia Law School
Address:435 West 116th St.
Zip & city:NY 10027-7297 New York
Phone:212-854-2640
Web:http://www.law.columbia.edu
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