Columbia Law School: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Columbia Law School
Columbia Law School
Established 1858
School type Private
Parent Endowment $5.7 billion
Dean David Schizer
Location New York City, New York, USA
Enrollment 1,267[1]
Faculty 216[1]
USNWR ranking 4[2]
Bar pass rate 94.77%[1]
Annual tuition $45,674[1]
ABA Profile Columbia Law School Profile

Columbia Law School (or CLS) is one of the professional graduate schools of Columbia University. A member of the Ivy League, Columbia is located in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. David Schizer is the current dean.

Every year since U.S. News and World Report began its law school rankings in 1989, Columbia has appeared in the Top 5, an honor shared only with Yale, Harvard, and Stanford.[3] In addition, U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Columbia among the top four institutions for academic reputation.[4] In U.S. News latest 2010 survey, Columbia Law ranked #4 overall.

For the past two years, Columbia ranked #1 in The National Law Journal survey of "Go-To Law Schools" as determined by the percentage of law school graduates hired by the nation's top 250 law firms.[5] In 2005 Columbia earned the top spot in the National Law Journal's first-ever ranking of law schools from which the 50 largest American law firms hired first-year associates.[6] Similarly, Brian Leiter's recent law school rankings (an alternative to the U.S. News survey) ranked Columbia #1 for job placement at the nation's "most prestigious" law firms and, for the past several years, #3 for student numerical quality (average LSAT 172.5 & GPA 3.700), surpassed only by Yale Law School (average LSAT 173 & GPA 3.890) and Harvard Law School (average LSAT 173 & GPA 3.855).[7][8]

Admission to Columbia Law is among the most selective in the U.S. with only 14.7% of applicants being accepted in 2008.[9]

Columbia has produced a large number of distinguished alumni including, among others: two Presidents of the United States; nine Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (three of whom were Chief Justices); numerous U.S. Cabinet members and Presidential advisers; U.S. Senators, Representatives, and Governors; members of the federal trial and appellate courts; academicians and diplomats, and civil rights and human rights activists. Alumni of the Law School have been the president or founder of twenty-eight colleges and universities in the nation. More current members of the Forbes 400 attended Columbia than any other law school.[10]

For its teaching and scholarship, Columbia is lauded in corporate and securities law, international and comparative law, intellectual property, public interest and human rights law, and legal history and legal theory — administrative law, constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, critical race theory, and gender studies and family law, among others, are also exceptionally strong.[11] Columbia, well known for corporate law, has a storied job placement rate at the nation's top law firms.[12]



The Gothic Revival Columbia Law School building on the Madison Avenue campus (circa 1860)

The teaching of law at Columbia reaches back to the 18th century. Graduates of the university's colonial predecessor, King's College, included such notable early American judicial figures as John Jay, who would later become the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. Columbia College appointed its first professor of law, James Kent, in 1793, but the formal instruction of law was suspended for some time during the early decades of the 19th century.

A revival of interest resulted in the formal establishment of the law school in 1858. The first law school building was a Gothic Revival structure located on Columbia's Madison Avenue campus. Thereafter, the college became Columbia University and moved north to the neighborhood of Morningside Heights.

In the 1920s and 30s, the law school soon became known for the development of the legal realism movement. Among the major realists affiliated with Columbia Law School were Karl Llewellyn, Felix S. Cohen and William O. Douglas.[13]

In September 1988, Columbia Law School founded the first AIDS Law Clinic in the country, taught by Professor Deborah Greenberg and Mark Barnes.[14]

Columbia Law School today

Today, Columbia Law School is well regarded in a number of different areas, including--but not limited to--notable scholars in the following legal disciplines, and several of the faculty are recipients of the MacArthur Fellows Program "genius grant":

Widely cited scholars in other specialties include Robert E. Scott (contract law); Lance Liebman (employment law); Michael I. Sovern (labor law); Matthew Waxman (national security law); Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Patricia J. Williams (critical race theory, gender ); Michael A.Heller (real estate law); and Marvin Chirelstein, David Schizer (tax law).

Law centers and programs

Columbia was among the first schools to establish both comparative and international law centers. The Law School also has major centers for the study of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean law, as well as centers for European Legal Studies, Law and Economics, Corporate Governance, Law and Philosophy, eleven other law centers, and numerous law programs.[16]

In 2006, the Law School embarked on an ambitious campaign to increase the number of faculty by fifty percent without increasing the number of students.[17]

On May 26, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia since 1999[18], to be a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Sotomayor created and co-taught a course entitled "The Federal Appellate Externship" every semester at the Law School since the fall 2000.[19] Federal Appellate Externships and many other externships, including Federal District Externships, are offered each year at the Law School.[20]

Arthur W. Diamond Library

Jerome L. Greene Hall, home of the law school and the Arthur W. Diamond Library. September 2004

Columbia Law School’s Arthur W. Diamond Library is one of the most comprehensive libraries in the world and is the second largest law library in the United States, with over 1,000,000 volumes and subscriptions to more than 7,450 journals and other serials.[21][22]

The Columbia Law Review and other student journals

The Columbia Law Review is the third most (and often the second most) cited law journal in the world[23] and is one of the four publishers of the Bluebook. Columbia publishes twelve other student-edited journals, including the Columbia Business Law Review, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, Columbia Journal of European Law, Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems, Columbia Journal of Law & Arts, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Columbia Science and Technology Review, the American Review of International Arbitration, and the National Black Law Journal.[24]

Dual degree programs and alliances, abroad

Columbia has cultivated alliances and dual degree programs with overseas law schools, including the University of Oxford, University College London, King's College London, and the London School of Economics in London, England; the Institut d'études politiques de Paris (“Sciences Po”) and the Universite de Paris, Sorbonne in Paris, France; the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands; and the Institute for Law and Finance (ILF) at Goethe University Frankfurt in Frankfurt, Germany.[25][26]

Clinical programs

The Law School runs nine vigorous clinical programs that contribute to the community[27], including the nation's first technology-based clinic, called Lawyering in the Digital Age. This clinic is currently engaged in building a community resource to understand the collateral consequences of criminal charges.[28] In April 2006, Columbia announced that it was starting the nation's first clinic in sexuality and gender law.[29] In 2007, Columbia opened a new program in law and technology.[30]

Given that Columbia is well known for its strength in corporate law, the Law School offers, for example, a "Deals" course that includes participants from the Columbia Business School and the Law School. In addition, the Columbia Business and Law Association (CBLA), the Law School's principal student group dedicated to the interaction between law and business, routinely sponsors lectures, workshops, and networking events from traditional areas of interest such as investment banking, management consulting, venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, and entrepreneurship. CBLA also serves as a center for members of the Columbia Law School community interested in many aspects of business law, including corporate governance and securities regulation.[31]

The student-run organization Unemployment Action Center has a chapter at Columbia Law School.


Columbia Law School’s main building, Jerome L. Greene Hall (or simply "the Law School"), was designed by Wallace Harrison and Max Abramovitz, architects of the United Nations Headquarters and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (which for many years served as the site of Columbia Law School's graduation ceremonies). It is located at the intersection of Amsterdam Avenue and West 116th Street. One of the building's defining features is its frontal sculpture, Bellerophon Taming Pegasus, designed by Jacques Lipchitz, symbolizing man's struggle over (his own) wild side/unreason.

In 1996, the Law School was extensively renovated, including the addition of a new entrance façade and three story skylit lobby, as well as the expansion of existing space to include an upper level students' commons, lounge areas, and a café. In the summer of 2008, construction of a new floor in Jerome Greene Hall was completed providing 38 new faculty offices. Other Columbia Law School buildings include William and June Warren Hall, the Jerome Greene Learning Annex (which Jerome Greene's representatives politely declined to have renamed after the building of Jerome Green Hall), and William C. Warren Hall (or "Little Warren").

Lenfest Hall, the Law School's premier residence, opened in August 2003. The hall was named for H.F. Lenfest '58 and his wife Marguerite. Lenfest contains more than 200 luxury student residences, including private studio apartments and one-bedroom apartments.[32] All Columbia Law students are guaranteed housing on campus for the duration of their Law School studies.

Columbia Graduate Legal Studies Program

Columbia offers a Graduate Legal Studies Program, including the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and the Doctor of Juridical Science (J.S.D.) degrees. The LL.M. Program is considered one of the best in the United States and has been ranked very highly according to private studies.[33][34] Each year the Law School enrolls approximately 210 graduate students from more than 50 countries with experience in all areas of the legal profession, including academia, the judiciary, public service, civil rights and human rights advocacy, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and private practice. Graduate students are an important component of the Law School community. They participate in many co-curricular activities, including student journals, moot courts, and student organizations. Graduate students also organize and speak at conferences, workshops, and colloquia on current legal issues.[35]

Columbia Law School alumni

Columbia Law School in popular culture

  • Marvel Comics character Matthew Murdock, the alter ego of superhero Daredevil, and his roommate and eventual law partner, Franklin "Foggy" Nelson, attended Columbia Law School.
  • On the television show Law & Order, Assistant District Attorney Jamie Ross studied law at Columbia.
  • In Body Heat, Edmund Walker (played by Richard Crenna), the wealthy husband of the film's femme fatale, is a Columbia Law School graduate.
  • In the film Old School, Dean Gordon Pritchard bribes the student body president by guaranteeing her admission to Columbia Law.
  • In the film Just Cause, Law Professor Paul Armstrong, played by Sir Sean Connery, is a Columbia Law graduate.
  • In the film Two Weeks Notice, Howard Wade, played by David Haig, asks for a lawyer trained at Columbia Law School.
  • On the television show How I Met Your Mother, the character Marshall is a graduate of Columbia Law School.
  • On The West Wing (S5), Angela (the new head of legislative affairs at the White House) meets Leo in regards to the President's high popularity in polls during the time of his daughter's kidnapping. When Leo says that the President's temporary self-removal from office was a constitutional necessity, Angela comments on the negative political ramifications and tells Leo, "If you want a Constitutional debate, call the Dean of Columbia Law."
  • On the television show Raising the Bar, the character Judge Trudy Kessler is a Columbia Law alumna.


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