Looking up at the facade of Jerome Greene Hall.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Find answers to common J.D. admissions questions below. 

For what areas of study is Columbia Law School best known?

Columbia Law School has unique strengths in many areas of legal scholarship in terms of institutional resources, curricular breadth and depth, and faculty research and practice. Some of these areas are:

  •    International, Foreign, and Comparative Law
  •    Public Interest and Human Rights Law
  •    Corporate, Securities, and Transactional Law
  •    National Security Law
  •    Environmental Law
  •    Intellectual Property Law
  •    Gender and Sexuality Law
  •    Legal History and Legal Theory

View our areas of study and a full list of courses available at Columbia Law School.

Does Columbia Law School offer dual and joint degree programs? What is the process like?

Columbia Law School offers numerous dual and joint degree programs—most with the graduate and professional schools of Columbia University and a handful with non-Columbia graduate programs. Applications to the two programs must be filed separately, and prospective dual and joint degree students may apply concurrently or during the first and sometimes second years of either program. 

Read more detailed information about these opportunities.

Can I study abroad during my time at the Law School?

J.D. students may choose from 32 study abroad programs in 14 countries or create their own semester-abroad program through the Law School’s Independent Study Abroad option. Columbia Law School students in good academic standing may spend time abroad during either their second or third year.

We also have an International Programs that serves as a resource for interested students.

In what student law journals can I participate at Columbia?

Columbia Law School is home to 14 student law journals, including the Columbia Law Review, many of which are the leading scholarly publications in their respective fields. J.D. students may actively participate in all of the student journals, with most of the journals selecting their members through a writing competition at the end of the first year. With some exceptions, students participate in law journals during their upperclass years.

What degrees are offered at Columbia Law School?

Columbia Law School offers three degrees:

  • The J.D. (Juris Doctor) is the first postgraduate law degree awarded in the United States. Upon successful completion of the Bar exam, individuals holding the J.D. degree are qualified to practice law in this country.
  • The LL.M. (Master of Laws) is a one-year program primarily geared toward foreign-trained lawyers who, having already earned their home country’s J.D. equivalent, are interested in studying the American legal system. If you would like to learn more about our LL.M. program, please contact the Office of Graduate Legal Studies directly.
  • The Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law (Executive LL.M.) is an accelerated, six-month degree program designed for high-achieving, experienced lawyers. Combining online courses with an intensive 12-week residency at Columbia Law School’s New York City campus, the program enables students to spend minimal time away from home and still gain the advantage of studying global business law with many of the world’s most renowned scholars and practitioners. To learn more, contact the Executive LL.M. office
  • The J.S.D. (Doctor of the Science of Law) is a doctorate degree for which a prior law degree, as well as the submission and oral defense of a dissertation, is required. Admission to the J.S.D. program at Columbia Law School is normally restricted to applicants who desire a career in legal academia. If you would like to learn more about our J.S.D. program, please contact the Office of Graduate Legal Studies directly.

What support systems are in place for disabled students?

Columbia Law School works directly with the University's Office of Disability Services (ODS) to make personalized accommodations for enrolled law students with disabilities.

Does Columbia Law School have a part-time or evening program?

Columbia Law School does not offer any part-time, evening, summer, or distance-learning programs.

How long should my personal statement/essay be?

While there is no official page limit, a good guideline is two double-spaced pages, using readable fonts and margins. Your personal statement/essay should be a clear and concise example of your best writing. It should also be free from spelling and grammatical errors.

How many letters of recommendation should I submit and from whom?

Columbia requires two letters of recommendation to complete your application.

  • Candidates completing their undergraduate degrees in 2018, 2019, or 2020: We require applicants currently in school or recently graduated (i.e., applying within less than approximately two years of receiving their degree) to submit two academic letters from faculty who can provide insight about their candidacy. Academic letters must come from individuals who have taught applicants in the classroom or have evaluated applicants in a signi cant academic capacity (e.g., an independent study project or thesis advisor).

  • Candidates who completed their undergraduate degrees in 2017 and earlier: Applicants with substantive work experience who are not recent graduates are strongly encouraged to submit one professional letter and at least one academic letter of recommendation.

Candidates who believe they may jeopardize their employment status by requesting professional letters of recommendation may submit an academic letter of recommendation instead and should include a brief addendum explaining why they have not included a professional letter of recommendation.

Please be advised that, unless we are otherwise notified in response to Question 9.2 of the application, we will complete your application upon receipt of two letters of recommendation.

I have been out of school for a while and am no longer in contact with any of my professors. Do I still need academic letters of recommendation?

You may submit letters of recommendation from professional references (e.g., former supervisors) if you are unable to locate former professors. However, the Committee does prefer academic letters of recommendation, so please make every attempt to obtain at least one.

Does Columbia require the submission of a dean’s certification?

Columbia will require admitted applicants to submit a dean’s appraisal/certification form, or an equivalent certification, from every educational institution at which he/she has been matriculated toward a degree (regardless of whether a degree was conferred) throughout his/her educational career. Matriculation at the Law School is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of the dean’s appraisal/certification form(s), which will be made available once an applicant has been notified of acceptance into Columbia Law School.

Withholding information regarding disciplinary history from your initial application will be considered by the Admissions Committee as a violation of the Law School’s principles of academic integrity. If you answer yes to questions 8.1—8.2 on the application, then you will need to furnish a statement from the administration at your school regarding your disciplinary history.

Are there any instances in which I need to submit a dean’s certification with my initial application?

Yes. If you have been subject to disciplinary censure by any educational institution you attended or if there are any disciplinary charges pending against you, then you will need to submit a dean’s certification or letter that includes an explanation of the incident, as well as a statement of current standing at that academic institution at the time of your initial application. If you have ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor parking violation or if there are any criminal charges pending or expected to be brought against you, then you must provide a detailed, complete, and truthful written explanation with your initial application, irrespective of advice you may have received to the contrary.

I completed a study abroad program while I was in college. Do I need to submit a dean’s appraisal/certification Form from the institution abroad?

The dean’s appraisal/certification form is required only from institutions at which you were matriculated toward a degree. Since during most study abroad programs students continue to be matriculated at their home institutions, a dean’s appraisal/certification form is generally not required from the institution abroad. This rule of thumb also extends to summer classes, continuing education courses, evening courses, and/or any other classes taken for a reason other than the completion of a degree (e.g., personal interest, professional development).

Can I submit an addendum or additional written materials along with my application?

Yes. The Admissions Committee believes that candidates should be able to expand upon aspects of their candidacy that are otherwise not represented in the required materials. Some examples include diversity statements, statements of strong interest in Columbia Law School, explanations of undergraduate and/or LSAT/GRE performance, etc. We strongly suggest that applicants use their best judgment, in terms of content and length, when considering the submission of supplemental materials.

Does the Admissions Committee conduct interviews as a part of the admissions process?

While we are unable to interview all candidates that submit an application for admission, some candidates may be contacted for interviews during the admissions process. Please note that we are unable to consider requests for interviews. 

 

 

Which standardized tests are valid for consideration to Columbia Law School?

Columbia Law School accepts the LSAT and the GRE as a basis for admission.

Why did Columbia Law School begin accepting the GRE in addition to the LSAT?

Columbia Law School accepts the GRE as part of our ongoing commitment to prepare students to be leaders across multiple disciplines.  The GRE is administered frequently in hundreds of locations around the world and is accepted by a wide range of graduate and professional degree programs, thereby making it possible for an even broader pool of candidates to gain access to a distinct legal education.  Acceptance of the GRE is consistent with the standards espoused by the American Bar Association (ABA) Interpretation 503-1.

Should I take the GRE, or the LSAT?

Applicants can take either the GRE or the LSAT for consideration for admission to Columbia Law School. The choice is entirely up to you.

Candidates using the GRE as a basis for admission must submit all GRE test scores from exams administered within the last five years, in addition to any LSAT test scores from exam administrations within the last five years. Candidates applying with the GRE may not “ScoreSelect.” Candidates may submit LSAT test scores as the sole standardized test to be used for consideration, even if they have taken the GRE.

We take a holistic and individual approach and do not have specific recommendations regarding an applicant's decision to apply with either the GRE or the LSAT.

When is the latest date that I can sit for the LSAT/GRE?

LSAT: For the Early Decision Plan, the last LSAT administration date that meets our deadline is October 28, 2019. For Regular Decisions, the last LSAT administration date that meets our deadline is January 13, 2020.

GRE: For the Early Decision Plan, the last GRE administration date that meets our deadline is November 1, 2019. For Regular Decisions, the last GRE administration date that meets our deadline is February 1, 2020.

For how long is a LSAT/GRE score valid?

LSAT: An LSAT score is considered valid by the Admissions Committee for no longer than five years. Candidates applying for admission to the 2020 entering class as regular applicants may submit LSAT scores earned on or after the June 2015 administration, but no later than the January 2020 administration.

GRE: A GRE score is considered valid by the Admissions Committee for no longer than five years. Candidates applying for admission to the 2020 entering class as regular applicants may submit GRE scores from tests taken between June 1, 2015 and February 1, 2020.

Can I submit my application before I take the LSAT/GRE?

Yes; however, you should indicate the date on which you are scheduled to take the test on question 6.1 of your application. Please note that your application will not be considered complete until we have received your official LSAT/GRE score and all other required documents.

Applicants taking an LSAT/GRE administration close to the application deadline should ensure that all other application materials have been submitted and that their application is otherwise complete prior to the release of their score(s).

What are the minimum test score requirements for acceptance to Columbia Law School?

Although academic achievements and performance on the LSAT/GRE are clearly relevant to the selection process, we strongly emphasize that admission to the Law School is based on a variety of quantitative and qualitative factors contained in your application, not solely on either grades or test scores. Every complete application is read in full by at least two members of the Admissions Committee.

LSAT: There is no minimum LSAT score in the consideration process for admission to Columbia Law School. For the 2018 entering class, the median LSAT score was 172.  

GRE: There is no minimum score in the consideration process for admission to Columbia Law School. The Admissions Committee considers scores from all sections of the GRE as part of our holistic review process.

Should I take the general GRE test, or a specific subject test?

You should take the general test, as the specific subject tests are not applicable to Columbia Law School’s admissions process.

How do I report my GRE score?

If you choose to submit GRE test scores, kindly instruct Educational Testing Service to forward all test scores received within the last five years. Candidates should log in to their ETS account and designate Columbia Law School as a recipient, using our school code 4046. You may not choose which GRE test scores to send.

If I have general questions about the GRE who should I contact?

For general questions about the GRE, including test dates, locations, and requirements, please visit ETS.org, and click on “GRE."

Do I still need to apply through LSAC if I am taking the GRE rather than the LSAT?

Yes, all law school applicants are required to create an LSAC account and complete a CAS report through LSAC.org, regardless of which standardized test you choose to take.

Are fee waivers available for the LSAT and GRE?

For more information on LSAT’s fee waiver policy, please visit LSAC.org. To learn more about the GRE Fee Reduction Program, visit ETS.org.

 

What are Columbia Law School’s application deadlines?

The earliest that we begin to accept applications for the 2019-20 admissions season is September 1, 2019. For the 2019 entering class, the deadline for our binding Early Decision Plan (EDP) is November 15, 2019, and the Regular Decision deadline is February 15, 2020. However, we encourage all applicants to complete their applications as early as possible, considering that applications are evaluated on a rolling basis in the order in which they are completed.

What application should I submit if I have attended law school in the past?

Candidates who have already completed one year of a J.D. program at a U.S. institution are not eligible to apply for regular admission and must apply for Transfer admission. Candidates who have already completed at least two years of J.D. coursework are eligible to apply for Visiting admission. Applicants who have an LL.M. degree from Columbia Law School must apply for Transfer admission, while applicants who have an LL.M. degree from another institution must apply for Regular admission

Does Columbia Law School offer application fee waivers?

Unless you are a currently enrolled undergraduate student in a degree-granting program at any of Columbia University’s schools (please see more on this below), Columbia itself does not process requests for fee waivers. Rather, Columbia utilizes the application for determining eligibility for fee waivers directly through Law School Admission Council's mechanism.  Once eligibility has been established and approved by LSAC, candidates will automatically receive a fee waiver for Columbia Law School upon submitting an application for admission. For additional details about fee waivers, visit www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/fee-waivers.

How do I obtain an application fee waiver if I am currently enrolled in a degree-granting undergraduate program at Columbia University?

If you are a currently enrolled (alumni are not eligible) undergraduate student in a degree-granting program at any of Columbia University’s schools—Barnard College, Columbia College, Columbia School of General Studies, or The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science—then you may request a fee waiver in writing to [email protected]. Please be sure to include in your request your UNI and the school at which you are currently matriculated as a student. Upon receipt and verification of your request, we will respond with a fee waiver code, which you must enter before you submit your application. Please note that if you pay the application fee, we are unable to award a fee waiver retroactively. 

Does the Admissions Committee prefer to receive electronic applications?

Columbia Law School only accepts electronic applications. You may apply through LSAC.org.

What if some application materials arrive before my application is submitted?

Occasionally, certain application materials (e.g., letters of recommendation), arrive prior to the receipt of an application for admission. To facilitate completion of your application, all submitted materials should contain your full name and LSAC number (and/or social security number).

How do I check the status of my application?

Applicants are expected to monitor the submission and completion of all application requirements. You may check the status of your application for admission at any time by visiting our online status check. In order to protect every applicant's confidentiality, status check requests over the phone cannot be granted. In the event that the status check mechanism is unduly delayed, applicants may submit requests in writing by email ([email protected]) to the Office of Admissions.

When will I receive an admissions decision?

As a general matter, applications are evaluated on a rolling basis in the order in which they are completed. Typically, the Admissions Committee begins rendering Regular decisions in late January and continues to release decisions through the end of April. Early Decision candidates are generally notified of their decisions in December.

Does Columbia Law School offer merit scholarships or need-based financial aid?

Columbia Law School offers a number of highly-competitive merit-based scholarships. There is no separate application procedure; scholarships are awarded based on a holistic review of the entirety of your application for admission. Applicants are generally awarded merit-based scholarships at the time of admission.

CLS also awards need-based grants and loans. Please see the Financial Aid section of our website for more information.

How do I submit a request for a deferral?

Columbia Law School maintains a liberal deferral policy—one to two years after admission. Admitted students who have submitted a seat deposit must notify the Office of Admissions of their wish to defer no later than the deadline printed in their acceptance materials.

Admitted students who have been granted deferred admission are required to:

  1. Submit an additional, nonrefundable deposit that will be applied to tuition at the time of matriculation; and
  2. Sign an agreement that indicates the individual has withdrawn all prior applications to other law schools, does not currently hold deferred status at another law school, and will not submit new applications to other law schools.

Applicants admitted from our Reserve category cannot defer admission.

How many international students typically enroll at Columbia Law School?

Columbia Law School has a truly international student body. In the entering Class of 2019, approximately 19% of the J.D. program was comprised of international students, and across the entire J.D. program, Columbia Law School students currently hail from 19 foreign countries across six continents. 

In addition, Columbia Law School is among a small handful of law schools that integrates its J.D. and LL.M. student populations in both first-year and upper-year courses. The approximately 300 foreign-trained lawyers enrolled in our one-year LL.M. (Master of Laws) program each year serve to enrich the student community, academically and otherwise.

As an international student, or an American student who has matriculated in a non–English-speaking program abroad, how should I send my academic transcripts to the Office of Admissions?

All transcripts from post-secondary institutions outside the U.S. and Canada in which the applicant matriculated toward a degree must be submitted through the J.D. Credential Assembly Service (JD CAS). Foreign transcripts may not be sent directly to the Law School.

Are international students required to provide dean’s certifications?

If you have been subject to disciplinary censure by any educational institution you attended, or if there are any disciplinary charges pending against you, then you will need to submit a dean’s certification or statement of good standing from your academic institution at the time of your initial application. If you have ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation, or if there are any criminal charges pending or expected to be brought against you, then you must provide a detailed, complete, and truthful written explanation with your initial application, irrespective of advice you may have received to the contrary.

Is the TOEFL required?

No. Applicants to the J.D. program are not required to take the TOEFL.

 

 

Why is Columbia Law School conducting interviews?

Incorporating interviews into the admissions process is one of the channels through which we hope to meet the needs of our applicants. We are seeking to provide you with the means to learn more about Columbia in a more personal way, just as we hope to understand even more about you by having a conversation.

How will the Admissions Committee weigh an interview in terms of the overall application?

Since we employ a holistic admissions process in which we do not use a grid or formula to determine admissibility, an interview will not carry any particular weight relative to the other application components. Rather, we hope that the interview will, in addition to allowing you to get to know us better, amplify what you have already included in your application for admission. Because of the nature of our selection process, the interview will be contextualized differently for each applicant.

How does the interview process work? 

The Office of Admissions will email an invitation (with instructions included) to those applicants selected for an interview.  All candidates selected will already have had their application reviewed by at least one admissions officer.  After receiving the email invitation, you will have five days to schedule your interview.  Admissions officers will be conducting the interviews, via Skype, and each interview will run no longer than 20 minutes. While it is our strong preference to communicate over Skype, we will consider written requests – containing an explanation – for phone interviews.  Please note that we are not able to accommodate in-person interviews.

Who will be selected for an interview?  Do you use any kind of LSAT/GRE or GPA cutoff?

Candidates will be selected for a variety of reasons. We do not use any numeric cutoffs or thresholds to select those candidates.

When in the process will I find out if I am going to be invited to interview? Will being selected for an interview delay the admissions decision?

We are not able to determine in advance if/when you will be invited to interview. However, you will be invited to interview only following the completion of your application. The interview is a part of the evaluation process and its timing will not negatively affect your admissions decision.

How do I schedule my admissions interview? 

Within the invitation email, click the link to our appointment scheduling webpage to make an appointment. You will need to provide some basic information (including your LSAC Account Number and Skype ID) to make an appointment. Please note that all interview time slots are scheduled in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

I think I would have a better chance of being admitted if I were able to interview.  May I request one?

We understand that many of our applicants will want to interview and we appreciate your enthusiasm, but interviews are by invitation only.  We are unable to accommodate requests for interviews and will not accept petitions to interview.  Please be assured that those who are not selected to interview will nonetheless continue to be seriously considered for admission under our traditional, holistic review process.

I am a Columbia undergraduate, live in the tri-state area, or will be visiting the city.  Why can’t I interview in person?

To ensure consistency in our interview program and out of fairness to interviewees who are not geographically close to our office, all interviews will be conducted exclusively via Skype. However, you are warmly welcome to visit the campus, take a self-guided tour, and sit in on classes.

Is there anything I can do to prepare for the interview?

Aside from being able to articulate your motivations and interests, as well as discuss your application, you do not have to prepare for the interview. The admissions officer is hoping to get to know you better through an open discussion while covering a variety of potential topics.

Since we are going to be speaking via Skype, how should I dress?

We recommend business casual; however, you may wear whatever you believe to be appropriate while being mindful of the interview context.

What happens after my interview? How soon after my interview will I be told of my admissions status?

The interview is only a single component of the evaluation process. After the interview, and once your application is otherwise complete, your application, along with the interview report, will undergo a final review with the interview evaluation being taken into consideration. We have no set period within which we render our admissions decisions. However, please note that we generally do not begin releasing Regular Admissions decisions until mid-January.  Accordingly, for some, it is possible that two to three months may elapse between the completion of your file, the conclusion of your interview, and notification of your decision status.

Do transfer students fill out a separate application for admission?

Yes. Prospective transfer students must apply online, using the Transfer Student Application. Please note that some application requirements for transfer and visiting students are significantly different from those of regular J.D. applicants. Please visit the Transfer Students section of our website for more information regarding our application forms.

What are the admissions deadlines for transfer students?

Transfer students begin their studies at Columbia Law School in the fall term. The application for students entering in fall 2020 opens on May 1, 2020, and the application deadline is July 15. As with our first-year candidates, the Admissions Committee will review transfer applications on a rolling basis in the order in that they are completed.

How many credits are required to apply as a transfer student?

Applicants are eligible to apply for transfer admission once you have accrued a minimum of 28, and a maximum of 32, credits from law schools that are either members of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) or approved by the American Bar Association's section on Legal Education. In some cases, we are able to consider applicants with fewer than 28 and more than 32 credits; applicants to whom this applies must include a written explanation in their application for admission.

Please note that after you have transferred, a review with the Director of Academic Counseling will determine how many of the credits that you earned at your prior school will be eligible toward your Columbia Law School J.D. and whether you have completed Columbia Law School’s core first-year curriculum. Work completed at another law school is generally accepted at the credit value assigned by the original institution, up to a maximum of 32 law credits. Generally, no credit toward the Columbia J.D. is granted for summer school courses or for non-law courses. No credit will be accepted in transfer for courses in which the student has received a grade lower than a C, or, generally, for courses graded on a Pass/Fail system.

At least 83 academic points must be earned in order to complete the Columbia Law School J.D. For students who spent their first year of law school at another U.S. law school, at least 51 of these points must be taken at Columbia Law School, since a maximum of 32 credits may be accepted in transfer. Transfer students must complete four terms of full-time residency at Columbia Law School as a matriculant in the J.D. program.

I will not have completed 28 law credits by July 15, but will exceed the minimum credit requirement by the end of the summer. Can my transfer application be considered provisionally while the remaining credits are fulfilled?

Transfer applicants must have completed a minimum of 28 law credits by the time they apply. In the majority of cases, we are unable to accept law credits from summer classes. If an applicant has completed fewer than 28 credits at the time of application submission, then he or she must provide a written explanation. 

Is a dean’s appraisal/certification form from my current law school required?

Yes. A dean’s appraisal/certification form (or a letter on institutional letterhead) is required from a dean or other administrator who has access to your academic records recommending you for transfer admission and discussing your standing at the law school. We prefer to received these via email (which must come from an official university account, emailed to [email protected]), but they may also be mailed to our office.

In addition, transfer applicants must submit dean's appraisal/certification forms, or equivalent certifications, from every other educational institution at which you have been matriculated toward a degree (regardless of whether a degree was conferred) throughout your educational career.

I applied to Columbia as a first-year applicant to the J.D. program. Is there anything from my previous application that I can still use?

Our office retains application materials for one year and, as a result, some of those materials may be used in transfer admission. However, it is the responsibility of transfer applicants to instruct the Admissions Committee as to which components of their previously submitted application they would like us to consider.

Is there a student organization for transfer and visiting law students at Columbia?

Yes. The Transfer and Visiting Student Organization (TVSO) is open to all students and is primarily designed to ease the transition of transfer and visiting students into the Columbia Law School community.  TVSO aims to achieve its goals by establishing a support network through which these students may gain insight and information about the Law School from experienced students and faculty while providing opportunities for transfer and visiting students to gather and discuss important issues particular to their status.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the organization at [email protected].

Can transfer students participate in the Early Interview Program (EIP) to explore summer associate opportunities for their 2L summer?

Note: this answer applies to the transfer class entering in 2019. Policies and dates regarding the 2020 entering class may change.

Yes. Transfer students are eligible to take part in the Office of Career Services’ Early Interview Program (EIP) for 2L summer associate positions. In order to participate fully in this program, transfer students must be admitted to the Law School at least one week prior to the start of the program. Admitted transfer applicants must also submit their deposit to the Office of Admissions prior to their participation in EIP. Once these conditions are met, newly admitted transfer students will be able to participate in the program, which will take place July 30-August 2, 2019, along with the rest of the rising 2L class.

Is housing available to transfer students?

Our housing office makes every effort to accommodate transfer students; however, on-campus housing for transfer students cannot be guaranteed.

Are transfer students eligible to apply to the Law School’s student journals?

Note: this answer applies to the transfer class entering in 2019. Policies and dates regarding the 2020 entering class may change.

Yes. Transfer students are eligible to apply to participate in all student law journals at Columbia Law School. Each journal has its own application criteria. With the exception of Columbia Law Review, transfer students are informed of application procedures for journal participation upon admission to Columbia Law School as a transfer student. For more information regarding journals other than the Columbia Law Review, please see the Journal website.

2019 Columbia Law Review Transfer Application Process

Transfer students with an interest in the Columbia Law Review may apply in one of two ways: through a transfer application period in from June 28 to July 10 (described below), or the Publishable Notes Program during the academic year.

The transfer application for the Columbia Law Review consists of two elements—the writing component and the personal statement—about which more information may be found on the Columbia Law Review page.

The application period will take place from June 28 at 12:00 P.M. EDT until July 10 at 12:00 P.M. EDT, with offers made to accepted transfer students by phone no later than July 16. Successful applicants who accept an offer must attend the journal's Staffer Orientation on Monday, July 22. Transfer applicants should participate in the journal application process even prior to the submission of an application for Columbia Law School admission and prior to receiving any admissions decision.

Check the Columbia Law Review page for information about how to apply. Any questions about the transfer application process should be directed to Mary Marshall at [email protected]. Questions about the Writing Component should be directed to Daniel Fahrenthold at [email protected].

Do visiting students fill out a separate application for admission?

Yes. Prospective visiting students must apply online, using the Transfer and Visiting Student Application. Please note that some application requirements for transfer and visiting students are significantly different from those of regular J.D. applicants. Please visit the Visiting Students section of our website for more information regarding our application forms.

What are the admissions deadlines for visiting students?

Visiting students begin their studies at Columbia Law School in the fall term. The application for students entering in fall 2020 opens on May 1, 2020, and the application deadline is July 15. Current law students who wish to take upperclass courses at Columbia, but do not plan to matriculate for the Columbia Law School degree, should apply for visiting status. As with our first-year candidates, the Admissions Committee will review visiting applications on a rolling basis in the order in that they are completed.

Is there a student organization for visiting law students at Columbia?

Yes. The Transfer and Visiting Student Organization (TVSO) is open to all students and is primarily designed to ease the transition of transfer and visiting students into the Columbia Law School community.  TVSO aims to achieve its goals by establishing a support network through which these students may gain insight and information about the Law School from experienced students and faculty while providing opportunities for visiting students to gather and discuss important issues particular to their status.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the organization at [email protected].

Is housing available to visiting students?

Our housing office makes every effort to accommodate visiting students; however, on-campus housing for visiting students cannot be guaranteed.

What are the career placement prospects for Columbia Law School graduates?

98% of the Class of 2018 was employed at ten months after graduation in a variety of legal fields and geographic locations.

What opportunities are there for judicial clerkships?

The Law School is among the small handful of law schools that consistently places its students in federal and state court clerkships, ranging from the U.S. Supreme Court and federal circuit and district courts to an array of state and specialty courts. Traditionally, approximately six percent of the graduating class secures judicial clerkships with the help of the Law School's Dean of Judicial Clerkships and the Faculty Clerkship Committee.

View detailed information about clerkship opportunities at Columbia Law School.

I am interested in pursuing a career in the public sector. Can you describe how loan repayment assistance works at Columbia?

Currently recognized as one of the five best in the nation, Columbia Law School was the first American law school to establish a Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for graduates who devote their careers to serving the public interest. Columbia Law School's LRAP has no salary cap and pays most of the law school debt for all graduates in qualifying employment.

In what setting do Columbia Law School graduates typically work?

Columbia Law School graduates truly inhabit the full spectrum of professional niches in the legal arena throughout their respective careers. Opportunities abound, and our alumni routinely find that a Columbia J.D. degree opens any professional door of interest to them.

Approximately 81.6% of Columbia's Class of 2018 chose to join law firms of varying sizes and areas of practice immediately after earning their J.D. degree. 10.2% of the Class of 2018 received judicial clerkships or government positions throughout the country; 5.9% immediately entered public interest, government, or academic positions; and 2% entered the business sector.

In addition, many Columbia Law School graduates who begin their legal careers with judicial clerkships will often pursue positions in the public sector after successfully completing their clerkship experience.  Also, many Columbia Law graduates pursue clerkships after working in other positions for a year or more, and some alumni clerk more than once.

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