Columbia University School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

Columbia Law School is distinguished, perhaps uniquely among leading US law schools, as an international center of legal education that stimulates its students to consider the full dimensions of the possibility of the law—as an intellectual pursuit, as a career, and as an instrument of human progress. The character of academic and social life at Columbia is fiercely democratic, dynamic, creative, and innovative. The Law School is especially committed to educating students of differing perspectives, from diverse backgrounds, and with varied life experiences.

Professional prospects for Columbia Law School graduates are quite extraordinary. Our graduates proceed to productive careers in every conceivable arena of practice, business, and advocacy. While Columbia-trained attorneys are especially well-regarded for their work in corporate law and finance, an unusually high number also serve as state and federal judges, prosecutors, civil rights and human rights advocates, legal scholars, public defenders, entrepreneurs, business executives, elected government officials, and national and international leaders. Many alumni contribute significantly to the shaping of US culture at large. Currently, our graduates serve in leadership roles across the fields of government, art, music, film, publishing, science, professional athletics, philanthropy, and higher education.

With an exceptionally talented student body and faculty and a strong tradition of encouraging students with specialized interests to develop those interests in depth, Columbia Law School provides a legal education that gives our students a singular capacity for imagination, originality, and high responsibility in their professional lives.

JD Student Body Profile

Columbia continues to place among the handful of the most highly selective JD programs in our nation—as evaluated by the principal criteria used to measure admission selectivity (application volume, acceptance rates, LSAT scores, and academic performance). Indeed, in recent years, the demand for a Columbia legal education has never been greater, and the academic credentials of our entering classes are as strong as ever. Columbia’s JD student body is further distinguished by standing as one of the most culturally diverse among America’s leading law schools. Men and women choosing to study law at Columbia hail from the small towns, farms, and suburbs of the West, Midwest, and South; the industrial corridors and ivy halls of the Northeast; the inner cities of every major US metropolis; and the international centers of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Each entering class reflects the broad range of economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds found in the United States. And from around the world, we welcome students who will enrich learning at Columbia and thereafter advance the developing legal cultures of their homelands.

With one of the largest percentages of international students in its JD program of any leading law school; with one of the very highest percentages of students of color; with its students hailing from 48 states, roughly 25 foreign countries, and more than 200 different colleges and universities; and with approximately 8 percent of its JD students having earned at least one graduate or professional degree before studying law, Columbia’s student body abounds with a diversity of life experiences, cultural backgrounds, and intellectual perspectives.

The Law School Campus

Columbia Law School’s main building, Jerome Greene Hall, has undergone significant expansion and improvements devoted primarily to our students, including library renovations and the creation of a student commons that includes a student lounge and café. Across the street from Greene Hall is William C. Warren Hall, home to the Columbia Law Review, Morningside Heights Legal Services (a law school clinic serving our community), and Social Justice Initiatives.

William and June Warren Hall includes amphitheater-style classrooms equipped with modern teaching resources and conference facilities. It is also home to the offices of Admissions, Financial Aid, Registration Services, Student Services, Graduate Legal Studies, and International Programs.

Students have a superb learning environment that is conducive to community building and social and intellectual engagement, and reflects the changing nature of legal education in the twenty-first century.

Library Resources and Research Facilities

Columbia’s library is one of the largest and most comprehensive law collections in the world. It is especially rich in US law and legal history, international law, comparative law, Roman law, and the legal literature of the major European countries, China, and Japan. Access to the Internet and electronic documents provide additional resources, with materials from Germany, South Africa, and a wide range of international organizations. In addition, the many libraries of the university, containing more than seven million volumes, are available to law students.

The law library’s online catalog provides complete access to the library’s collection, acts as an index to the major legal serials, and provides access to the online catalogs of other major law school libraries. Columbia provides its law students with some of the most sophisticated technologies of any law school in the nation.

Curriculum

The foundation of the JD program consists of Legal Methods (an intensive introductory course), Legal Practice Workshop (a two-semester course that provides training in legal research, writing, and analysis), Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Property, Criminal Law, Foundation Year Moot Court, and one elective focusing on the law’s engagement with public policy, the intellectual and historical foundations of the rule of law, or the law’s transnational and comparative expression. Recent elective offerings have included Law and Contemporary Society, Lawyering for Change, Legislation and Regulation, and the United States and the International Legal System.

Columbia has a special commitment to clinical education, which places the student in the role of a lawyer doing a lawyer’s actual work under intensive faculty supervision. Some examples of clinical opportunities are Lawyering in the Digital Age, Adolescent Representation, Mediation, Environmental Law, Human Rights, and a clinic in Sexuality and Gender Law, the first clinic of its type in the nation. In addition, Columbia oversees one of the largest summer programs in the country, placing more than 150 students in civil and human rights internships in law firms and organizations throughout this country and around the world. Especially distinguished are Columbia’s offerings in international, foreign, and comparative law; constitutional law and theory; corporate and securities law; intellectual property; critical race theory; human rights; and public interest law.

Research Centers and Special Programs

Research centers and special programs include

  • Careers in Law Teaching Program
  • Center for Chinese Legal Studies
  • Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
  • Center for Contract and Economic Organization
  • Center for Gender & Sexuality Law
  • Center for Institutional and Social Change
  • Center for International Commercial and Investment Arbitration
  • Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies
  • Center for Israeli Legal Studies
  • Center for Japanese Legal Studies
  • Center for Korean Legal Studies
  • Center for Law & Philosophy
  • Center for Law and Economic Studies
  • Center for Public Research and Leadership
  • Center for the Study of Law and Culture
  • Center on Corporate Governance
  • Center on Global Governance
  • Center on Global Legal Transformation
  • Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought
  • The Charles Evans Gerber Transactional Studies Program
  • European Legal Studies Center
  • Ira M. Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership
  • Julius Silver Program in Law, Science & Technology
  • Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts
  • Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy
  • Social Justice Initiatives

Admission

All first-year students enter in mid-August. Candidates applying for regular admission should apply after September 1 of the year preceding their desired matriculation, but before February 15, the application deadline. Early Decision candidates must complete their applications by November 15 and are notified in December. All other applications are generally reviewed in the order in which they are completed, and decisions are made and sent out on a rolling basis.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Columbia:

3.72 to 3.91

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Columbia:

169 to 173

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Columbia:

3.72 to 3.91

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Columbia:

169 to 173

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Columbia:

3.72 to 3.91

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Columbia:

169 to 173

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

435 West 116th Street,
New York, NY 10027,
United States