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Columbia University School of Law

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University of Chicago Law School

Columbia Law School Logo
Established 1858
Mailing address 435 West 116th Street, | New York | NY 10027
Phone 212-854-2640
Student-faculty ratio 9.2:1
Number of students enrolled 1,331
Acceptance rate 9.8%
Bar passage rate (first-time test takers) 97.5%
Law school cost (tuition and fees) $52,902 per year


Columbia University School of Law is one of the most prestigious law schools in the country and also one of the most transparent. The usual class size is less than 25 students and the student to faculty ratio is 9.2:1. Besides high employment prospects with private law firms, a healthy 10% of students go ahead to judicial clerkships and the School of Law offers reliable access to such opportunities. There are more Columbia Law School alumni in the Forbes 400 than from any other law school in the nation.

Though the first professor of law at the Columbia University, James Kent, was appointed in 1793, the school of law was not established until 1858. The location of the Columbia University School of Law in the city of New York and its Ivy-league status confers a prestigious brand on its students and a greater rate of acceptance in corporate circles. Studying in Columbia University School of Law automatically provides you access to the best neighborhoods, culture, and amenities of New York.

Average student debt is around $120,000, but employment prospects are respectable. On-campus recruitment is reported to be little sloppy, but attributed to the enhanced interaction of students with Wall Street firms and big law offices situated within the city. Usually, most good students are employed with corporate law firms by their third year, whether as a result of on-campus recruitment efforts or not. 95.6% of students from the Columbia University School of Law pass the bar exams in their first attempts.


Rankings and reputation

The Columbia Law School has consistently ranked within the top 5 law schools of the nation since 1987, the year from which the U.S.News & World Report started publishing its rankings for law schools. Only Yale, Harvard and Stanford can claim the same consistency in rankings and being within the first five year after year. In respect of academic reputation an overall national standing, Columbia Law has consistently held its place within the first four law schools of the nation as ranked by the U.S.News & World Report.

In its 2011 Law Firm Recruiters' Ranking of Best Law Schools, the U.S. News and World Report ranked Columbia Law School at the third position for student numerical quality. However, from 2006 to 2009, during the worst periods of the recession, too, Columbia Law School was ranked at No. 1 for job placements at the nation's best law firms.

According to the Forbes magazine, Columbia Law School ranks at the top for highest earning law graduates in the nation. The National Law Journal survey of "go to law" schools found that for two consecutive years, (2007, 2008), Columbia Law School had the highest percentage of law graduates hired by the nation's top 250 law firms.

Columbia Law School also was featured in a list of top law schools analyzed and ranked by LawCrossing CEO Harrison Barnes. This list can be found here: Top Law Schools Analyzed and Ranked by America's Top Legal Recruiter.

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About Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes is the founder of LawCrossing and an internationally recognized expert in attorney search and placement. Harrison is extremely committed to and passionate about the profession of legal placement. Harrison’s writings about attorney careers and placement attract millions of reads each year. LawCrossing has been ranked on the Inc. 500 twice. For more information, please visit Harrison Barnes’ bio.

About LawCrossing
LawCrossing has received tens of thousands of attorneys jobs and has been the leading legal job board in the United States for almost two decades. LawCrossing helps attorneys dramatically improve their careers by locating every legal job opening in the market. Unlike other job sites, LawCrossing consolidates every job in the legal market and posts jobs regardless of whether or not an employer is paying. LawCrossing takes your legal career seriously and understands the legal profession. For more information, please visit

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LawCrossing has amazing features but the best of it is its ability to search as per the geographic locations.


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Harrison Barnes does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for attorneys and law students each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can attend anonymously and ask questions about your career, this article, or any other legal career-related topics. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

Harrison also does a weekly free webinar with live Q&A for law firms, companies, and others who hire attorneys each Wednesday at 10:00 am PST. You can sign up for the weekly webinar here: Register on Zoom

You can browse a list of past webinars here: Webinar Replays

You can also listen to Harrison Barnes Podcasts here: Attorney Career Advice Podcasts

You can also read Harrison Barnes' articles and books here: Harrison's Perspectives

Harrison Barnes is the legal profession's mentor and may be the only person in your legal career who will tell you why you are not reaching your full potential and what you really need to do to grow as an attorney--regardless of how much it hurts. If you prefer truth to stagnation, growth to comfort, and actionable ideas instead of fluffy concepts, you and Harrison will get along just fine. If, however, you want to stay where you are, talk about your past successes, and feel comfortable, Harrison is not for you.

Truly great mentors are like parents, doctors, therapists, spiritual figures, and others because in order to help you they need to expose you to pain and expose your weaknesses. But suppose you act on the advice and pain created by a mentor. In that case, you will become better: a better attorney, better employees, a better boss, know where you are going, and appreciate where you have been--you will hopefully also become a happier and better person. As you learn from Harrison, he hopes he will become your mentor.

To read more career and life advice articles visit Harrison's personal blog.

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