Planning Events

The Office of Student Services is here to assist in making your next event a success! This guide will lead you through the various steps you will take in organizing your event, with the goal of making your project stress-free. Please review the guide at your convenience, and don’t hesitate to contact studentorganiza[email protected] if you have any questions.

 

Updated July 7, 2021: Policies and guidelines are subject to change, we advise you to consistently check the Law School COVID-19 Frequently Asked Question or email [email protected] before planning an event.

Planning and hosting an event is tremendously worthwhile for your organization.  Although there are a number of policies to follow, this section sets them out for you to make your job that much easier.  Of course, you should always feel free to come to Student Services or, as applicable and set forth in this Handbook, another Columbia Law School Office, with any questions.

STEP ONE: CHOOSE A DATE

In an effort to avoid conflicting programs, please check the following calendars well in advance of the event (e.g., a month or more prior):

o   Law Cal (LawCal)

o   Student Organization & Affinity Groups Calendars

o   Student Affairs Calendar

o   Dates when room reservations are limited

STEP TWO: ROOM RESERVATION

  • The Room Reservations Handbook is a resource you should review before submitting a room reservation request. All requests for space must be submitted to Room Reservations via Virtual EMS. Please review the Room Reservations page for additional information on available law school rooms, including their capacity and AV capabilities.
  • Please contact Room Reservations after you have consulted the Room Reservations Handbook and ask any questions you still might have.
  • If you would like to reserve a room or space at another Columbia University School or venue (such as the auditorium at Lerner Hall or any outdoor space at the University) please contact Jeff Bagares as far in advance as possible. Some spaces at the University must be reserved in the semester prior to the one during which the event is held.
  • Depending on the date and time, you might be charged to use the space, please review pages 27 & 28 for additional information.

STEP THREE: INVITING A SPEAKER

Extend an invitation to the individuals you would like to speak via e-mail or mail.

  • If your student organization is covering travel expenses for your guests (airfare, lodging, cab fare) please speak with Jeff Bagares at least 6 weeks before the expenses will be incurred. Only designated staff, travel arrangers, can book travel on behalf of Students and Guests. Please note that all travel requires a Detailed Business Purpose addressing the 5 W’s: Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  • If the person is a head of state, head of government, cabinet minister, high government official or leader, or is considered high profile or controversial, please let Jeff Bagares know as soon as possible but not less than 10 business days before the event. If the person is a federal or state court judge or senior court administrator, please refer to the section below entitled “The Judiciary.”   Please note, events including any of the aforementioned will require an event review by Student Services and/or another applicable Columbia Law School Office as set forth in this Handbook.
    • Carefully review the University's Policy on Partisan Political Activity before you plan any action or event sponsored with a political party or candidate.
    • If your guests require special security, your student organization will be charged the additional security fees.
    • If you aren’t sure if your invited speaker or guests fall in this category, please reach out to [email protected] and, if applicable, any other Columbia Law School Office that may require “Additional Outreach” as set forth below.

STEP FOUR: ADDITIONAL OUTREACH

Students Organizations that are planning career or professional events should first coordinate with the relevant Columbia Law School Office:

  • Private Sector: If your student organization is planning to host a program on any of the following topics please send the date, names of law firm(s) and speakers to Sonovia Harmon ([email protected]) in the Office of Career Services. Please note, the Office of Career Services schedules annual meetings in the late summer/early fall with student groups that actively plan career related programming.
    • Recruiting/Job Search/On-Campus Interviewing
    • Interviewing and Networking skills
    • Professional Development and On-the-Job Issues
    • On-Campus Networking Receptions
    • Resumes for Private Sector Jobs
  • Public Interest: SJI has a limited amount of funds for co-sponsorship of student programs that address SJI core issues and careers. These funds need to be used fairly and where they will have the greatest impact. Please notify Natalie Stephenson ([email protected]) of SJI as far in advance as possible and coordinate with her if you would like to co-host a public interest event with SJI. Please keep in mind that we will need to be directly involved in the planning and likely only be able to contribute a portion of the total cost of the event. After receiving a request, SJI will do an internal assessment based on objective criteria to determine whether we can co-sponsor the event. Please notify Natalie Stephenson ([email protected]) of SJI ([email protected]) as far in advance as possible and coordinate with her for any of the events with any of the themes listed below:
    • Public Interest/Public Service at Columbia
    • Pro Bono
    • Post-Graduate Fellowships
    • Summer Internships and Legal Careers in Public Interest, Government and International Human Rights
    • Alumni in Public Interest or Government
    • LRAP
    • Resumes for Public Sector Jobs
  • The Courts, the Judiciary, and Judicial Clerkships: The Office of Judicial Clerkships (OJC) provides institutional support to student organizations with respect to their efforts to bring the Courts to Columbia and Columbia to the Courts.  As part of its work, OJC will often co-sponsor and/or otherwise assist student organizations in coordinating the advertisement, promotion, and reservations related to a student organization’s program, lecture or event where the guest speakers will include judges, court administrators or law clerks (particularly, alumni law clerks).  OJC also works with other Columbia Law School Offices and the Faculty Clerkships Committee, as appropriate, to ensure institutional coordination with respect to the Law School’s interactions with this important constituency. 

    If your student organization is planning to host a program, lecture, or any other event where a judge, court administrator, or law clerk will be a guest speaker or participant in any capacity and/or there will be a discussion regarding the judiciary, the courts or clerkships, please send the 5 Ws in an email to George Kusserow ([email protected]) in OJC as far as advance as possible (ideally, at least a month prior). Please note, OJC schedules annual meetings in the late summer/early fall with student groups that actively plan judicial career related programming.  Further, to the extent that OJC’s co-sponsorship or assistance is not sought, but a student organization will host such programs, events, or lectures at the Law School, OJC requires that student organizations provide it with similar advance notice.
  • Alumni: If you are inviting Columbia Law School alumni to participate in an event, please work with Brooke Ruskaup ([email protected]), Senior Director of Alumni Relations, and Katrina Sullivan ([email protected]), Associate Director of Alumni Relations in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations as well as Jeff Bagares.
    • If you would like to invite alumni to your event as attendees, but require access to the alumni database, you should contact Brooke, Katrina, and Jeff with a copy of the invitation you would like to distribute. Please provide as much prior notice as possible, but no less than four weeks’ notice.
    • If you would like to invite alumni to your event, as either speakers or attendees, and have independently obtained contact information, you may contact those alumni directly, but should provide Brooke Ruskaup and  Katrina Sullivan with the names of the alumni you plan to contact and the reason for the contact.

NOTE: The Development Office has requested at least 4 weeks’ notice prior to the date that you would like your invitations (or “save the date” notices) distributed. Keep in mind that, for events whose success depends on robust alumni attendance, you should plan on having your invitations distributed at least two months before the date of your event.

  • Externships, Moot Court, and Legal Writing: If your event will involve Externships, Moot Court, or Legal Writing, please reach out to Sarah Shin ([email protected]), Assistant Director of Externships, Legal Writing, and Moot Court Programs as far in advance as possible, but not less than 2 weeks before the event so that your organization can coordinate with her.

STEP FIVE: ADVERTISING AND PUBLICITY

Student organizations have multiple options for advertising and publicizing their events. Student organizations can use:

  • LawCal – The Law School advertises events via the Law Calendar (LawCal). LawCal events are included in a daily email to students and also appear on the Law School's monitor in JG Lobby. Please complete an Event Submission Form as soon as the details for your event are finalized. Any updates or changes to your original description should be e-mailed to [email protected].
  • Google Group - Student organizations can also send out emails regarding upcoming events to all students subscribed to their group.  This is probably the most often utilized method of event publicity.
  • Front Email - Student organizations have their own inbox management where they can receive and send out emails to students subscribed to their organization and external parties by using Front app.
  • Organization Website - You should also consider how best to utilize your organization's website both to publicize events in advance and to use your "web presence" to keep interested people abreast of your organization's activities in general.
  • The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs is committed to providing as much publicity for student-run events as possible. If you think that Public Affairs might be interested in covering an event hosted by your organization, please contact Jeff Bagares as far in advance as possible but no less than 2 weeks before the event to discuss.

STEP SIX: CATERING

When ordering food, please be sensitive to the range of dietary restrictions reflected in our student body, including Kosher, Vegetarian/Vegan, gluten-free, and various food allergies. If possible, add healthy options.

All food delivery and drop-off on campus do not require a contract and payment is made against an invoice. However, a contract is required for events of 30 or more attendees. Please refer to Events Contracts on page 22.

A purchase order is strictly required for catered events that include waitstaff or other labor. Please know that if alcohol is served, an NYC temporary Catering Permit is also required for each day of the event. Please refer to Purchase Orders on page 24.

You must follow the alcohol policy if you plan on serving alcohol at your event.

We strongly encourage you to choose from one of these Preferred Caterers when catering on campus: Alice on Six, Food Trends, Gracious Thyme, Cloud Catering, Kitchenette, Scholastic, Sterling Affair, Corner Cafe, Between the Bread (Blake & Todd), Dig Inn Seasonal Market

STEP SEVEN: PAYING FOR THE EVENT

A student can NEVER sign a contract on behalf of student organizations or the University

Below you will find a summary of the different ways the Law School can pay a vendor on your organization’s behalf. Please note, though, that not all payment methods may be used in all situations. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your treasurer in advance of the event and to read pages 20 to 25, which provide more in-depth details.

 

  • Letter of Credit (LOC): Only student organization Treasurers can obtain a LOC from Student Services. Once obtained, the Treasurer can "hand it off" to another member of your organization to actually conduct the transaction with the vendor.
  • Limited Use Credit Card: Student Services has access to a limited use credit card, which we refer to as the P-card.  Of particular importance to student organizations, the card may be used to purchase Books, Subscriptions, Memberships, Conference fees, Postage, Supplies and materials (not available at Staples), Promotional items from Approved Promotional Vendors, Food/Meals delivered on campus (strictly delivered and consumed on campus), if you would like to use this,  please email [email protected].
  • A Purchase Order (PO): Certain goods and services require the issuance of a  Purchase Order (PO). A requisition, which is a request for a Purchase Order, must be submitted to the Student Organizations in order to be initiated. Any goods and services that require the issuance of a Purchase Order, cannot be ordered and work cannot commence until a requisition has been approved by the Central Purchasing and a Purchase Order has been issued.
  • Invoice: An invoice prepared and submitted by an approved vendor can be paid by the Law School. Please note that Columbia University is a tax-exempt organization. Sales tax should never be included in the amount to be paid. You can obtain a tax-exempt form by requesting it to [email protected].
  • Honorarium: An honorarium payment is a gratuitous payment to a lecturer or a professional person outside the University community (not a University faculty, staff member, or student) as an expression of thanks. It is taxable income and is reportable to the Internal Revenue Service. Honorarium payments should not exceed $250.00.
  • Student Prizes & Awards: Awards to Columbia students who receive Financial Aid must be submitted to the Financial Aid office for processing. Awards to Columbia students who do not receive Financial Aid, or payments to non-Columbia students, may be submitted to Student Organizations for processing, and do not need to go through the Financial Aid office. If your student organization does not know whether or not a student receives Financial Aid, check with the student organizations first to determine the appropriate route for payment. Please note, prizes are won in a competition; awards are achieved or granted.
  • Student Reimbursement: This should be considered a last resort. Please be aware that it may take several weeks to process a reimbursement request and the Law School cannot guarantee that it will issue a reimbursement before a student is required to pay for a charge that appears on their credit card statement. The Law School will not reimburse students for any finance charges incurred on a personal credit card. So before a member of your organization pays for any expenses out-of-pocket, explore with Student Organizations whether that is the only payment method available.

Students have really enjoyed the fact that retreats give the opportunity to bond, build community and get away from the city for a couple of days! In order to ensure a successful retreat, please review the following steps.

STEP ONE: CHOOSE A DATE

 

 In an effort to avoid conflicting programs please check the following calendars well in advance of the event:

o   Law Cal

o   Student Organization and Affinity Groups Calendars

o   Student Affairs Calendar

 

STEP TWO: CHOOSE A LOCATION

Student Services maintains a list of approved retreat locations that other student organizations have used in the past.  New venues can be added to this list, but this entails a University approval process that requires additional planning time.  Even once a venue has been approved, the contracting process can be time-consuming, and you should allow 3 weeks for drafts to be exchanged and a contract to be signed.

 

STEP THREE: PAYING FOR THE RETREAT AND MISCELLANEOUS COSTS

A student can NEVER sign a contract on behalf of student organizations or the University.

Below you will find a summary of the different ways the Law School can pay a vendor on your organization’s behalf. Please note, though, that not all payment methods may be used in all situations. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your treasurer in advance of the event and to read pages 20 to 25, which provide more in depth details.

  • Letter of Credit (LOC): Only student organization Treasurers can obtain a LOC from Student Services. Once obtained, the Treasurer can "hand it off" to another member of your organization to actually conduct the transaction with the vendor.
  • Contracts: Student organizations are encouraged to hold events at venues outside of Columbia University. If your organization will be staying at a venue overnight, such as a retreat, a contract is mandatory. Once vetted, an amendment may be created and sent to the vendor for signature. If the vendor does not require a contract, but Columbia requires one for events of 30 or more attendees or events like retreat, please contact student organizations and we will draft a contract. All contracts need to be submitted by your organization to [email protected] with the subject: Event Contract_Vendor’s Name_Date
    • It may take as many as three weeks for a contract to be reviewed and approved, so please plan accordingly.
    • If the venue you plan to use is not in the University's financial system, it will take approximately one to two additional weeks to add it.  Student Services can verify whether or not a venue is in the financial system by emailing [email protected].
  • Limited Use Credit Card: Student Services has access to a limited use credit card, which we refer to as the P-card.  Of particular importance to student organizations, the card may be used to purchase Books, Subscriptions, Memberships, Conference fees, Postage, Supplies and materials (not available at Staples), Promotional items from Approved Promotional Vendors, Food/Meals delivered on campus (strictly delivered and consumed on campus) please email [email protected].
  • A Purchase Order (PO): Certain goods and services require the issuance of a  Purchase Order (PO). A requisition, which is a request for a Purchase Order, must be submitted to the Student Organizations in order to be initiated. Any goods and services that require the issuance of a Purchase Order, cannot be ordered and work cannot commence until a requisition has been approved by the Central Purchasing and a Purchase Order has been issued
  • Invoice: An invoice prepared and submitted by an approved vendor can be paid by the Law School. Please note that Columbia University is a tax-exempt organization. Sales tax should never be included in the amount to be paid. You can obtain a tax-exempt form by requesting it to [email protected].
  • Student Reimbursement: This should be considered a last resort. Please be aware that it may take several weeks to process a reimbursement request and the Law School cannot guarantee that it will issue a reimbursement before a student is required to pay for a charge that appears on their credit card statement. The Law School will not reimburse students for any finance charges incurred on a personal credit card. So before a member of your organization pays for any expenses out-of-pocket, explore with Student Organizations whether that is the only payment method available.
  • Transportation: Columbia Transportation provides bus and van charter services and it requires 3 weeks in advance in order to guarantee a bus. Quotes and reservation can be made by completing a Charter Request Form and it should be completed to obtain quote(s) for charger services. Upon receipt, Columbia Transportation will provide a quote within 2-3 business days.  Visit this website for more information.

 

STEP FOUR: REGISTER YOUR RETREAT

Once you solidify your retreat plans, please email Student Organizations at [email protected] the following information. Columbia Law School’s Business Office will not process any paperwork/payment related to the retreat without this information:

  1. Name of Organization
  2. Date of Retreat
  3. Name of Organization's
  4. Contact Person
  5. Contact Person's UNI
  6. Purpose of Retreat
  7. Budget
  8. Approval Letter from the Dean of Students

Once this information is received, you will receive a copy of a waiver that all members who are attending must sign and return to Student Services at least two business days before the retreat.

 

STEP ONE: CHOOSE A DATE

 

In an effort to avoid conflicting programs please check the following calendars well in advance of the event:

o   Law Cal

o   Student Organization and Affinity Groups Calendars

o   Student Affairs Calendar

 

STEP TWO: BUDGET

 

There are a whole host of factors to consider when budgeting for a conference and gala.  Please find a list of venues and vendors Columbia Law School Student Organizations have used in the past.

 STEP THREE: SECURING A VENUE

Once you have decided on a venue and it is available to host your event, please email [email protected] as soon as possible to discuss payment. Please reach out to Student Organizations no later than 6 weeks before your event. You will more than likely have to enter into a contract to facilitate payment to the venue.

A student may NEVER sign a contract on behalf of student organizations or the University.

Some area venues have a master agreement with the University which allows for a slightly expedited, certainly more streamlined method of approval. A list of vendors and venues with a master agreement can be found here.

 If your off campus event meets any of the following criteria, you must have a contract signed by the University:

  • Food and alcohol will be served at your event and 29 or more attendees are expected.
  • Food will be served at your event and 29 or more attendees are expected.
  • Your event involves an activity that raises issues of physical safety of physical safety (e.g., laser tag).
  • Your organization will be staying at a venue overnight, such as a retreat.

If you have a contract or master agreement, please forward it to [email protected]. If the venue doesn't have a contract, please let Student Organizations know and we will have a contract prepared for you by the Business Office. It will take as many as three weeks for a contract to be reviewed and approved, so please plan accordingly. If the venue you plan to use is not in the University's financial system, it will take approximately one to two additional weeks to add it.  Student Organizations can verify whether or not a venue is in the financial system by speaking to Jeff Bagares.

 

STEP FOUR: SPEAKERS AND GUESTS

Extend an invitation to the individuals you would like to speak via e-mail or mail.  If your student organization is covering travel expenses for your guests (airfare, lodging, cab fare) please speak with Jeff Bagares at least 6 weeks before the expenses will be incurred. Only designated staff, travel arrangers, can book travel on behalf of Students and Guests. Please note that all travel requires a Detailed Business Purpose addressing the 5 W’s: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

If the person is a head of state, head of government, cabinet minister, high government official or leader, is considered high profile or controversial, please let Jeff Bagares know as soon as possible but not less than 10 business days before the event. Please note, events including any of the aforementioned will require an event review.

o   Carefully review the University's Policy on Partisan Political Activity before you plan any action or event sponsored with a political party or candidate.

o   If your guests require special security, your student organization will be charged the additional security fees.

o   If you aren’t sure if your invited speaker or guests fall in this category, please reach out to [email protected].

 

Additional Outreach

If you are inviting a speaker or bestowing an award to an attorney who works for the private sector please contact Sonovia Harmon. If you are inviting a speaker or bestowing an award to an attorney who works in the public interest sector please contact Natalie Stephenson. If you are inviting or bestowing an award to a judge, please contact George Kusserow. If the speaker is also an alum please notify Brooke Ruskaup and Katrina Sullivan.

STEP FIVE: PUBLICIZING AND INVITING ALUMNI

Student organizations have multiple options for advertising and publicizing their events. Student organizations can use:

  • LawCal – The Law School advertises events via the Law Calendar (LawCal). LawCal events are included in a daily email to students and also appear on the Law School's monitor in JG Lobby. Please complete an Event Submission Form as soon as the details for your event are finalized. Any updates or changes to your original description should be e-mailed to [email protected].
  • Google Group - Student organizations can also send out emails regarding upcoming events to all students subscribed to their organization.  This is probably the most often utilized method of event publicity.
  • Front Email - Student organizations have their own inbox management where they can receive and send out emails to students subscribed to their organization and external parties by using Front app.
  • Organization Website - You should also consider how best to utilize your organization's website both to publicize events in advance and to use your "web presence" to keep interested people abreast of your organization's activities in general.
  • The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs is committed to providing as much publicity for student-run events as possible. If you think that Public Affairs might be interested in covering an event hosted by your organization, please contact Jeff Bagares as far in advance as possible but no less than 2 weeks before the event to discuss.

If you would like to invite alumni but do not have their contact information, contact Katrina Sullivan at least four weeks in advance with the details of your event, the alumni you wish to contact and why you want to contact them.

STEP SIX: PAYING FOR EXPENSES

A student may NEVER sign a contract on behalf of student organizations or the University.

Below you will find a summary of the different ways the Law School can pay a vendor on your organization’s behalf. Please note, though, that not all payment methods may be used in all situations. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your treasurer in advance of the event and read pages 20 to 25 which provide more in depth details.

 

  • Letter of Credit (LOC): Only student organization Treasurers can obtain a LOC from Student Services. Once obtained, the Treasurer can "hand it off" to another member of your organization to actually conduct the transaction with the vendor.
  • Limited Use Credit Card: Student services has access to a limited use credit card, which we refer to as the P-card. Of particular importance to student organizations, the card may be used to purchase books, subscriptions, memberships, conference fees, postage, supplies and materials (not available at Staples). Promotional items from  approved promotional vendors, food/meals delivered on campus (strictly delivered and consumed on campus. If you would like to use this, please email [email protected].
  • Contracts: Student organizations are encouraged to hold events at venues outside of Columbia University. If your organization is holding a conference, gala, banquet with more than 30 attendees, a contract is mandatory. Once vetted, an amendment may be created and sent to the vendor for signature. If the vendor does not require a contract, but Columbia requires one for events over 30 or more attendees or events such as, please contact student organizations and we will draft a contract. All contracts need to be submitted by your organization to student [email protected] with the subject: Event Contract_Vendor’s Name_Date.

 

  • Some area vendors have a master agreement with the university which allows for a slightly expedited, certainly more streamlined method of approval. A list of vendors and venues with a master agreement can be found here.
  •  It may take as many as three weeks for a contract to be reviewed and approved, so please plan accordingly.
  •  If the venue you plan to use is not in the University's financial system it will take approximately one to two additional weeks to add it.  Student Services can verify whether or not a venue is in the financial system by emailing [email protected].
  • A Purchase Order (PO): Certain goods and services require the issuance of a  Purchase Order (PO). A requisition, which is a request for a Purchase Order, must be submitted to the Student Organizations in order to be initiated. Any goods and services that require the issuance of a Purchase Order, cannot be ordered and work cannot commence until a requisition has been approved by the Central Purchasing and a Purchase Order has been issued.
  •  Honorarium: An honorarium payment is a gratuitous payment to a lecturer or a professional person outside the University community (not a University faculty, staff member or students) as an expression of thanks. It is taxable income and is reportable to the Internal Revenue Service. Honorarium payments should not exceed $250.00.
  • Invoice: An invoice prepared and submitted by an approved vendor can be paid by the Law School. Please note that Columbia University is a tax-exempt organization. Sales tax should never be included in the amount to be paid. You can obtain a tax-exempt form by requesting it to [email protected].
  • Student Prizes & Awards: Awards to Columbia students who receive Financial Aid must be submitted to the Financial Aid office for processing. Awards to Columbia students who do not receive Financial Aid, or payments to non-Columbia students, may be submitted to Student Organizations for processing, and do not need to go through the Financial Aid office. If your student organization does not know whether or not a student receives Financial Aid, check with the student organizations first to determine the appropriate route for payment. Please note, prizes are won in a competition; awards are achieved or granted.
  • Student Reimbursement: This should be considered a last resort. Please be aware that it may take several weeks to process a reimbursement request and the Law School cannot guarantee that it will issue a reimbursement before a student is required to pay for a charge that appears on their credit card statement. The Law School will not reimburse students for any finance charges incurred on a personal credit card.

 

 

 

 

 

Planning and Hosting Virtual  Events

For a variety of reasons, you may find it challenging to bring people together in the same space and you may end up organizing a virtual event.

STEP ONE: CHOOSE A DATE

In an effort to avoid conflicting programs, please check the following calendars well in advance of the event:

  • Law Calendar (LawCal)
  • Student Organization and Affinity Groups Calendars
  • Student Affairs Calendar
  • Dates when rooms reservations are limited

STEP TWO: INVITING A SPEAKER & ADDITIONAL OUTREACH

Extend an invitation to the individuals you would like to speak via e-mail or mail. If your student organization is covering travel expenses for your guests(airfare, lodging, cab fare) please speak with Jeff Bagares at least 6 weeks before the expenses will be incurred. Only designated staff, travel arrangers, can book travel on behalf of Students and Guests. Please note that all travel requires a Detailed Business Purpose addressing the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Student organizations and journals that are planning a career or professional events should coordinate with the relevant office within the Law School:

  • Private Sector: If your student organization is planning to host a program on any of the following topics please send the information the date, names of law firm(s) and speakers to Sonovia Harmon ([email protected]) in the Office of Career Services. Please note, the Office of Career Services schedules annual meetings in the late summer/early fall with student groups that actively plan career related programming.
    •  Recruiting/Job Search/On-Campus Interviewing
    •  Interviewing and Networking skills
    • Professional Development and On-the-Job Issues
    • On-Campus Networking Receptions
    • Resumes for Private Sector Jobs
  • Public Interest: SJI has a limited amount of funds for co-sponsorship of student programs that address SJI core issues and careers. These funds need to be used fairly and where they will have the greatest impact. Please notify Natalie Stephenson ([email protected]) of SJI as far in advance as possible and coordinate with her if you would like to co-host a public interest event with SJI. Please keep in mind that we will need to be directly involved in the planning and likely only be able to contribute a portion of the total cost of the event. After receiving a request, SJI will do an internal assessment based on objective criteria to determine whether we can co-sponsor the event. Please notify Natalie Stephenson ([email protected]) of SJI ([email protected]) as far in advance as possible and coordinate with her for any of the events listed below:
    • Public Interest/Public Service at Columbia
    • Pro Bono
    • Post-Graduate Fellowships
    • Summer Internships and Legal Careers in Public Interest, Government and International Human Rights
    • Alumni in Public Interest or Government
    • LRAP
    • Resumes for Public Sector Jobs
  • The Courts, the Judiciary and Judicial ClerkshipsThe Office of Judicial Clerkships (OJC) provides institutional support to student organizations with respect to their efforts to bring the Courts to Columbia and Columbia to the Courts.  As part of its work, OJC will often co-sponsor and/or otherwise assist student organizations in coordinating the advertisement, promotion, and reservations related to a student organization’s program, lecture or event where the guest speakers will include judges, court administrators or law clerks (particularly, alumni law clerks).  OJC also works with other Columbia Law School Offices and the Faculty Clerkships Committee, as appropriate, to ensure institutional coordination with respect to the Law School’s interactions with this important constituency.

    If your student organization is planning to host a program, lecture, or any other event where a judge, court administrator, or law clerk will be a guest speaker or participant in any capacity and/or there will be a discussion regarding the judiciary, the courts or clerkships, please send the 5 Ws in an email to George Kusserow ([email protected]) in OJC as far as advance as possible (ideally, at least a month prior). Please note, OJC schedules annual meetings in the late summer/early fall with student groups that actively plan judicial career related programming.  Further, to the extent that OJC’s co-sponsorship or assistance is not sought, but a student organization will host such programs, events, or lectures at the Law School, OJC requires that student organizations provide it with similar advance notice.
  • Alumni: If you are inviting Columbia Law School alumni to participate in an event, please work with Brooke Ruskaup ([email protected]), Senior Director of Alumni Relations, and Katrina Sullivan ([email protected]), Associate Director of Alumni Relations in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations as well as Jeff Bagares.
    • If you would like to invite alumni to your event as attendees, but require access to the alumni database, you should contact Brooke, Katrina, and Jeff with a copy of the invitation you would like to distribute. Please provide as much prior notice as possible, but no less than four weeks’ notice.
    • If you would like to invite alumni to your event, as either speakers or attendees, and have independently obtained contact information, you may contact those alumni directly, but should provide Brooke Ruskaup and  Katrina Sullivan with the names of the alumni you plan to contact and the reason for the contact.

NOTE: The Development Office has requested at least 4 weeks’ notice prior to the date that you would like your invitations (or “save the date” notices) distributed, keep in mind that, for events whose success depends on robust alumni attendance, you should plan on having your invitations distributed at least two months before the date of your event.

  • Externships, Moot Court, and Legal Writing: If your event will involve Externships, Moot Court, or Legal Writing, please reach out to Sarah Shin ([email protected]), Assistant Director of Externships, Legal Writing, and Moot Court Programs as far in advance as possible, but not less than 2 weeks before the event so that you organization can coordinate with her

 

STEP THREE: ADVERTISING AND PUBLICIZING YOUR EVENT

Student organizations have multiple options for advertising and publicizing their events. Student organizations can use:

  • LawCal – The Law School advertises events via the Law Calendar (LawCal). LawCal events are included in a daily email to students and also appear on the Law School's monitor in JG Lobby. Please complete an Event Submission Form as soon as the details for your event are finalized. Any updates or changes to your original description should be e-mailed to [email protected].
  • Google Group - Student organizations can also send out emails regarding upcoming events to all students subscribed to their organization.  This is probably the most often utilized method of event publicity.
  • Front Email - Student organizations have their own inbox management where they can receive and send out emails to students subscribed to their organization and external parties by using Front app.
  • Organization Website - You should also consider how best to utilize your organization's website both to publicize events in advance and to use your "web presence" to keep interested people abreast of your organization's activities in general.
  • The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs is committed to providing as much publicity for student-run events as possible. If you think that Public Affairs might be interested in covering an event hosted by your organization, please contact Jeff Bagares as far in advance as possible but no less than 2 weeks before the event to discuss.

If you would like to invite alumni but do not have their contact information, contact Katrina Sullivan at least four weeks in advance with the details of your event, the alumni you wish to contact and why you want to contact them.

STEP FOUR: VIRTUAL FILMING BEST PRACTICES AND WEBINAR ARRANGEMENTS

When planning an event, please use this guide for meeting and webinar best practices resources. The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs has also prepared the following as guidance:

  • Custom Zoom Backgrounds
  • Filmini From Home Best Practices
  • How to Use a Custom Background in Zoom

All current law school students have been upgraded to a Zoom Pro account and can host a zoom meeting with up to 300 attendees, hold meetings longer than 40 minutes, and schedule an unlimited number of meetings.

If you would like a webinar format for your event, please email [email protected] the following information:

  • Whether it is a zoom meeting with one person present or a webinar panelists.
  • Number of attendees expected.
  • Registration y/n.
  • Is it part of a CLS student group.
  • If IT will train you, will you be able to run the session on your own.
  • Title.
  • Description.
  • Date / Time.
  • Co-host email addresses. (UNI only)
  • Panelist email addresses.

STEP FOUR: PAYING FOR EXPENSES

A student may NEVER sign a contract on behalf of student organizations or the University.

Below you will find a summary of the different ways the Law School can pay a vendor on your organization’s behalf. Please note, though, that not all payment methods may be used in all situations. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your treasurer in advance of the event and read pages 20 to 25 which provide more in depth details.

 

  • Letter of Credit (LOC): Only registered and trained student organization Treasurers can obtain a LOC from Student Services. Once obtained, the Treasurer can "hand it off" to another member of your organization to actually conduct the transaction with the vendor.
  • Limited Use Credit Card: Student services has access to a limited use credit card, which we refer to as the P-card. Of particular importance to student organizations, the card may be used to purchase books, subscriptions, memberships, conference fees, postage, supplies and materials (not available at Staples). Promotional items from  approved promotional vendors, food/meals delivered on campus (strictly delivered and consumed on campus. If you would like to use this, please email [email protected].
  • A Purchase Order (PO): Certain goods and services require the issuance of a  Purchase Order (PO). A requisition, which is a request for a Purchase Order, must be submitted to the Student Organizations in order to be initiated. Any goods and services that require the issuance of a Purchase Order, cannot be ordered and work cannot commence until a requisition has been approved by the Central Purchasing and a Purchase Order has been issued.
  • Honorarium: An honorarium payment is a gratuitous payment to a lecturer or a professional person outside the University community (not a University faculty, staff member or students) as an expression of thanks. It is taxable income and is reportable to the Internal Revenue Service. Honorarium payments should not exceed $250.00.
  • Invoice: An invoice prepared and submitted by an approved vendor can be paid by the Law School. Please note that Columbia University is a tax-exempt organization. Sales tax should never be included in the amount to be paid. You can obtain a tax-exempt form by requesting it to [email protected]
  • Student Prizes & Awards: Awards to Columbia students who receive Financial Aid must be submitted to the Financial Aid office for processing. Awards to Columbia students who do not receive Financial Aid, or payments to non-Columbia students, may be submitted to Student Organizations for processing, and do not need to go through the Financial Aid office. If your student organization does not know whether or not a student receives Financial Aid, check with the student organizations first to determine the appropriate route for payment. Please note, prizes are won in a competition; awards are achieved or granted.
  • Student Reimbursement: This should be considered a last resort. Please be aware that it may take several weeks to process a reimbursement request and the Law School cannot guarantee that it will issue a reimbursement before a student is required to pay for a charge that appears on their credit card statement. The Law School will not reimburse students for any finance charges incurred on a personal credit card.

Speaker and Performance Agreements: If you have a speaker or workshop facilitator invited to your event, you will need a completed speaker agreement and an invoice. If you have invited a performer to your event, you will need a completed performance agreement and an invoice. Please make sure that the invitees are in the University System.

For a variety of reasons, you may find it challenging to bring people together in the same space and you may end up organizing a virtual event.

STEP ONE: CHOOSE A DATE

In an effort to avoid conflicting programs, please check the following calendars well in advance of the event:

  • Law Calendar (LawCal)
  • Student Organization and Affinity Groups Calendars
  • Student Affairs Calendar
  • Dates when rooms reservations are limited

STEP TWO: INVITING A SPEAKER & ADDITIONAL OUTREACH

Extend an invitation to the individuals you would like to speak via e-mail or mail. If your student organization is covering travel expenses for your guests(airfare, lodging, cab fare) please speak with Jeff Bagares at least 6 weeks before the expenses will be incurred. Only designated staff, travel arrangers, can book travel on behalf of Students and Guests. Please note that all travel requires a Detailed Business Purpose addressing the 5 Ws: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Student organizations and journals that are planning a career or professional events should coordinate with the relevant office within the Law School:

  • Private Sector: If your student organization is planning to host a program on any of the following topics please send the information the date, names of law firm(s) and speakers to Sonovia Harmon ([email protected]) in the Office of Career Services. Please note, the Office of Career Services schedules annual meetings in the late summer/early fall with student groups that actively plan career related programming.
    •  Recruiting/Job Search/On-Campus Interviewing
    •  Interviewing and Networking skills
    • Professional Development and On-the-Job Issues
    • On-Campus Networking Receptions
    • Resumes for Private Sector Jobs
  • Public Interest: SJI has a limited amount of funds for co-sponsorship of student programs that address SJI core issues and careers. These funds need to be used fairly and where they will have the greatest impact. Please notify Natalie Stephenson ([email protected]) of SJI as far in advance as possible and coordinate with her if you would like to co-host a public interest event with SJI. Please keep in mind that we will need to be directly involved in the planning and likely only be able to contribute a portion of the total cost of the event. After receiving a request, SJI will do an internal assessment based on objective criteria to determine whether we can co-sponsor the event. Please notify Natalie Stephenson ([email protected]) of SJI ([email protected]) as far in advance as possible and coordinate with her for any of the events listed below:
    • Public Interest/Public Service at Columbia
    • Pro Bono
    • Post-Graduate Fellowships
    • Summer Internships and Legal Careers in Public Interest, Government and International Human Rights
    • Alumni in Public Interest or Government
    • LRAP
    • Resumes for Public Sector Jobs
  •  The Judiciary, the Courts and Judicial Clerkships: . If your student organization is planning to host a program, lecture, or any other event where a judge, court administrator, or law clerk will be a guest speaker or participant in any capacity and/or there will be a discussion regarding the judiciary, the courts or clerkships, please send the 5 Ws in an email to George Kusserow ([email protected]) in OJC as far as advance as possible (ideally, at least a month prior).  Please note that the default with respect to judicial lectures (whether in-person or by video conference)  is that they will not be recorded.  You must follow the protocol set forth below re: Obtaining Consent to Record or Live Stream.
  • Alumni: If you are inviting Columbia Law School alumni to participate in an event, please work with Brooke Ruskaup ([email protected]), Senior Director of Alumni Relations, and Katrina Sullivan ([email protected]), Associate Director of Alumni Relations in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations as well as Jeff Bagares.
    • If you would like to invite alumni to your event as attendees, but require access to the alumni database, you should contact Brooke, Katrina, and Jeff with a copy of the invitation you would like to distribute. Please provide as much prior notice as possible, but no less than four weeks’ notice.
    • If you would like to invite alumni to your event, as either speakers or attendees, and have independently obtained contact information, you may contact those alumni directly, but should provide Brooke Ruskaup and  Katrina Sullivan with the names of the alumni you plan to contact and the reason for the contact.

NOTE: The Development Office has requested at least 4 weeks’ notice prior to the date that you would like your invitations (or “save the date” notices) distributed, keep in mind that, for events whose success depends on robust alumni attendance, you should plan on having your invitations distributed at least two months before the date of your event.

  • Externships, Moot Court, and Legal Writing: If your event will involve Externships, Moot Court, or Legal Writing, please reach out to Sarah Shin ([email protected]), Assistant Director of Externships, Legal Writing, and Moot Court Programs as far in advance as possible, but not less than 2 weeks before the event so that you organization can coordinate with her

 

STEP THREE: ADVERTISING AND PUBLICIZING YOUR EVENT

Student organizations have multiple options for advertising and publicizing their events. Student organizations can use:

  • LawCal – The Law School advertises events via the Law Calendar (LawCal). LawCal events are included in a daily email to students and also appear on the Law School's monitor in JG Lobby. Please complete an Event Submission Form as soon as the details for your event are finalized. Any updates or changes to your original description should be e-mailed to [email protected].
  • Google Group - Student organizations can also send out emails regarding upcoming events to all students subscribed to their organization.  This is probably the most often utilized method of event publicity.
  • Front Email - Student organizations have their own inbox management where they can receive and send out emails to students subscribed to their organization and external parties by using Front app.
  • Organization Website - You should also consider how best to utilize your organization's website both to publicize events in advance and to use your "web presence" to keep interested people abreast of your organization's activities in general.
  • The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs is committed to providing as much publicity for student-run events as possible. If you think that Public Affairs might be interested in covering an event hosted by your organization, please contact Jeff Bagares as far in advance as possible but no less than 2 weeks before the event to discuss.

If you would like to invite alumni but do not have their contact information, contact Katrina Sullivan at least four weeks in advance with the details of your event, the alumni you wish to contact and why you want to contact them.

STEP FOUR: VIRTUAL FILMING BEST PRACTICES AND WEBINAR ARRANGEMENTS

When planning an event, please use this guide for meeting and webinar best practices resources. The Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs has also prepared the following as guidance:

All current law school students have been upgraded to a Zoom Pro account and can to host zoom meetings with up to 300 attendees, hold meetings longer than 40 minutes, and schedule an unlimited number of meetings.  If you would like a webinar format for your event, please email [email protected] the following information:

  • Whether it is a zoom meeting with one person present or a webinar panelists.
  • Number of attendees expected.
  • Registration y/n.
  • Is it part of CLS student group.
  • If IT will train you, will you be able to run the session on your own.
  • Title.
  • Description.
  • Date / Time.
  • Co-host email addresses. (UNI only)
  • Panelist email addresses.

Our Information Technology at Columbia Law School (Law IT) works closely with any member of the Law School community who requests software or hardware that is specialized (ADA-related) or accessible. Law IT maintains responsibility for:

  • Searching for software and hardware that meets the needs of the individual.
  • Meeting with vendors to evaluate whether software and hardware meet the accessibility needs of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Installing and configuring specialized or general software or hardware for accessibility.
  • Supporting specialized or general software or hardware by working with the respective vendor.

Law IT suggests reviewing Columbia Health's complete policies and procedures for Disability Services. If you would like to know more, please reach out to Jennifer Braden at [email protected].