Columbia Law School Profile, New York, New York |


Rank 5


435 West 116th Street
Mail Code 4004 New York, NY 10027-7297









Overview 4-6

Welcome to Columbia Law School, a place of ideas, innovation, and impact. Our location in New York City—the global hub of commerce, culture, and the law—offers truly unparalleled access that enriches and contextualizes our first-class legal training. Our home within one of the world’s preeminent universities allows our students and faculty to draw on and participate in the life of a rigorous and dynamic intellectual environment.

Columbia Law School is renowned for the intellectual rigors of its curriculum and the groundbreaking scholarship of its faculty. Our mission of teaching and research serves the world at large and instills in our students a cosmopolitan worldview that prepares them to be exceptionally capable, ethical, and resourceful leaders. Drawing unparalleled strength from the vast interdisciplinary resources of our distinguished research university—and the global stage that is our New York City location—our students complete their legal training ready to engage the world’s most challenging issues across borders, jurisdictions, subject matters, sectors, and industries. Our training includes J.D., LL.M., and J.S.D. programs.

Student-Faculty Ratio 7


Admission Criteria 8

25th-75th Percentile 168-174 3.56-3.81
Median 172 3.70

Director of admissions Nkonye Iwerebon
Application deadline February 15

The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the 2016 entering class.

Admission Statistics 9

Approximate number of applications 5,877
Number accepted 1,191
Percentage accepted 20.3%

The above admission details are based on 2016 data.

Law School Cost 10

Tuition and fees Full-time: $65,260 per year
Room and board $17,738
Books $1,575
Miscellaneous expenses $4,000

Class Ranking and Grades 11

  • 3.1 Letter Grades
  • 3.2 Academic Standing
  • 3.3 Satisfactory Progress
  • 3.4 Disclosure of Grades

3.1 Letter Grades:

3.1.1 The Law School uses an alphanumerical grading system to evaluate students' performance. In a timely manner, professors/instructors shall assign one of the following final grades to each student registered in his or her courses, which shall be reflected in the student's academic transcript: A (with plus and minus designations), B (with plus and minus designations), C, F, CR when so approved by the Curriculum Committee, or W in accordance with Rule 1.2.7.

3.1.2 Any student may, at any time, request that he or she be graded on the basis of Credit–Fail. In such event, the student’s performance in every offering is graded in accordance with the standards outlined above, and the grades entered on the student’s permanent transcript; but the transcript released to the student, or to others at the student’s request, shall contain no grades other than Credit (for all passing grades) and Fail. A student electing this option may revoke it at any time prior to graduation and receive or request a copy of his or her transcript with grades recorded in accordance with the above. In all cases, the transcript received or requested by the student shall show, on a cumulative basis, all of the grades of the student presented in a single format—i.e., all grades shall be in accordance with those set forth above, or all grades shall be stated as Credit or Fail.

3.1.3 Credits which appear on a student’s transcript with the grade W shall not count toward that student’s GPA or eligibility for the receipt of academic honors, as set forth in Rule 3.2.3.

3.2 Academic Standing:

3.2.1 Kent Scholar. A student shall be named a Kent Scholar, in recognition of outstanding academic achievement.

3.2.2 Stone Scholar. A student shall be named a Stone Scholar, in recognition of superior academic performance.

3.3 Satisfactory Progress:

3.2.3 No student shall be named a Kent or Stone scholar for any academic year that does not include at least 15 graded Law School points. Only grades in Law School offerings are calculated in the award of honors. Any course for which a student received the grade of W will not count toward graduation credit, the award of honors, or the student’s GPA.

3.3 Satisfactory Progress:

A student is expected to make satisfactory progress toward fulfillment of the requirements for the J.D. degree.

3.4 Disclosure of Grades:

Except with the consent of the student, a student’s transcript shall not be made available to anyone except the student and members of the faculty and administration of the School of Law. Where a student elects to be graded on a Credit-Fail basis, no one shall have access to the transcript containing the original grades awarded except the administrative personnel in the Dean’s Office and the Registrar’s Office responsible for entering grades. The student’s file available to the administration and faculty shall contain a transcript limited to grades of Credit and Fail.

Honors 12

James Kent Scholars

Established in 1923 by the Faculty of Law, in memory of James Kent who, in 1793, became the first Professor of Law at Columbia College, and was an inspiration for the establishment of legal education at Columbia. Awarded in recognition of outstanding academic achievement by students in each of the three classes.

A student shall be named a Kent scholar if during an academic year the student has earned at least 15 graded law credits toward his or her degree, and in that year either 1) has achieved a grade point average of 3.800, or 2) has received grades all or all but one of which are A+, A, or A- (the exception being no lower than B), and, if the lowest grade is put aside, at least half of which are A or A+. Only law credits are used to calculate honors. No one will receive honors for a year which includes a grade of “Incomplete.”

Harlan Fiske Stone Scholars

Established in 1946 by the Faculty of Law, in memory of Harlan Fiske Stone, Law 1898, Lecturer in Law 1899-1903, Adjunct Professor of Law 1903-1905, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law 1910-1924, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 1925-1941, and Chief Justice of the United States 1941-1946. Awarded in recognition of superior academic achievement by students in each of the three classes.

A student shall be named a Stone scholar if during an academic year the student has earned at least 15 graded law credits toward his or her degree, the student has received no grade lower than B-, and the student’s academic average for the year is at or above 3.410. Only law credits are used to calculate honors. No one will receive honors for a year which includes a grade of "Incomplete."

Awards 13

Name of Award Awarded for/to
Charles Bathgate Beck Prize Established in 1899 under the will of Charles Bathgate Beck, Law 1879. Awarded annually to a first-year student submitting the best examination paper in the course relating to the law of real property.
David M. Berger Memorial Prize Established in 1973 in memory of David M. Berger ’69. The Prize honors the memory of Wolfgang Friedmann, professor of international law from 1955 to 1972, and is awarded annually to a third-year student interested in international law and world peace.
Harold Brown Book Prize Established in 1985 by family and friends of Harold Brown ’27, in his honor. Awarded annually, for the purchase of books, to two or more needy first-year students who attended Columbia College.
Class of 1912 Prize Established in 1937 as the 25th anniversary gift of the Class of 1912. The Prize, which consists of books selected by the winner with the Dean’s approval, is awarded annually to the first-year student most proficient in the subject of contracts.
Milton B. Conford Book Prize in Jurisprudence Established in 1984 in honor of the Hon. Milton B. Conford ’31, by his clerks. The Prize, which consists of books in the field of jurisprudence to be selected by the winner, is awarded annually to the student who writes the best examination paper or essay on jurisprudence.
E. B. Convers Prize Established in 1906 by Alice and Clara B. Convers, in memory of their brother, E. B. Convers, Law 1866. Awarded annually to the member of the graduating class who writes the best original essay on a legal subject.
Archie O. Dawson Prize Established in 1965 in memory of the Hon. Archie O. Dawson ’23. Awarded annually for proficiency in advocacy. The recipient is afforded an opportunity to study for several weeks at various courts in the federal system, including the Supreme Court of the United States.
Wilfred Feinberg Prize Fund Established in 1997 in honor of Judge Feinberg '40 Columbia College, '43 Law, by his former clerks. Awarded annually to the law student who does the best work in an area related to the work of federal courts.
Alfred S. Forsyth Prize Established in 1986 in memory of Alfred S. Forsyth ’31. Awarded annually to an outstanding student in the field of environmental law who, in the judgment of the School, has demonstrated qualities of intellect and selfless dedication to the advancement of environmental law.
Andrew D. Fried Memorial Prize Established in memory of Andrew D. Fried ’84. Awarded annually for the best student essay on a subject in the field of intellectual property and related law published in the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts during the preceding year.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg Prize Established in 2011. Awarded annually to J.D. degree candidates who earned James Kent academic honors for outstanding academic achievement for all three years (1L, 2L, and 3L).
Walter Gellhorn Prize Established in 1994. Awarded annually to the LL.M. candidate graduating with the highest academic average.
Lawrence S. Greenbaum Prize Established in 1951 by family and friends, in memory of Lawrence S. Greenbaum ’12. Awarded annually to the student who has made the best oral presentation in the final argument of the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court Competition.
Carroll G. Harper Prize Established in 1983, in memory of Carroll G. Harper ’52. Awarded annually to the member of the graduating class who has attained the highest standards of achievement in intellectual property studies and writing.
Paul R. Hays Prize Established in 1983 by family, friends, and associates, in memory of Paul R. Hays ’33, member of the Faculty of Law from 1936 to 1971; United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit from 1961 to 1980. Awarded annually to an outstanding first-year student in civil procedure.
Pauline Berman Heller Prize Fund Established in 1995 as a gift of Harry Heller and family (’29C, ’33L) in memory of wife and mother Pauline Berman Heller (’34L). Income to support a prize awarded annually to the highest ranked graduating female law student.
Irell and Manella Prize Established in 2004 by Irell and Manella LLP. Awarded annually to a first-year law student who demonstrates outstanding leadership, academic excellence, and good citizenship within the community. In addition, the Prize equally funds a student organization at Columbia Law School, chosen by the Prize recipient, to support that organization's activities as well as the Dean's Discretionary Fund for purposes consistent with the objectives of the Prize, such as supporting special funding needs of student activities and organizations.
Robert Stephen Haft Moot Court Prize Established in 1962 and awarded to the first-year student who submits the best brief in Moot Court competition.
Richard J. Lipson and Paul S. Lipson Prize in Contracts Established in 1998 under the will of Richard J. Lipson '73 in honor of Paul S. Lipson '38. Awarded annually to two, first-year law students showing the greatest proficiency in the subject of contracts.
Allan Morrow Sexuality and Gender Law Prize Established in 2007 in memory of Allan Morrow, a successful entrepreneur who gave generously of his time and resources to secure justice and equality for gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, and for people with HIV/AIDS. The prize is awarded annually upon graduation from the Law School to a student or students who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the furtherance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.
Jane Marks Murphy Prize Established in 1952, in memory of Jane Marks Murphy ’48. Awarded annually to a student who displays exceptional interest and proficiency in advocacy in clinical offerings.
John Ordronaux Prize Established in 1908 by the bequest of John Ordronaux, Professor of Medical Jurisprudence from 1860 to 1897. Awarded annually to a J.D. degree candidate of at least one year’s standing for general proficiency in legal study. The prize usually recognizes the student who has achieved the highest academic average in each graduating class.
Outstanding Student Award The Clinical Legal Education Association presents the Outstanding Student Award to a student nominated by the faculty of Columbia Law School for excellence in clinical fieldwork based on the high quality of representation provided clients and for outstanding participation in an accompanying clinical seminar as determined by exemplary thoughtfulness and self-reflection in exploring pertinent legal and lawyering issues.
Edwin Parker Prize Established in 2011. Awarded annually to students who excelled in the study of international or comparative law, as nominated by members of the faculty and selected by the Columbia Law School professor who is director of the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law.
The Michael D. Remer Memorial Award Established in 2012 as a gift by Cowan, Debaets, Abrahams & Sheppard, LLP. Awarded annually and presented by the Kernochan Center to a graduating student whose activities and academic achievements demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for the fields of arts and copyright law.
Simon H. Rifkind Prize Fund Established in 1996 as a gift by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in honor of one of the firm’s founding partners, Simon H. Rifkind ’25. Awarded for the best overall performance in the first year moot court program at Columbia Law School.
Samuel I. Rosenman Prize Established in 1978, in memory of Samuel I. Rosenman ’19, by his partners in the firm of Rosenman & Colin. Awarded annually to a student who has completed two years of study at the School of Law, during which he or she has demonstrated academic excellence in public law courses and outstanding qualities of citizenship and leadership in the Law School, or activities related to the Law School in the University community.
Emil Schlesinger Labor Law Prize Established in 1975 by the Schlesinger family, in honor of Emil Schlesinger ’24. Awarded annually to the student most proficient in the subject of labor law.
Whitney North Seymour Medal Established in 1971 in honor of Whitney North Seymour ’23. Awarded annually to the student who shows greatest promise of becoming a distinguished trial advocate.
Young B. Smith Prize Established in 1953 by R. C. Leffingwell ’02, in honor of Young B. Smith ’12, Dean of the Faculty of Law from 1927 to 1952 and Chancellor Kent Professor of Law from 1930 to 1958. Awarded annually to the first-year student most proficient in the law of torts.
Special Honors for Outstanding Performance in a Class Prize Established in 2011 by the Faculty of Law, the prize is awarded to recognize the single best student in a class with enrollment of 30 or more students. The prize is awarded at the instructor’s discretion, and the instructor is free to choose whether to award the prize in a given course or a given semester.
Robert Noxon Toppan Prize Established in 1878 by Robert Noxon Toppan, Law 1861. Awarded annually to the student in the School of Law who submits the best written examination to the professor of Constitutional law.
Valentin J.T. Wertheimer Prize in Labor Law Established in 1980 by the family of Val Wertheimer ’50. Awarded annually to a Law School student whose work demonstrates the most creative, thoughtful approach to labor law, equal employment law, public or private sector collective bargaining, labor conflict resolution, or employment security.
Jeffrey Williams Memorial Prize for Critical Rights Analysis Established in 2007 in memory of Jeffrey Williams (2002 College, 2005 Law). Awarded annually to the student who writes the best paper in critical theory.

Journals 14-28

14 law journals, including many of the leading scholarly publications in their fields. Working on a law journal affords students the opportunity to participate actively in the scholarship and commentary central to the American legal culture and tradition.

The Columbia Business Law Review is the first legal periodical at a national law school to be devoted solely to the publication of articles focusing on the interaction of the legal profession and the business community. The review publishes three issues yearly. For each issue, student editors and staff members are integral to the production process, as they are responsible for both editing leading articles in business law and producing the journal’s student-written notes. Columbia Business Law Review is governed by an administrative board consisting of third-year student editors. The staff of the review consists of second-year law students selected on the basis of writing ability, academic performance during the first year of law school, and demonstrated interest in business law. Staff members assist in the substantive production of the review in addition to researching and writing a student note on a business-related topic developed with the assistance of a third-year editor. The note requirement and other responsibilities effectively train members to perform accurately both scholarly and practical legal research.

The Columbia Human Rights Law Review (HRLR) seeks to publish and distribute legal analysis and discussion of civil liberties and human rights under both international and domestic law. The HRLR believes that thoughtful discussion of human rights issues and broad dissemination of information about legal remedies for human rights violations promote human rights around the world. To this end, the HRLR has published a law review of scholarly articles and commentary covering domestic and international human rights issues since 1968. Due to the journal’s expansive view of human rights, HRLR articles cover a wide range of topics and are considered a valuable resource for academics and practitioners alike. In addition, the HRLR enjoys a wide circulation-our subscribers are individuals, institutions, human rights organizations, and libraries in over forty countries. By virtue of the breadth of HRLR articles, and the wide audience that is reached, the Human Rights Law Review has a truly profound impact on the field of human rights.

The Columbia Journal of Asian Law (CJAL) commenced publication in 1987 as the Columbia Journal of Chinese Law under the auspices of the Columbia University School of Law and the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law. At that time, the Journal provided a forum for legal practitioners and scholars from the People’s Republic of China, the United States, and elsewhere to discuss a broad range of issues relating to law in the PRC.

As Asia became increasingly integrated and legal issues increasingly cross-border in their impact, the Journal made the decision in 1996 to expand its geographical coverage to South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia. CJAL also includes a diverse array of legal subjects in areas of both public and private law and now has multiple decades of cutting edge articles on the latest legal developments in countries across Asia.

CJAL is a bi-annual, graduate-student run publication welcoming historical, comparative, and multi-disciplinary manuscripts covering legal issues in Asia as well as papers or notes examining the impact of rapidly changing legal regimes on specific areas of practice.

The Columbia Journal of Environmental Law was founded in 1972 with a grant from the Ford Foundation. The Journal is one of the oldest environmental law journals in the nation and is regarded as one of the preeminent environmental journals in the country. Our subscribers include law libraries, law firms, individuals, and federal, local, and state courts, as well as a significant international readership.

CJEL produces two print publications annually, along with a digital-only issue associated with the Journal’s Climate Change Symposium each spring. The publication process is managed by Columbia Law School students who are responsible for reviewing and editing articles, communicating with authors, managing subscriptions, and ultimately finalizing the materials for publication. In addition to featuring the scholarship of leading environmental lawyers and academics, CJEL encourages student writing and publishes student works through its note program. Published pieces cover a range of topics concerning diverse aspects of environmental law and policy.

The Columbia Journal of European Law CJEL is currently the #1 ranked and second most-cited journal in the world covering European law. CJEL publishes three print issues per year—Winter, Spring, and Summer—and contains articles exploring every dimension of European law. This includes the law of the European Union, law at the national or regional levels, as well as broader jurisprudential questions relevant to the development of law and legal institutions in Europe. The articles we publish cover a broad range of issues, including business law, intellectual property, human rights, and social problems, and are authored by leading academics and practitioners. Many articles are comparative in nature and directly relevant to the United States. Please follow this link if you would like to be considered for publication.

The Columbia Journal of Gender and Law is edited and published entirely by students at the Columbia University School of Law. The Journal publishes interdisciplinary works rooted in feminist inquiry with the aim of promoting dialogue, debate, and awareness that will broaden the very concept of feminism as one that critically engages multiple and varied forms of social hierarchy and power differentials and their relation to the law.

The Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems (JLSP), established in 1965, is one of the oldest legal publications at Columbia Law School. Since its founding, one of JLSP’s missions has been to remind its readers of the law’s responsibility to serve the public good. To that end, the journal emphasizes the sociological, economic, and political impact of legal issues. As a result, JLSP’s target audience includes not only judges and lawyers but also Congress, state legislatures, regulatory agencies, and members of the public.

JLSP is the only Columbia Law journal that is entirely student-written. Thus, members have an excellent chance to publish a Note. Because JLSP is a general interest journal covering the broad area of “law and social problems,” it is a forum for students interested in several legal areas, in a legal area not covered by any other journal, or uncertain about their particular area of interest. This general interest publication is valued in the legal community, as is reflected by JLSP’s numerous citations in the Supreme Court, courts of appeal, and district courts.

The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts is a quarterly, student-edited publication dedicated to up-to-date and in-depth coverage of legal issues involving the art, entertainment, sports, intellectual property, and communications industries. Founded in 1975, the Journal (ISSN: 1544-4848) is one of the most-cited periodicals devoted to arts law issues and features contributions by scholars, judges, practitioners, and students.

Published pieces have addressed topics including fine arts, music, theater, photography, film, arts funding, computer software, copyright, trademark, patent, unfair competition, antitrust, labor, contracts, rights of publicity, right of privacy, cultural property, arbitration, bankruptcy, First Amendment, and not-for-profit, as well as important symposia and the annual Horace S. Manges lecture.

The Columbia Journal of Race and Law (CJRL) strives to promote scholarship that examines issues surrounding racial and ethnic justice. We envision this work as a part of a collective effort progressing towards “a more perfect union.” CJRL is the newest addition to Columbia Law School’s rich tradition of scholarly publications. The Journal is an exciting and unique opportunity to deepen the discourse on race and the law both within Columbia as well as the broader legal community.

The Columbia Journal of Tax Law was founded to address the entire tax audience of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers in a single publication, a need that no other tax periodical currently meets. The Journal seeks to contribute meaningfully to the many pressing tax-related questions of our day. The Journal encourages tax experts to use this forum as a means of addressing cutting-edge tax issues.

Now in its fifty-fourth year, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law is the second oldest student-run international law journal in the nation. The Journal was founded in 1961 by the late Wolfgang Friedmann, one of Columbia’s most renowned international law professors, and today it is the second most cited journal at Columbia. Writings that appear in the Journal are regularly cited by academics, practitioners and courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

The Columbia Law Review is one of the world’s leading publications of legal scholarship. Founded in 1901, the Review is an independent nonprofit corporation that produces a law journal edited and published entirely by students at Columbia Law School. It is one of a handful of student-edited law journals in the nation that publish eight issues a year. The Review is one of the most widely distributed and cited law reviews in the country. It receives about 2,000 submissions per year and selects approximately 20–25 manuscripts for publication annually, in addition to student Notes. In 2008, the Review expanded its audience with the launch of an online supplement to its print issues. Columbia Law Review Online, formerly known as Sidebar, brings together a diverse group of legal scholars, practitioners, community leaders, and judges, into one forum for the discussion of pressing legal issues.

The Columbia Science and Technology Law Review (STLR) deals with the exciting legal issues surrounding science and technology, including the Internet, biotechnology, nanotechnology, telecommunications, and the implications of technological advances on traditional legal fields such as contracts, evidence, and tax. Recent articles have discussed the rise of facial recognition technology in society and in law enforcement, proposals for reclaiming federal spectrum, the proliferation of “drone” aircraft, robust notice and informed consent in spyware legislation, and whether criminal defendants should be permitted to offer genetic evidence of a predisposition to psychopathy.

The American Review of International Arbitration is a quarterly law review that publishes scholarly articles, commentaries on recent developments, case notes, and other materials relating to international arbitration. It is the only publication of its kind in the United States, and also one of the leading publications in the field internationally. International arbitration itself is a dynamic practice area of significant, ever-increasing importance due to the need for resolving commercial disputes in the expanding global economy.

Moot Court 29-30

Columbia Law School's broad range of moot court offerings provides students with exciting opportunities to sharpen their legal skills. First-year students are required to participate in either the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Moot Court Program or one of the approved, international moot court competitions. All second- and third-year students are invited to participate in the Harlan Fiske Stone Moot Court competition of the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison Moot Court Program. Upperclass students are also welcome to explore other external moot court competitions. Learn more about these opportunities below.

Jessup International Law Moot Court

Named after Columbia Professor Philip C. Jessup, this is the premier international moot court. The national/international competition is sponsored by the International Law Students Association in conjunction with the American Society of International Law, under rules prescribed by ILSA/ASIL. At Columbia, the Jessup team has been selected through a local competition organized by the previous year's team and publicized through the Columbia Society of International Law.. We have won the regional competition several times recently; in 2003 the CLS team won national/international competition and Nick Boeving received one of the oralist awards.

In 2006, Columbia's Jessup International Law Moot Court Team won both the national and international competition in the final rounds of arguments held in Washington, D.C. The Columbia team included Tracy Appleton, Seth Davis, Vincent Levy, Alka Pradhan, and Corey Whiting.

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court

The Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot is the world's leading law school competition in private international law. Every year thousands of students compete through written memos and oral rounds held in Vienna and at the sister moot in Hong Kong. Vis immerses students in a hypothetical but thoroughly practical dispute in international trade between private parties. Along the way, they learn much about commercial law and arbitration. Columbia's record of success at the Vis includes: First Place Team in 1994; Third Place Team and First Place Claimant's Memo in 2006; and Second Place Claimant's Memo in 2007. The team is run by student and alum coaches with the involvement of Professors George Bermann and Alejandro Garro. All Columbia Law students, including 1Ls and LLMs, are welcome to apply for the Vis team around the start of each school year. For more information, visit:

European Law Moot Court

The European Law Moot Court, founded in 1988, is the second largest international moot court competition in the world, and the largest and most prestigious in Europe. Each year, over 120 teams submit written pleadings for the competition. Teams from the European Union, Central and Eastern Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia participate in the competition. Each year the Regional Finals for the competition are held in four locations around the world. Past regional finals have been held in various cities such as Boston, Dublin, Ljubljana, Bratislava, Thessaloniki, Exeter, Vienna, Bruges, Maastricht, Stockholm, Toulouse, Lisbon, Parma, Copenhagen, Budapest, Warsaw, Durham, Tallinn, Tartu, Prague, Edinburgh, Toulouse, Uppsala, Florence, San Francisco, Basel, and Cologne. Columbia hosted the Regional Finals in 2010.

Clinical Programs 31-41

Students working under the close supervision of their clinical professors are encouraged to identify and pursue their own learning goals while providing essential representation to a wide range of clients.

The Columbia Law School clinical program has two additional goals. First, students are encouraged throughout their clinic experience to envision how legal institutions and practices can be reformed and reorganized to provide the best service to clients and the larger society. Second, clinic students provide pro bono service to clients who are unable to secure representation because of cost, the unpopularity of their causes, or the complexity of their problems.

Adolescent Representation Clinic: The Adolescent Representation Clinic (formerly the Child Advocacy Clinic) launched a project in 2006 to represent youth, ranging in age from 16 to 23, aging out of foster care or other institutional settings. Their issues extend across a broad spectrum of needs, including: housing and homelessness prevention; teen parenting; health and health benefits; income and support benefits; education, tuition, and financial aid benefits; financial planning; civil rights including LGBTQ issues; job training and career planning; and domestic violence.

Community Enterprise Clinic: Students in the Community Enterprise Clinic provide legal assistance to nonprofit organizations and small businesses that cannot pay market rates for legal services. The clinic is of special interest to those interested in community development, in learning to work with organizational clients, and in learning how to represent clients in transactions.

Environmental Law Clinic: Clinic students represent clients on a broad array of issues including clean water, wetlands preservation, endangered species, environmental justice, "smart growth," and clean air.

The students' work is key for the New York City metropolitan region and the United States overall as a nearly inexhaustible supply of environmental troubles is present. At the urban core and in outlying areas, communities face diverse challenges such as alarmingly high asthma rates, scarce open-space resources, brownfield redevelopment, and sprawl.

Human Rights Clinic: The Human Rights Clinic prepares students for lifelong careers in social justice advocacy around the globe. Through the Clinic, students join a community of advocates working to promote human rights and to recalibrate the global power imbalances that drive economic and political inequality, exploitation, threats to physical security, poverty, and environmental injustice. Through fact-finding, reporting, litigation, media engagement, advocacy, training, and innovative methods, the Clinic seeks to prevent abuse, advance respect for human rights, and promote accountability for violations. Embedded in the Clinic’s work is a commitment to the values of equality and mutual exchange in transnational partnerships; respect for rights-holder autonomy, voice, and power; and diversity, inclusion, full participation, and justice within the human rights field.

Immigrants' Rights Clinic: Immigration detention is at a historic, all-time high in the United States— approximately 400,000 immigrants cycle through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement system each year. The majority of these detainees face the deportation process alone because there is no right to counsel in immigration proceedings. The Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, led by Professor Elora Mukherjee, fills this void and provides critical legal services to some of the most vulnerable individuals caught in the system.

Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic: While many law schools now offer law-and-technology courses, Columbia University has pioneered the study of how technology affects the practice of law. Students in the clinic learn contemporary law practice through hands-on experience using the digital technologies that are reshaping the profession.

Challenging the Consequences of Mass Incarceration Clinic: Students visit clients in state and federal prisons, where they interview, counsel, and develop strategies. In collaboration with nonprofit organizations and small civil rights law firms and subject to the law student intern rules, clinic students litigate issues identified by the clients.

Mediation Clinic: The Mediation Clinic gives those students who may make mediation part of their professional lives a good start in terms of both skills and ethics. It helps students see the benefits and limitations of mediation and other dispute-resolution techniques so that they can responsibly counsel clients about their choices; it helps students understand how feelings, background values, and personal style affect performance in a professional role; and it provides quality assistance to parties whose disputes the clinic mediates.

Incarceration and the Family Clinic: The clinic informs people in prison about their parental rights and responsibilities and the ways in which they can advocate effectively for themselves. The clinic also provides advocacy to people who have been released from prison, as well as their family members, to help them achieve reunification.

Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic: These resources, and more, are all produced by Columbia Law Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic students who spend a semester or more in the clinic's intensive learning and working environment. Here, they hone lawyering and advocacy skills while working directly on cutting-edge sexuality and gender law issues and providing vital assistance to lawyers and organizations throughout the country and the world that advocate for the equality and safety of women and lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender individuals.

Placement Facts 42

Starting Salaries (2015 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $160,000
Private sector - Median $160,000
Public service – Median $55,000

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 87.2%
Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation 89.6%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 77.7%
Business and Industry 3.5%
Government 5.2%
Public Interest Organizations 6.7%
Judicial Clerkships 6.7%
Academia 0.2%
Unknown 0%



Social Justice Initiatives has the primary responsibility for the creation and the oversight of externships at Columbia Law School. Many graduates emphasize that externships—as well as clinics and practice seminars—were essential to their preparation for becoming excellent lawyers.

At Columbia Law School, an externship consists of a seminar that in most cases meets once a week, and a field experience at an NGO or government office that is closely related to the seminar. The seminars are taught by adjunct professors who are leading practicing attorneys, and the field placements usually are at their workplace. In most instances, the seminar leader also supervises the work of the students. In other cases, the seminar leader places the students with other supervisors in his or her office.

List of externships offered during that term:

Fall 2017

  • Arts Law Externship
  • Bronx Defenders Holistic Defense Externship
  • Community Defense Externship
  • Copyright Dispute Resolution Externship
  • Criminal Appeals Externship
  • Domestic Violence Prosecution Externship
  • Federal Appellate Court Externship
  • Federal Court Clerk Externship: Southern District of New York
  • Federal Court Clerk Externship: Eastern District of New York
  • Externship on the Federal Government in Washington D.C.
  • Federal Prosecution Externship: U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
  • Immigration Defense Externship
  • Low-Wage Worker Externship
  • New York Attorney General's Role in Social and Environmental Justice
Spring 2017

  • Arts Law Externship
  • Bronx Defenders Holistic Defense Externship
  • City & State Policy Advocacy Externship
  • Constitutional Rights Enforcement: Capital Punishment, Life Imprisonment and Post-Conviction Relief
  • Criminal Appeals Externship
  • Federal Appellate Court Externship
  • Federal Court Clerk Externship: Eastern District of New York
  • Federal Court Clerk Externship: Southern District of New York
  • Externship on the Federal Government in Washington D.C.
  • Low-Wage Worker Externship
  • Pro Bono Practice and Design Externship
  • Representing NYC: New York City Law Department Externship
  • Trusts, Wills, & Estate Planning Externship
  • Unaccompanied Immigrant Youth Externship
  • United Nations Externship
  • U.S. Attorney's Office Eastern District of New York: Federal Prosecution Externship

Through the Columbia Law School, students are able to access internships that provide experience and the opportunity to advocate for human rights. Students are given the chance to choose from internships around the world, all dealing with significant human rights topics, from helping establish the International Criminal Tribunals in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, to researching prison conditions in Sri Lanka, to assisting in the writing of a Freedom of Information Act for Guatemala. Training is available prior to internships, allowing students more substantive assignments.

Columbia Law School guarantees summer funding for human rights internships at a broad range of organization both in the U.S. and abroad. For more information on the Human Rights Internships Summer Program for Columbia Law School students, please visit the Social Justice Initiatives website.

Student Organizations 47

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Constitution Society
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
  • Black Law Students Association
  • California Society
  • Canadian Club
  • Chambers
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Civil Rights Law Society
  • Columbia Antitrust Law and Economics Association
  • Columbia Business and Law Association
  • Columbia Card Club
  • Columbia European Law Association
  • Columbia Gastronomy Society
  • Columbia Health Law Association
  • Columbia International Arbitration Association
  • Columbia Law Chess Club
  • Columbia Law and Entrepreneurship Society
  • Columbia Law Feminist Society
  • Columbia Law First Generation Professionals
  • Columbia Law Israel Organization
  • Columbia Law Mock Trial Team
  • Columbia Law Revue
  • Columbia Law School Competitive Table Sports Society
  • Columbia Law School Craft Beer Club
  • Columbia Law School Disc
  • Columbia Law School Murder Mystery Society
  • Columbia Law School Military Association
  • Columbia Law School Soccer Club
  • Columbia Law School Softball Club
  • Columbia Law School Texas Society
  • Columbia Law School Women’s Association
  • Columbia Law School Young Democrats
  • Columbia League of Nations
  • Columbia Muslim Law Students Association
  • Columbia Real Estate Law Society
  • Columbia Society of International Law
  • Columbia Southeastern and Eastern European Law Society
  • Columbia Strategic Simulation Society
  • Commuter Club
  • Criminal Justice Action Network
  • Deans' Cup
  • De Vinimus
  • District of Columbia Law Students
  • Domestic Violence Project
  • Education Law and Policy Society
  • Empowering Women of Color
  • Entertainment, Arts, and Sports Law Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Harlem Tutorial Program
  • High School Law Institute
  • If/When/How - Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Latino/a Law Students Association
  • Law in Africa Students Society
  • Law Students for Social Enterprise
  • Loquitur
  • Maximus Gravitus
  • Mentoring Youth through Legal Education
  • Middle Eastern Law Students Association
  • Midwest Society
  • Modern Money Network
  • National Security Law Society
  • Native American Law Students Association
  • Negotiation Association
  • New England Law Students Association
  • NHK: Japanese Legal Studies Association
  • Outdoors Club
  • Outlaws
  • OWLS (Older and Wiser Law Students)
  • Point of Law
  • Public Defender Students of Columbia Law School
  • Public Interest Law Foundation
  • Queer and Trans People of Color
  • Rightslink
  • Running from the Law
  • Society for Chinese Law
  • Society for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
  • Society for Korean Legal Studies
  • Society of Law and Ethics
  • Society of Law, Science, and Technology
  • South Asian Law Students Association
  • Squash Club
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Student Public Interest Network
  • Student Senate
  • Suspension Representation Project
  • Tenants’ Rights Project
  • Transfer and Visiting Student Organization
  • Virtual Entertainment Society
  • Whiskey and Spirits Club
  • Workers’ Rights Student Coalition
  • Yoga Club