1L Roadmap

A month-by-month snapshot of many of the key things to know and do during 1L year.

The 1L Year at a Glance

Time Period: Fall

  • Engage with all of the resources available to you, from orientation events to health and wellness programming to academic and career advising services. 
  • Attend information sessions about opportunities for international study, career options, and more.
  • Join a few of the Law School’s 85-plus student organizations.
  • Perfect your résumé and cover letter, then map out your summer employment plan with the help of career advisers.
  • Prepare for your midterm and final exams, leveraging the guidance and support provided by study groups and academic advisers.

Time Period: Spring

  • Cultivate relationships with faculty, advisers, and professional contacts. 
  • If you are interested in studying abroad, apply for one of our international programs.
  • Research the many pro bono projects that will enable you to complete your graduation requirement.
  • Explore the wide range of career paths Columbia Law School graduates follow by attending panels and info sessions.
  • Apply for summer jobs, journals, and fall externships and clinics. 
  • Develop a plan to stay in touch with your classmates and professors over the summer.

Time Period: Summer

  • Prepare for your 2L fall semester by thinking about your long-term career goals, engaging with advisers, and registering for classes. 
  • If you are writing for a journal, start brainstorming note topics with faculty note supervisors.
  • If you are participating in the private sector Early Interview Program (EIP), work closely with the Office of Career Services to plan and prepare. 

Comments or questions? Reach out to Student Affairs at [email protected].

 

Orientation

  • Attend as many orientation events as possible, including Charting Your Own Course, Speaking in Class, student panels, wellness activities, and Community Service Day. Complete a self-assessment and profile with your academic and career advisers.

Academics

  • Focus on your Legal Methods and LPW studies. If you prefer to study with others, consider forming a study group with classmates.
  • Make an appointment with your academic adviser at Student Services to discuss your academic experience and/or your adjustment to Law School.

Student Life

  • Pick up your ID card from Registration Services.
  • Attend the required Sexual Respect Initiative event.
  • Participate in student organization orientation events throughout the month.

Academics

  • Attend the Moot Court information session.
  • Attend the Global @ CLS information session to learn about the wealth of international opportunities at Columbia Law School.
  • Attend the study abroad general information session to learn about international semester exchange and joint degree programs.
  • Attend the Focus Fridays and Academic Success programs (reading cases, briefing cases, outlining) presented by Student Services.
  • Meet with your academic adviser in Student Services to discuss your classroom experience or any questions you have about study skills.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Attend Introduction to Professional Formation.
  • Attend citywide Public Interest Legal Career Reception for new students. (Most students do a public interest internship in their first summer.)
  • Attend the Joint SJI-OCS résumé session and the SJI job search strategies and cover letter sessions.
  • Attend SJI Mondays and other practitioner events.
  • Check out the Careers in Law Teaching program and join their mailing list.

Student Life

  • Attend programs about adjusting to law school, self-care, and other health and wellness programming.
  • Attend the Block Party and Pro Bono Fair to learn about student organizations and service projects.
  • Continue to participate in student organization orientation events throughout the month.

Academics

  • Attend information sessions on specific semester abroad, Global Alliance, and international joint degree programs.
  • Plan for your spring elective by attending faculty-led panels, student-to-student information sessions, and faculty office hours. Meet with your advisers in Student Services, Career Services (OCS), Office of Judicial Clerkships (OJC), and Social Justice Initiatives (SJI).
  • Continue to build your skills by attending Focus Friday programs on time management, outlining, and more.
  • Prepare for your midterm exams on October 25. (October 24 will be a study day.)
  • Pre-register for your January Legal Methods II course and your spring elective between October 14 to 18.
  • Add/Drop your January elective course between October 22 and 26 as needed. (Add/Drop for spring courses will be in January.)

Careers and Professional Development

  • Prior to meeting with advisers about your 1L summer, review the Practice Area Guides (login required) created by Social Justice Initiatives (SJI).
  • Starting October 15, meet with your career advisers in both OCS (private sector) and SJI (public sector).
  • Register for Guaranteed Summer Funding. (Registration runs run October 1 through November 30.)
  • Continue to attend programs with practitioners to learn about different areas of practice.

Student Life

  • Attend the Spring Break Pro Bono Caravans information session to learn about exciting public service opportunities in both the United States and abroad.

Academics

  • Keep an eye out for emails from Registration Services regarding exams.
  • Attend Focus Friday and Academic Success programs on exam prepping and exam taking.

Careers and Professional Development

Student Life

  • Apply to participate in a Spring Break Pro Bono Caravan by the deadline.

Academics

  • Focus on your exams. Meet with your academic adviser as needed regarding exam prep.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Research summer job opportunities and meet with your advisers in OCS and SJI to discuss your interests.
  • Begin applying for 1L summer jobs—public interest, private sector, and government—on December 1. (A national rule prohibits applying before this date.)
  • Register for and participate in the Practice Interview Program hosted by OCS.
  • Finalize your résumé and cover letters, taking note of the different formatting guidelines provided for public interest (SJI) and private sector (OCS) employers.
  • If you are hoping to work in your hometown in your 2L summer and are traveling home for the holidays, reach out to potential employers to meet with them over break.
  • R.S.V.P. on Symplicity and attend home for the holidays events in your city.
  • If you are considering applying for a postgraduate judicial clerkship, register as “Clerkship Search Active” in Symplicity and sign up to participate in the Clerkship Pipeline Project as “Clerkship Curious.”

Student Life

  • Take advantage of counseling hours and check out other Law School- and university-sponsored wellness programs.

Academics

  • Add/Drop your elective as needed and take note of your final schedule, including exams.
  • Pick up your fall term exams and take advantage of your professors' posted office hours if you need to discuss them.
  • Continue to build your skills by attending programs on learning from the fall term, getting to know faculty, and more.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Continue to research summer job opportunities, apply for jobs (and follow up on applications already submitted), and meet with your advisers in OCS and SJI to discuss your progress.
  • Attend Law Firm Networking Night during the J-term and individual firm receptions to learn about and meet Early Interview Program employers.
  • Register for and participate in the Practice Interview Program (private sector: OCS) and Mock Interview Program (public sector: SJI).
  • If you are interested in a career in academia, attend the weekly Careers in Law Teaching workshop.
  • If you are considering public service or public interest law as a career, attend SJI’s Planning and Financing Your Public Interest Career series throughout the spring term.
  • If you are curious about clerkships, attend OJC's Clerkships 101 for 1Ls.

Academics

  • Attend Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Information Session.
  • Apply for joint degree programs in Paris, London, or Frankfurt that will entail spending your entire 3L year abroad. (You must apply your 1L year, as you will plan your 2L year accordingly to fulfill all J.D. requirements.) Apply for semester exchange or Paris Global Alliance programs if you plan to go during the 2L spring semester.
  • Begin thinking about taking a clinic, externship, or other experiential opportunity in the fall term and watch out for information about applying.
  • Start thinking about opportunities for Research Assistant (RA) and Teaching Fellow (TF) positions during your 1L summer and/or 2L year by reaching out to professors in whose classes you excelled during your first semester.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Attend the Public Interest Legal Career (PILC) Fair to interview and table talk with potential 1L summer employers.
  • Continue to research summer job opportunities, apply for jobs (and follow up on applications already submitted), and meet with your advisers in OCS and SJI to discuss your progress.
  • Participate in the Spring On-Campus Interview program for 1Ls.
  • Register for and attend the Beyond the First Job program co-hosted by OCS and SJI.
  • Register for and participate in the Practice Interview Program (private sector: OCS) and Mock Interview Program (public sector: SJI).
  • Attend individual firm receptions to learn about Early Interview Program employers.
  • If you will be receiving Guaranteed Summer Funding, attend a mandatory paperwork and orientation session.
  • If you are in the Human Rights Internship Program (HRIP), attend weekly trainings.
  • If you are considering public service or public interest law as a career, attend SJI’s Planning and Financing Your Public Interest Career series throughout the spring term.
  • If you are interested in a career in academia, attend the weekly Careers in Law Teaching workshop.
  • Attend Bar Application Information Session.

Student Life

  • Attend information sessions on student organization leadership opportunities and consider running for a board position.

Academics

  • Attend the Experiential Learning Application Overview to learn about clinics, externships, and other experiential learning opportunities in the fall term. Attend individual practice area info sessions to learn more about these offerings. (Applications will be due later in the spring term.)
  • Attend Do the Write Thing! to start learning about the Law School’s writing requirements, what journal work entails, and why joining a journal might be right for you.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Continue to research summer job opportunities, apply for jobs (and follow up on applications already submitted), and meet with your advisers in OCS and SJI to discuss your progress.
  • Attend the Private Sector Career Symposium and individual firm receptions.
  • Participate in the Spring On-Campus Interview program for 1Ls.
  • If you are in the Human Rights Internship Program (HRIP), attend weekly trainings.
  • If you are considering public service or public interest law as a career, attend Moving Forward sessions.
  • Register for and participate in the Practice Interview Program (OCS) and Mock Interview Program (SJI).
  • If you are interested in a career in academia, attend the weekly Careers in Law Teaching workshop.

Student Life

  • Run for a student organization leadership position.
  • Consider applying to be a Peer Mentor or Sexual Respect Initiative Facilitator for incoming students in the fall.

Academics

  • Apply for fall externships and clinics and other experiential learning opportunities that will satisfy the experiential credit requirement.
  • Attend Academic Success programs on planning your 2L and 3L years.
  • Consider applying to be a student editor in the Moot Court/LPW program.
  • Keep an eye out for programs on note writing.
  • Keep an eye out for communications from Registration Services regarding fall pre-registration.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Attend Early Interview Program (EIP) Orientation.
  • Participate in the Spring On-Campus Interview program for 1Ls.
  • If you are in the Human Rights Internship Program (HRIP), attend weekly trainings.
  • Continue to research summer job opportunities, apply for jobs (and follow up on applications already submitted), and meet with your advisers in OCS and SJI to discuss your progress.
  • If you are interested in a career in academia, attend the weekly Careers in Law Teaching workshop.
  • Attend 1L summer preparatory programs in professionalism, ethics, and resilience to prepare for your summer internship.
  • Attend the Clerkships Pipeline Project program and other judicial events and lectures.

Student Life

  • Attend Journal Day to learn everything there is to know about Columbia's 14 fantastic law journals. Participate in the Early Journal Application Process if you are interested in joining a specialized law journal. (Most students wait to apply until the Regular Journal Application Process.)

Academics

  • Focus on your exams.

Student Life

  • After exams end, participate in the Columbia Law Review’s Write-On Competition.
  • Apply to journals through the Regular Journal Application Process. (Results will be released by the end of June.)

Academics

  • Pre-register for classes, meeting with your various advisers as needed as you plan your schedule.
  • Learn which journal you matched with during the Journal Application Process and start brainstorming possible note topics and faculty note supervisors. Check out the Faculty Webinar on Student Note Writing for tips on getting started, then review the Journal Credits Overview to learn about the types of credit you may be able to earn in connection with your journal work.
  • Continue to think about how you might explore experiential learning opportunities as a 2L.
  • Explore opportunities for RA and TF positions during your 1L summer or 2L year by reaching out to professors in whose classes you excelled during your first two semesters.

Careers and Professional Development

  • Throughout the summer, review weekly emails from OCS and SJI to start thinking ahead to your 2L summer.
  • If you are participating in EIP this summer, update your résumé and meet with your OCS adviser as you prepare your bid list.
  • Bid for EIP interviews.
  • Keep an eye out for emails about deadlines for Fall On-Campus Interviews (OCI), which can be quite early, and start to prepare to apply/bid. Both private and public sector employers will participate.
  • Complete a summer employment evaluation on Symplicity.
  • If you are considering applying for postgraduate judicial clerkships, register as a Clerkship Peer Mentee and discuss your plans with faculty and an OJC adviser.

Student Life

  • Social Justice Initiatives often hosts small networking events for students working for the summer in cities with active grads, as well as larger summer student/grad receptions in NYC and D.C. Keep an eye out for invitations.
  • Apply to be a Peer Mentor or Sexual Respect Initiative Facilitator.
  • Start thinking about doing pro bono in the fall and exploring different projects.
  • Consider joining a new student organization.