Columbia University - Class of 2010

FAQs from Columbia Applicants

By michaelcorleone on Oct 09, 2009

I get questions from prospective Columbia Law School LLM applicants, and I thought it might be useful to put down the questions here, and my answers. 

Q. What do they require among applicants?
A. Columbia generally requires you to be an honors graduate and to have at least one year work experience. This work experience requirement can vary. i heard that they don't require dutch candidates to have any work experience, because no one from the netherlands does an llm after they start working, so their pool of applicants from the netherlands will not have any work experience. but i guess most folks here all have some work experience, so I suspect they will require work experience in general. Of course, publication, law review experience, Nobel peace prize awards all help.


Q. I checked out Columbia's website, and it says that the LLM program is generally restricted to honor graduates of their respective law program. Do you know of any students that were admitted despite not having those grades?

A. Of course, admissions are very competitive; there were 1600+ applicants for 220+ seats, so just try anyway, and show that you have done something special apart from school.

Q. How is the scholarship and financial aid situation in Columbia?
A. Columbia does provide financial aid in the form of partial discounts to tuition.
There are other funding opportunities you can explore, such as Fulbright.  

Q. How helpful is Columbia when it comes to helping students look for other financial resources?
A. If you look at Columbia's website, they have information on other sources of funding that you can look at. Apart from that, Columbia will not look for funding sources for you, you'll have to go hunting on your own.


Q. What did you put down in your personal statement?
A. My pre-LLM background is a bit fragmented. BS and JD, worked for 2.5 years in corporate firm, LLM in an exotic city for a year, 6 months UN internship, so my PS had a lot to do with explaining why I made those jumps in my career! I also indicated my post-LLM plans, how a Columbia LLM fits into that, and the classes I wanted to take.


Q. It would be REALLY helpful for me to see a copy of your personal statement. Can I take a look at it?

A. Sigh. Okay, see below:

What the fuck people! I need a motherfuckin LLM, and I have a resume that says I am fucking fit to be your goddamn commencement speaker of the graduating class. I have applied to a ton of LLMs in here, and not one of them responded (not even an “application complete email”), WHAT THE FUCK?!


Personal statement? Here's my fucking personal statement!

Now, I'm really low on financial aid now, and I'll suck a dick if I have to...that's right!

Got a bear in your backyard that keeps eating your garbage? I'll fight that motherfucker and I'll win! Can any other prospective LLM candidate say that?! FUCK NO! What'd you say? You lost your keys to the school? FUCK IT! I'll shoot the goddamn lock off your door with my laser eyes! That's how bad I need a motherfuckin LLM! Your brother is gay and you're not cool with that? I'll de-gay him with reverse buttsex. Don't believe me?! Then accept me (with financial aid) and I'll fucking show you!



I need a motherfuckin LLM.



-I invented the moon.

-Atlantis was around til 1988, but sunk when I shot out of my mom's vagina like a silver bullet into a wolverine.

-I am also a wolverine.

-Had sex with the Spice Girls.

-The Socratic method was originally my idea until that bastard Roscoe Pound stole it.

-I have prophetic visions of the apocolypse.

-Watched the movie "Legally Blonde" at least 18 times.

-Created a new genre of dance in which people get so into it that radiation waves pulsate off of them, I like to call this the microrave.

-I reverse engineered a door, I now know how it works.

-When I was 8, a frisbee flew into my backyard and I blew it up with my mind.

-My brother is the Eiffel Tower

-Direct descendant of Edward Cooke and William Blackstone

-Can make weapons out of anything, very useful in the classroom

-Beat my pornography addiction when I was 19

-Proficient in Microsoft Office and Photoshop



GlomGlom Corporation of Evil Doing

POSITION: Legal intern

DUTIES: Setting up sex scandals in which to blackmail wealthy politicians, forwarding email, burning down the houses of the poor, loan sharking, answering phones, greeting clients in a manner that would frighten most people



Corporate Law, 1986 (fucking Robert Clark stole my draft)

Little Brown & Co.



Glomgor Evil

GlomGlom Corporation of Evil Doings


Sloblor the Muck Monster

GreenHate Enterprises


So, now that you know the real me, are you gonna get me into class of 2009-2010 or not? I would like to remind you that I can make weapons out of anything.







More FAQs from Applicants

By michaelcorleone on Nov 06, 2009

Did you include your transcript and diploma from undergrad in your application?


I'm asking this in line with the TOEFL requirement. Just wondering if there needed to be like official certification that we earned our first law degree entirely in English in an English-speaking country. Or did you take the TOEFL or get a waiver?


There is a strong suggestion to include only two letters of recommendation. Did you follow that suggestion? :)


The Columbia Early Review got back to me and said my application is incomplete as I have not sent them ORIGINAL documents (ie transcripts, diplomas)?! I understood it should be enough with certified copies? 


Are you enjoying it in CLS?






How worthwhile or valuable is the Corporate Law LLM for a US law student? I've heard that for US law students, the Tax LLM is the only LLM worth the time and money and even then only from a select few schools. 

--- not really sure. you should take a look at this post from ATL:

--- see also the responses in this thread:

Does Columbia have an LLM specifically in Business/Corporate Law? From what I have uncovered from my research, I thought they do not.

they do not. there's no specialized LLM in cls.

Did you apply to other schools and were you admitted?


Where are you from?


graduation and after

By michaelcorleone on Jun 02, 2010

For those curious, fortunately, I did graduate this May. After the initial disappointments over results for the fall sem, I was able to pull up my grades and ended up graduating with honors! I am currently in the thick of bar exam preparations. 

Some last few tips before I try to post less here on LLMGuide (It's rather addicting for me to post messages here on LLMGuide):

-- Jobs-wise, I'm not really sure if people were able to get the positions that they wanted. The legal market is still in crisis-mode. Various factors contribute to this. Many foreigners are now doing JDs, and firms would rather hire foreign JDs rather than foreign LLMs. There are lots of firm events, but they are really more interested in JDs and don't really have much to offer to LLMs. I tried to search, but I will mostly be doing the search after the bar exam. 

-- Class-wise, I took 10 classes, which is way more than what an average LLM will do, and considering I opted out of CIAL, it's quite a bit. And there are still so many classes I want to take! In the end, the advice of my securities prof in taking classes is the best advice -- take classes that you want to specialize in, but also take classes with the big names. Don't take all of your classes in what you think is the "hot field" because you are preparing yourself for a career that will span 40-50 years. And the best lawyers are those who know a lot about a narrow field, but also know a little about many things -- so take that stray class in Human Rights just because you find it interesting. 

-- It's a bit tough to be able to balance trying to save with going out with people to socialize. Socializing doesn't always have to be expensive (the best parties are those BYOB parties held in people's apartments) but people do tend to enjoy going out to bars to hang out, and that tends to get expensive. But if you're worried about finding cheap raw food, that's never an issue in New York, like raw vegetables/seafood/meat in Chinatown is even cheaper and fresher than what I have back home.

Best wishes to everyone!

$750 to take the New York bar exam

By michaelcorleone on Nov 10, 2010

at this point, i think my LLM story has come to an end, with the bar exam results and my new job starting soon. so this means i'll be posting a few entries on the bar exam and job hunt. 

let's start with the bar exam. some important news that foreign educated candidates should know is that beginning feb 2011, the exam fee for foreign educated candidates will be $750. i paid $250 for my own bar exam (july 2010) but beginning feb 2010, all foreign educated candidates will need to pay $750. if the candidate doesn't pass the exam and wants to retake the exam the fee is also $750. see

my guess on what is behind this change is that the law job market being bad, especially in new york, the state bar probably wants to protect the graduates from local (US) law schools to ensure they don't have to compete with foreigners on those jobs that are available. 

i think this isn't really a good reason though, because many LLMs just take the new york bar exam to get that final stamp of US qualification, or even a "souvenir", and not really in order to practice law in new york. 

it remains to be seen whether this will discourage foreign educated candidates from taking the new york bar exam. the fee to take the california bar exam is roughly the same ($584 + $132 for laptop fee).  many foreigners who do LLMs do the LLM in new york, and it will be easier to just continue on and take the exam in new york and not worry about housing issues anymore, rather than to uproot and take the exam in california. the increased fees though, will most likely discourage repeat takers.  

next time, i'll write about barbri and kaplan, and my own experiences during bar review (a.k.a. the glorious summer when i saw ballet 3x a week). 




To Barbri or Not to Barbri

By michaelcorleone on Mar 04, 2011

In my ongoing series of entries on taking the New York bar, I'd like to talk about my experience on studying for the bar and doing it with Kaplan.

First, if you are an LLM student, the review companies will be camping out every week in your school from August until the very last week of class in Spring semester and you don't have to hurry to decide. You'll be receiving discounts for signing up early, but in the end, Barbri will be the most expensive, at around $3000 (this was at 2010).

I signed up with Kaplan, because it was a few hundred dollars cheaper than Barbri and I thought I would be receiving materials of similar quality anyway. I think I made the right decision.

What I liked about Kaplan were the following:

1. Lectures were pre-taped and were available anytime, on demand. If I wanted to have a break on Monday, I could watch the lecture on Sunday. Same thing, if I want to have a break on Monday, I could double up on Tuesday. I understand Barbri videotapes lectures as they are delivered. So you have to wait til after the lecture before you can watch the video online.

2. Books and test banks were of a good quality.

3. They provided a structure. At a certain point, we should be studying a certain material. If you followed that time frame, you'd be doing okay.

4. They had lectures from time to time when they would just reassure you that you're doing okay, give you tips on how to study, logistics in the bar itself.  Also, Chris Fromm is awesome.

All that said, if you don't enroll with any company and just study on your own, you might be able to pass too. Some people I know just studied with books that they bought from people who just did the bar, and they did okay.

The biggest problem that LLM students might have with the bar is with any ESL issues. Your school will most likely give you your LLM degree after you pay $50K or so, and even if you bomb your exam, you will probably get a B (I did).  But there is no such privilege in the bar exam. People do actually fail.  I remember someone who left two essay questions blank in my securities exam and we both got the same grade, even though I finished the entire exam. But those who left a question unanswered in the bar exam generally did not make it. There will be a lot of material to go through especially in the MBE (multiple choice!!!) portion of the exam and if you don't keep to 1.8 minutes per question, you might end up not finishing.

Be assured though that many many LLM graduates, even those with ESL problems, can and do pass the bar exam.  It's quite manageable. If you have the extra cash, Barbri and Kaplan will be very helpful.  If not, go for it on your own and just study extra hard!

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