Making the Most of Your Time at Columbia Law School: A Model Timeline for the Experimentalism Mentorship Program
Your Columbia Law School education is an unparalleled opportunity to learn the law in a community of scholars and fellow students committed to understanding legal institutions in their full historical, social, economic, and political context. Even if you follow the path of least resistance, you will acquire the skills you need to take your place as a highly-qualified member of a learned profession.
But three years go by quickly, and students often do not discover their particular passion until they are ready to receive their degree and take the bar exam. The mentorship program enables those students interested in the set of institutional transformations that some Columbia faculty and others have called "democratic experimentalism," to hit the ground running.
Here is a sample timeline for Columbia Experimentalism Scholars:
Fall first year: The first semester of law school places enormous demands on the time and intellectual energy of students, who are learning the equivalent of a new language. Accordingly, the only formal session during this period is a meet-and-greet event at which you will meet faculty and upper-class students working in the field of experimentalism. Experimentalism scholars will, from the beginning, be included on mailing lists of events of interest.
Spring first year: Assured admission to elective course in innovations in public regulatory practice.
Second and third years: Admission to seminars and courses taught by affiliated faculty, including "New Forms of Public Interest Advocacy" and the "Theory and Practice of Workplace Equity." Preferred opportunity to serve as teaching assistants for the spring first year elective course. Especially in the third year, faculty will supervise independent research projects, and opportunities will be available for Experimentalism Scholars to discuss their work together.
Summers: Assistance in finding externships and other positions in institutions engaged in innovative problem solving and/or positions as research assistants in ongoing projects of the experimentalism group.
Post Graduation: Assistance in finding positions to conduct work in experimentalism in government, NGOs and academia. Join the network of experimentalist alumni and refine the model in accordance with your own experience.
CLS '01 graduate, Julissa Reynoso: As a participant in the seminar New Forms of Public Interest Advocacy, I was first exposed to the study of experimentalism. Using the tools acquired, I was able to study trends in community organizing and the new ways activist organizations were interacting with a changing state
CLS '01 graduate, Brandon Garrett: The mentorship that I received while at Columbia helped define my scholarly interests, focused me on real-world problems faced by institutions, challenged me to struggle with problems of policy, practice and justice, and inspired me to become an academic. My law school mentorship ranged from teaching a collaborative class on race and art with New Haven police officers, to assisting an empirical study on capital punishment, to an examination of philosophical foundations of police legitimacy. Students now starting law school at Columbia have a truly unique opportunity before them to blaze their own trails with the steady encouragement of a community of scholars