In order to provide students with a fair opportunity to enroll in Law classes, registration at Columbia Law School is assigned by a course lottery in accordance with the Faculty Resolution on the Allocation of Scarce Instructional Resources.

Preregistration dates for Fall 2021:

Before Pre-Registration begins ensure that you do not have any holds on your student account as these can prevent you from participating in Pre-Registration. Check your hold status via Student Services Online (SSOL), where you will find guidance on the three types of holds that will prevent Pre-Registration when placed on a student’s record:

The first step in Pre-Registration is to identify the courses you might want to take.

Up-to-date course information can be found in the course guide. Course evaluations are available in LawNet under "Course Evaluation Reports."

Once you perform a search you have two options for saving the course information: create an excel spreadsheet or create a "favorite courses" by clicking the heart icon next to the next course (you will need to log in.) You will also be able to access it. For the latter, this information will be in LawNet when you add courses to your Pre-Registration choices

JDs should also review their Degree Requirement Status (DRS) Report in LawNet.

Included in Pre Reg Excluded in Pre Reg
Lectures and Seminars Clinics and Externships
Courses that require instructor permission
Foundation Courses
Journals and Moot Court
Non-law Courses
Non-regularly scheduled class registrations
Major/Minor Writing
LLM Writing Project
Supervised Research
Supervised Experiential Study
Teaching Fellow
Unpaid Faculty Research Assistant

Pre-Registration is NOT time-sensitive. You can change your selections at any time during the Pre-Registration period.

Once you log into LawNet, select ‘Pre-Registration.' You will then have three options for identifying courses to add to your Pre-Registration choices:

  • Browse all available courses – this will show you all the fall 2020 courses;
  • Add from My Favorites – this will show you all the fall 2020 courses you identified as your favorites in the Curriculum Guide
  • Search courses – this enables you to reproduce the search functionality of the Curriculum Guide.

Identifying Primary and Alternate Choices

The Lottery will try to register you for up to 15 points of academic credit (notwithstanding the Clinics, Externships, permission courses and Journals into which you have been accepted) and you can pre-register for multiple courses up to these maximums:

  • 3Ls and LLMs – can pre-register for up to 6 primary and 6 alternate courses
  •  2Ls – can pre-register for up to 8 primary and 8 alternate courses
  • The lottery can register you for primary course choice and alternate course choice
  • The lottery can waitlist me for primary course choice only. 

Adding Primary and Alternate Choices

Having added one primary course choice to your Pre-Registration selection as described on Page 8, you can continue to add primary and alternate courses up to the limits based on your class standing:

  • 3Ls and LLMs – can pre-register for up to 6 primary and 6 alternate courses
  •  2Ls – can pre-register for up to 8 primary and 8 alternate courses

Primary course choices:

  • To add – click on the green plus button to add a new course
  • To change the order of priority of a primary choice – click on the course box and drag it above or below other classes on your Pre-Registration List

Alternative course choices:

  • To add – click ‘add alternative’ option in the primary course box
  • To change the order of priority of an alternate choice – click “delete” to remove the course from the relevant primary course choice and add it to a different primary course choice by clicking “add an alternate”.

You can continue to add, move, and delete primary and alternate course choices until the close of Pre-Registration. At that time, your Pre-Registration choices will be finalized and you can access the record through LawNet.

How the Lottery Works

The Lottery was established by the Faculty of Law Resolution on the Allocation of Scarce Instructional Resources and all students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these rules. Simply stated, the Lottery assigns class registrations on the basis of student preference and class standing (i.e. 2L, 3L, or LLM), along with a randomly assigned Lottery number. However, the picture becomes more nuanced when we look at the multiple steps that make up the entirety of the process

There are four possible outcomes for each of the steps identified below:

  1. A student is registered in their primary choice and not waitlisted for their alternate choice; OR
  2. A student is waitlisted for their primary choice and registered for their alternate choice; OR
  3. A student is waitlisted for their primary choice and not registered for their alternate choice because no seats are available; OR
  4. A student is neither registered nor waitlisted for their primary or alternate choice because the student has been registered for a higher ranked course that meets at the same time.

Because an individual student’s chance of being registered for any individual class is dependent upon both the randomly assigned lottery number AND the expressed preferences of other students, no lottery outcome is guaranteed and so you should focus on what is in your control:

In your control What you can do

You Interests

Prioritize the classes in the order of their importance to you
Seminars Consider prioritizing some seminars over lectures, because seminars are typically capped at 18 students so there are fewer available seats.
Mix it up Do not solely pre-register for seminars; add lecture classes to your selections thus increasing your chance of getting into your chosen courses.
High demand classes Review the list of courses that are typically in high demand and rank them higher in your order of preferences.
Alternates

Utilize the alternate course selection feature:

- This will give you a second opportunity in each Lottery step to be registered in a course of interest.

- If your primary choice is full, you can be registered for your alternate if there are seats AND be waitlisted for your primary choice.

- Remember that you will never be waitlisted for an alternate course

Time conflicts

- Minimize time conflicts between your primary choices because you will not be registered or waitlisted for any choice if it conflicts with a higher-ranked course for which you are registered or waitlisted. 

- Try to place time-conflicting classes as alternates to each other

Sections Sections of the same course are treated as separate courses, so you can list all the sections in your preregistration choices if you wish. This gives you a greater chance of taking a course that is important to you.
Pre- and CoRequisites

You can not be registered for a course if you do not have the necessary requisites. 

- Only the instructor can provide a waiver to requisites.

- If you receive a waiver, write to [email protected] and Registration Services will add the course to your Pre-Registration list.

 

There are multiple sections of Negotiation Workshop which all meet at the same time. To ensure students have the best chance of registering for one of these sections, the Pre-Registration process is slightly different

  • Only Section 1, which is not associated with an instructor, will be available for pre-registration and you should rank this section along with your other course selections
  • Once you add Negotiation Workshop to your list of choices, an additional window will appear, providing you the opportunity to rank all the different sections which are associated with a particular professor

Because Professional Responsibility (PR) is a graduation requirement for JD students and necessary for LLMs who want to take the NY Bar Exam, there is a special lottery for PR.

  • Open to 3Ls and LLMs only (2Ls can add PR to their general Pre-Registration selection of courses)
  • Both fall and spring PR courses are included
  • 2Ls can add Professional Responsibility to their general Pre-Registration selection of courses

Steps

  1. Log in to LawNet Select "PR Lottery" under the "Registration Services" Menu
  2. Rank all PR courses (fall and spring) in order of your preference
  3. Once you select ‘PR Lottery’ under the ‘Registration Services’ menu in LawNet, you will see all the PR courses for fall 2020 and spring 2021. Rank all PR courses in the order of your preference and then save your choices.

Note: If you have been accepted into a clinic, externship, or permission course, ensure that you place any conflicting sections of PR at the lowest place on your ranking. The results of the PR Lottery will be released at noon on Friday, July 31st.

  • You will be able to adjust your general Pre-Registration choices on the basis of the PR Lottery result.
  • You will be able to change your PR registration during Add/Drop

LegReg Pre-Registration July 27th to July 30th

Because Legislation and Regulation (LegReg) is a graduation requirement for JD students there is a special lottery for LegReg.

  • Open to 2Ls
  • Both fall and spring LegReg courses are included
  • All LegReg courses must be ranked in order of preference

Steps

  1. Log in to LawNet Select "Legislation and Regulation Lottery" under the "Registration Services" Menu
  2. Rank all LegReg courses (fall and spring) in order of your preference
  3. Once you select ‘Legislation and Regulation Lottery’ under the ‘Registration Services’ menu in LawNet, you will see all the LegReg courses for fall 2020 and spring 2021. Rank all 4 LegReg courses in the order of your preference and then save your choices.

Notes:

  • The results of the LegReg Lottery will be released at noon on Friday, July 31st. You will be able to adjust your general Pre-Registration choices on the basis of the LegReg Lottery result.
  • You will be able to change your LegReg registration during Add/Drop.
  • Pre-Registration Record: The record of your Pre-Registration choices is stored in the Pre-Registration module in LawNet.
  • Lottery Results: The Lottery will try to register you for up to 15 points of academic credit. The fall 2020 results will be published in LawNet on Tuesday, August 25. The results will include the classes for which you are registered and the classes for which you are waitlisted. You will also see your position on these waitlists
  • Waitlists: When the Lottery results are published, you will have the option to remove yourself from any waitlists for courses in which you are no longer interested. Because this will help other students better assess their actual waitlist position and give them a better chance of registering for these courses, please be sure to remove yourself from unnecessary waitlists.
  • Exam Schedule: A tentative exam schedule will be published by the end of Add/Drop.
  • During the Add/Drop period, students can:
    • Drop classes in which they are registered
    • Register for classes, or add themselves to a waitlist
    • Register for:
      • supervised research
      • experiential projects
      • teaching assistantships o research assistantships
      • writing credits
      • Cross-Register for other Columbia University classes

Pre-Registration Checklist

2L

Steps

Clear Holds

Review Handbook

Make Course Selections

Pre-Register for up to 8 primary and 8 alternate courses

Pre-Register for Legislation and Regulation

3L

Steps

Clear Holds

Review Handbook

Make Course Selections

Pre-Register for up to 6 primary and 6 alternate courses

Pre-Register for Professional Responsibility (PR)

LLM

Steps

Clear Holds

Review Handbook

Make Course Selections

Pre-Register for Professional Responsibility (PR) (optional: for students taking the NY Bar Exam)

Pre-Register for up to 6 primary and 6 alternate courses