Columbia University Law School Interview Questions

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University Information

Columbia University was founded in 1754. It’s a private institution with a total student body of 8148, with an urban setting and a campus of just 36 acres in New York City. The university consistently ranks within the top schools in the US, and its most recent tuition fees were $65,524. There are three undergraduate schools – Columbia College, The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of General Studies – and numerous graduate and professional schools, including the Law School. The main campus is in the Upper West Side, in Manhattan. There are a wide range of student activities, including 28 different Greek chapters. 90% of students live on campus. Notable former alumni of the school include John Jay, the first Supreme Court chief justice, and President Barack Obama.

Course Information

Columbia breaks its law degree down into the following key pieces of information:
– You have the ability to connect studies to practice. Courses are globally focused and cover both traditional legal areas and ‘the most compelling issues in modern scholarship.’
– You can connect with a range of communities, participate in a broad range of clinics, simulations, policy labs, and other public service opportunities. You will benefit from ‘an insider’s view into how the law operates in practical settings.’
– You will benefit from the faculty’s expert mentors. Work alongside leading scholars and practitioners to take on real-world challenges
– You will be encouraged ‘to think critically and responsibly about the law and its impact on individual lives, judicial institutions, and international affairs.’
– You will be prepared, upon graduation, to ‘successfully practice law in today’s fast paced, globalized society.’ 

Techniques, Tutorials & Past Law Interview Questions & Model Answers

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Admissions Statistics & Process

Only 18.4% of applicants will be accepted. The application process consists of the following elements:
– You must submit a personal statement
– You must submit two letters of recommendation
– You must submit a resume
– You must submit academic transcripts and if possible a Dean’s appraisal
– You should take either the LSAT or GRE

Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)
Overall Success Rate (Total Applicants : Total Spaces)

Key Dates

The key dates for Columbia are as follows:
– In January you will find the last LSAT administration date that meets the regular admission deadline
– In February you will find the last GRE date that meets the regular admissions deadline, the financial aid application deadline (in the middle of the month) and the regular decision plan deadline (also in the middle of the month).

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Columbia Law Interview Details

Per Columbia, you ‘may be contacted for an interview during the admissions process’ and this interview will take place via video conferencing software. The interview allows both applicants the chance to learn more about the school itself, and the Admissions Committee the opportunity to go into greater detail regarding an applicants’ motivations and interests. Interviews are by invite only. 

Previous Questions for Columbia Law Interviews

Personal Background

  • What personal experiences or factors have influenced your decision to study law?
  • Can you discuss a recent book, article, or film that has impacted your view on law or society?
  • What motivates you to succeed academically and professionally?
  • Describe a time when you took a risk and what you learned from the experience.
  • Can you discuss a specific person or event that has inspired you to pursue a career in law?

Academic and Professional Experiences

  • How do you think your undergraduate major or coursework has prepared you for law school?
  • Can you discuss a legal issue or case that has significantly influenced your perspective on law?
  • Describe a time when you had to balance multiple priorities or commitments.
  • Have you participated in any extracurricular activities or organisations related to law or social justice?
  • How do you plan to apply your legal education to make a positive impact in your community or society?

Columbia Law School Specific

  • What specific aspects of Columbia Law School’s curriculum or programs appeal to you?
  • How do you plan to take advantage of the opportunities available at Columbia Law School to further your career goals?
  • Are there any student organisations or clinics at Columbia Law School that you are particularly interested in joining?
  • How do you see yourself fitting into the community and culture at Columbia Law School?
  • Can you discuss a recent legal development that you believe is particularly relevant to the Columbia Law School community?

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

  • Describe a situation where you had to think critically to resolve a challenging issue.
  • How do you approach making tough decisions when the stakes are high?
  • Can you provide an example of a time when you had to balance competing interests or priorities?
  • Discuss a legal issue where you had to evaluate multiple perspectives to form an informed opinion.
  • Describe a situation where you had to anticipate potential obstacles and develop a strategy to overcome them.
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