Columbia Law School shapes the legal profession’s future leaders. We prepare our students for professional roles in a broad range of areas, including academia, public service, advocacy, and business. Our graduate programs give students the opportunity to develop their scholarship and specialize in fields not fully covered in their previous coursework.
The Law School offers a broad selection of courses; during their time on campus students are encouraged to explore the breadth of our varied curriculum, and to delve into the University's unparalleled offerings too.
Our faculty members are the top practitioners and scholars in their fields, influencing the world through their government service, advocacy, legal practice, and numerous publications. Their experiences prove invaluable to students in their chosen courses of study.
Columbia Law School’s interdisciplinary faculty pursues innovative work that expands the understanding of the law and influences the global community. Their research also challenges students to think critically about their roles in addressing complex legal issues.
Columbia Law School students are in great demand. Highly regarded firms send recruiters each year to hire the next generation of standout associates, while social justice organizations, government agencies, and eminent judges’ chambers seek our accomplished candidates for highly competitive posts. Whether a soon-to-be Columbia graduate wants to become a law professor, work for the FTC, lead a human rights group, or someday run a venerable corporate law firm, our Morningside Heights campus is the place to prepare for the most desirable and fulfilling of legal careers.
Columbia Law School instills in 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 university—as well as our New York City location—our students complete their legal training ready to engage the world’s most challenging issues.
New York, July 20, 2009 – Before they became friends, Ellen Chapnick and Judge Sonia Sotomayor were collaborators.
Chapnick, Dean of Columbia Law School’s Social Justice Program and Sotomayor, awaiting confirmation to become the next U.S. Supreme Court justice, co-created and co-taught in 2000 an Appellate Court Externship that gives students a rare opportunity to experience the inner workings of a federal court.
One component of the course was a moot court, where the students had to argue to Sotomayor and two other judges a case the judge had actually heard during a court session.
“She put them through the ringer. She treated them as real litigators, asked them tough questions,” Chapnick said in an interview with CNN.com. “But then it was all over, and she was debriefing them. She would really talk to them about what they had done well and what they had done badly and often illustrated that with an example from her own life about how, as a litigator, she had learned to be better the next time.”
As part of the Externship, students have also worked in the chambers of a Second Circuit judge on legal research, analysis, and writing, under Sotomayor’s supervision.
“The externships are obviously a very important part of how the Social Justice Program operates,” Chapnick said.
The Social Justice Program works to prepare the government, public interest and human rights lawyers of the future. It provides programming and individual assistance regarding careers, summer opportunities and pro bono projects.
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins its traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, and environmental law.