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w. <IT>www.law.columbia.edu<RO>

School of Law

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In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and S.J.D. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 10 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./ M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.A., M.Phil., or P (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy), J.D./M.F.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in theater arts), J.D./M.I.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of International Affairs), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.P.H. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in journalism or urban planning), and J.D./M.S.W. (Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work).

The School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, entertainment law, environmental law, family law, international law, labor law, litigation, media law, securities law, sports law, tax law, torts and insurance, constitutional law, human rights law, labor law, history and philosophy of law, health care and the law, and education law. Clinics such as child advocacy, law and the arts, environmental law, human rights, lawyering in the digital age, mediation, nonprofit organizations/small business, and prisoners and families offer client-based experiences to upper-class students for 5 to 7 points. 130 seminars are offered annually in such areas as Constitutional Law, Corporate Law, and Human Rights for 2 points (generally). Admission to a seminar is by lottery. Additional training through internships is available through arrangements with city agencies and consumer advocacy groups; clerkships with criminal, appellate, and federal court judges; and the pro bono service requirement. Research may be done as part of the legal writing requirement. Credit may be earned in journal work, independent, or supervised research. Law school lectures regularly bring leading figures from business, politics, entertainment, and areas of the law and judiciary to Columbia. Columbia established a Dean’s Breakfast Series in which distinguished alumni from the law school come and meet informally with small groups of students. There is a 4-year double degree program with the University of Paris, giving students a J.D. and Maitrise en Droit; a 3-year J.D./D.E.S.S. with the Institut d’Etudes Politique Sciences, a 4-year program with the University of London, giving students a J.D. and LL.B., a 3-year program with the University of London where students receive a Columbia J.D. and University of London LL.M., and a 3-year program with the Institute for Law and Finance (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt) where students receive a Columbia J.D. and Institute for Law and France LL.M. Moreover, there are semester abroad programs in Argentina France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, and Switzerland. Students may also elect to initiate a study abroad program in additional countries. The most widely taken electives are Corporations, Federal Income Taxation, and Evidence.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 83 total credits, of which 35 are for required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Critical Legal Thought, Foundation of the Regulatory State, Foundation Year Moot Court, Law and Contemporary Society, Law and Economics, Law and Social Science, Lawyering Across Multiple Legal Orders, Legal Methods and Legal Writing and Research, Legislation, Property, The Rule of Law: perspectives on Legal Thought, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of a minimum of 2 writing credits earned, a pro bono service requirement (40 hours in second and third years), and Profession of Law (focusing on professional ethics). Clinics are electives. The required orientation program for first-year students lasts 2 days and starts before the Legal Methods course begins. Topics covered include student services, law school and university administrative matters, computer training, and financial aid information. Several social events for students and faculty take place on campus and around New York City.

In order to graduate, candidates must have completed the upper-division writing requirement and satisfied degree requirements (including pro bono service) and a course in professional responsibility and ethics in the third year.


In the fall 2007 first-year class, 8020 applied, 1143 were accepted, and 378 enrolled. Figures in the above capsule and in this profile are approximate. Forty-eight transfers enrolled in a recent year. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 99; the median GPA was 3.67 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 50; the highest was 99.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a non refundable application fee, and 2 letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is December through April. Check with the school for current application deadlines. The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

In a recent year, about 79% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, was $47,000; maximum, $65,000. Awards are based on need as are financial aid grants; a small number of merit-based awards are also offered. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and Need Access application. Check with the school for current application deadlines. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.


About 45% of the student body are women; 30%, minorities; 10%, African American; 18%, Asian American; 7%, Hispanic; and 7%, international students. The majority of students come from New York (20%). The average age of entering students is 24. About 33% of students enter directly from undergraduate school and 11% have a graduate degree.

Students edit the Columbia Law Review, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Columbia Journal of Transactional Law, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, American Review of International Arbitration, Columbia-VLA Journal of Law and the Arts, Columbia Business Law Review, Columbia Journal of Gender and the Law, Parker School Journal of East European Law, Columbia Journal of European Law, Columbia Science and Technology Law Review, and National Black Law Journal. Students also edit the newspaper Columbia Law School News and the yearbook Pegasus. The Moot Court Committee sponsors the Harlan Fiske Stone Honor Competition and the Jerome Michael Jury Trials. Students also participate, with distinction, in the Jessup International Moot Court Competition. Other competitions include the Frederick Douglass National Competition and Native American Law Students Moot Court Competition. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include Columbia Law School Women’s Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Columbia Workers’ Rights Coalition, Society for Chinese Law, Civil Rights Society, Environmental Law Society, Columbia Society of International Law, American Civil Liberties Union, Federalist Society, and National Lawyers Guild.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is no summer session. Transferable summer courses are not offered.

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