NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Discuss comparisons of various school choices and the various metrics that inform them, including rankings, student life, location, etc.
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kgund77
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NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by kgund77 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:33 am

Hi all! Decision month is about to begin, I'm starting to feel the pressure, and I could use some advice as I spend the next few weeks figuring out where to go.

I'm interested in international law, likely public (for a government or NGO), specifically issues like national security, education, and travel/freedom of movement. Right now, I'm comparing an offer from CLS with an offer from NYU as a finalist in the IILJ Joyce Lowinson Scholars program. Because I'm currently living in China and won't be able to attend NYU'S ASW, I had an informal interview with one of the heads of the IILJ program and got the sense that if I decide it's for me and show them my committed interest, I will definitely be offered a place as an IILJ scholar.

IILJ sounds pretty amazing, and it seems stupid to turn it down, but there are a couple of other things pulling me towards CLS. First, while I'm pretty certain my interest is in public international law, I know very little about private and am wary of pigeon-holing myself into a program at a school that is heavily focused on PI. A bigger concern, though, is that ideally I'll be building a career that involves connections, relationships, and opportunities across multiple countries (probably with a focus on China/East Asia), and I'm wondering if Columbia's international name recognition would better suit my goals. I went to Harvard for undergrad—will the fact that a Harvard/Columbia combo looks stronger on paper than a Harvard/NYU combo significantly impact my career options abroad?

Re. financials, NYU has made me a financial aid offer that they've promised to revise should I accept a place in IILJ. I haven't gotten financial aid from Columbia yet, but I'll use the IILJ offer as leverage to negotiate, and I'm hoping the difference won't be so drastic that it has to affect my decision. Because of COL in NYC, I know I'll definitely need to take out loans either way.

Please help! Advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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UVA2B
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by UVA2B » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:09 am

Respectfully, I don't think you've actually asked any cogent question where advice can be given. Can you succinctly provide questions that you want others to weigh in on? Do you have estimated COA at the two schools? Are you hoping to get more insider knowledge of how IILJ scholars are treated at NYU? Do you want more insight into whether international law is what you think it is (to the extent it matters, you listed very different areas of NGO/PI work, so I do wonder whether you're that committed to practice in any of those areas and instead just want your fancy degree to carry you all over the world doing good for the world)?

I appreciate you want help in making this decision, but you need to provide your line of thinking more clearly that will help us help you. As it stands, I would be surprised if anyone here can provide any meaningful advice that should carry weight for you.

kgund77
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by kgund77 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:28 am

UVA2B wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:09 am
Respectfully, I don't think you've actually asked any cogent question where advice can be given. Can you succinctly provide questions that you want others to weigh in on? Do you have estimated COA at the two schools? Are you hoping to get more insider knowledge of how IILJ scholars are treated at NYU? Do you want more insight into whether international law is what you think it is (to the extent it matters, you listed very different areas of NGO/PI work, so I do wonder whether you're that committed to practice in any of those areas and instead just want your fancy degree to carry you all over the world doing good for the world)?

I appreciate you want help in making this decision, but you need to provide your line of thinking more clearly that will help us help you. As it stands, I would be surprised if anyone here can provide any meaningful advice that should carry weight for you.
Sorry, I'll do my best to target my questions here:

As both you and I noted, my interests under the umbrella of international law right now are quite broad, and I want to ensure I have adequate room to explore possibilities as I attempt to narrow them. Will one school/program offer me more of that freedom than the other?
Should Columbia's better name recognition internationally factor into my decision?
How good really is IILJ, and yes, how are IILJ scholars treated at NYU? The program is so small that there isn't much information online that doesn't come from NYU itself. Would like some other opinions.
Obvious overall question: which is the better choice?

Can't provide an estimated COA for either as it currently stands; Columbia hasn't made a financial aid offer yet, and NYU will not adjust my scholarship until I show committed interest in accepting a place in IILJ. Right now I'm looking for insight on the above questions, and I'll factor cost in once I have more information.

liralen
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by liralen » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:57 am

Hi! Has NYU explained what they mean by showing a “committed interest”? IMO it’s not reasonable for them to expect you to make a written commitment without knowing the award amount. However, if they just want you to express that if offered the scholarship you would seriously consider it, then I think you should do that. You need to know the award amount before you can even negotiate with CLS (although, and others should correct me if I’m wrong, I get the sense CLS does not offer much beyond the Butler/Hamilton and a handful of public interest fellowships, and it’s a bit late in the game for those). I would prepare for a situation in which you have a pretty substantial offer from NYU and none-to-minimal from CLS. What is your current merit aid offer from NYU?

Between NYU and Columbia my feeling is that it should come down to the money before all else, but failing a decisive difference there I think it’s more about culture and fit. They’re just so similar in terms of quality and reputation. You do not need to worry about what Harvard+NYU Law would look like on your resume. (If you're so concerned about prestige, note that NYU is currently #1 for International Law on USNWR.)

You should definitely ask to speak to current and past IILJ scholars, as well as faculty involved in the program, if you haven't done so yet. If you’re very torn, you could also ask if they can point you to someone who chose NYU over Columbia for the kinds of international law you want to do. FWIW, this person chose NYU with a Vanderbilt/IILJ over Columbia with a Hamilton: http://lawschoolnumbers.com/Kaziende

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Slytherpuff
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by Slytherpuff » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:45 pm

Do not turn down IILJ if you want to do something international. NYU Law has incredible name recognition for international work and offsets any lay prestige that CLS might have in the US (or apparently in China, although I'm honestly surprised that you've found CLS has more prestige than NYU where you're at since that wasn't what I'd heard from my LLM friends).

I have IILJ friends who ended up in big law so don't worry about pigeonholing yourself in public interest - you'll have a lot of doors open for you at NYU regardless.

Billy Flynn
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by Billy Flynn » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:25 pm

Slytherpuff wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:45 pm

I have IILJ friends who ended up in big law so don't worry about pigeonholing yourself in public interest - you'll have a lot of doors open for you at NYU regardless.
Right. We have a great public interest community at NYU, but something like 70% of our students do big law. There won’t be a difference of private sector opportunities at either school.

I don’t know much about international public interest work. I would be interested in whether or not there are career services people who are competent at giving advice in this area. I’ve actually heard mixed reviews on NYU’s PILC office on this topic. I would ask around and see how Columbia compares.

But fundamentally, I think the above poster who said this comes down to money is right.

Billy Flynn
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by Billy Flynn » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:31 pm

I would add that if you think you might end up focusing on China, Jerry Cohen is at NYU and he is an OG on American-Chinese relations. He is a legend in both countries. He helped start the first big law office in China. Might be worth reaching out to him and asking about NYU’s China programs. He’s a pretty nice and accessible guy.

kgund77
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by kgund77 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:47 pm

Just wanted to update this with my decision in case any future applicants find themselves making a similar choice! Like I said, there's very little info about choosing IILJ on the internet that doesn't come from NYU itself, since there are so few scholars every year. Hopefully this will help IILJ finalists in cycles to come.

Thanks to everyone for your advice. Your thoughts pushed me to consider NYU more seriously, and I spoke with IILJ faculty and students, researched the various international law opportunities that both schools offer, and ultimately committed to NYU as an IILJ Scholar. The IILJ seems extraordinarily special, and the amazing mentorship and networking opportunities that scholars get ended up being a huge draw for me. Benedict Kingsbury and Angelina Fisher, the faculty that run the IILJ Scholars Program, are wonderfully knowledgeable, warm, and approachable. A concern of mine was initially that IILJ was heavily research-focused, and I wanted to make sure I would get an equal amount of practical training for a career in international law—however, NYU's stellar clinical program has solved this issue for me. There are two year-long clinics and five semester-long clinics that focus on international issues alone, while Columbia's Human Rights clinic is the only one of theirs that covers international law.

In the end, both ended up having an almost identical COA. NYU gave me an IILJ scholarship of $30k per year, while Columbia gave me a $90k grant distributed as $36k each for 1L and 2L then $18k for 3L. I had to accept NYU's scholarship before Columbia gave me my financial aid award, so unfortunately couldn't use this to negotiate NYU higher (they'd refused to raise it previously, though I'd used a $120k Duke dean's scholarship as some leverage). COA at Columbia would've been roughly $170k in loans total, while NYU COA is about $180k. Even in retrospect, the marginal COL difference in Morningside Heights vs. the village would not have been enough to offset NYU's stronger international law program.

I'm feeling really good about this decision, and I'm so excited for NYU and for IILJ. Thanks again to all of you whose advice pushed me in the right direction!

shirinasgarii
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by shirinasgarii » Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:04 pm

Hi I am currently in the same position that you were in and I am trying to decide between attending Columbia Law school or NYU with the IILJ program. My aspiration is to pursue international human rights law and I feel like the IILJ can provide me with a great network to pursue this goal. I was hoping you could speak to your experience with the program and whether or not you feel like it provided you with ample opportunities that you may not have gotten at Columbia. Any information would be greatly appreciated regarding your experience at NYU and more specifically with IILJ, since it is very difficult to find information regarding this!

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Slytherpuff
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by Slytherpuff » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:39 pm

shirinasgarii wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:04 pm
Hi I am currently in the same position that you were in and I am trying to decide between attending Columbia Law school or NYU with the IILJ program. My aspiration is to pursue international human rights law and I feel like the IILJ can provide me with a great network to pursue this goal. I was hoping you could speak to your experience with the program and whether or not you feel like it provided you with ample opportunities that you may not have gotten at Columbia. Any information would be greatly appreciated regarding your experience at NYU and more specifically with IILJ, since it is very difficult to find information regarding this!
I'm obviously not the OP here, but my friends at NYU who were IILJ scholars loved the program and ended up with great job outcomes (a mixture of international/domestic non-profits, clerkships, and big law). I'd highly recommend it!

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pancakes3
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by pancakes3 » Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:50 pm

what's your cost of attendance for these two schools?

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DankHill
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by DankHill » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:34 pm

.
Last edited by DankHill on Wed May 05, 2021 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

app
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Re: NYU IILJ or Columbia for International Law?

Post by app » Fri Apr 23, 2021 5:35 pm

kgund77 wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:33 am
Hi all! Decision month is about to begin, I'm starting to feel the pressure, and I could use some advice as I spend the next few weeks figuring out where to go.

I'm interested in international law, likely public (for a government or NGO), specifically issues like national security, education, and travel/freedom of movement. Right now, I'm comparing an offer from CLS with an offer from NYU as a finalist in the IILJ Joyce Lowinson Scholars program. Because I'm currently living in China and won't be able to attend NYU'S ASW, I had an informal interview with one of the heads of the IILJ program and got the sense that if I decide it's for me and show them my committed interest, I will definitely be offered a place as an IILJ scholar.

IILJ sounds pretty amazing, and it seems stupid to turn it down, but there are a couple of other things pulling me towards CLS. First, while I'm pretty certain my interest is in public international law, I know very little about private and am wary of pigeon-holing myself into a program at a school that is heavily focused on PI. A bigger concern, though, is that ideally I'll be building a career that involves connections, relationships, and opportunities across multiple countries (probably with a focus on China/East Asia), and I'm wondering if Columbia's international name recognition would better suit my goals. I went to Harvard for undergrad—will the fact that a Harvard/Columbia combo looks stronger on paper than a Harvard/NYU combo significantly impact my career options abroad?

Re. financials, NYU has made me a financial aid offer that they've promised to revise should I accept a place in IILJ. I haven't gotten financial aid from Columbia yet, but I'll use the IILJ offer as leverage to negotiate, and I'm hoping the difference won't be so drastic that it has to affect my decision. Because of COL in NYC, I know I'll definitely need to take out loans either way.

Please help! Advice is much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
did you apply to other law schools in hys/t6 as well? can you share your stats and the outcomes?

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