Columbia Law School

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Jerome L. Greene Hall, home of the Arthur W. Diamond Library. September 2004

Columbia Law School is one of the professional schools of Columbia University. It is a preeminent American law school with about 1,500 students in New York, New York.

Historically, Columbia has stood among the world's top law schools by reputation and selectivity, and for the past decade, it has consistently ranked as a top-four law school according to various publications, including the US News and World Report. In recent years, Columbia has notably had more applicants than any other law school. Among those who have studied law at Columbia are eight U.S. Supreme Court Justices and two elected U.S. Presidents, the latter unmatched by any other law school.

One of the first law schools in the United States, Columbia Law School was established in 1858. While Columbia is widely known for its well regarded curriculum in transactional law, it also has America’s oldest programs in international and comparative law and human rights law, areas in which Columbia is considered preeminent. The Columbia Law Review is the third most widely distributed and cited Law Review in the country and is one of the four publishers of the Bluebook.

The greatly influential legal realism movement, which flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, is typically associated with Columbia Law School. Among the major realists affiliated with Columbia were Karl Llewellyn, Felix S. Cohen and William O. Douglas. One effect of this influence was an attempt to reorganize the Columbia curriculum in order to acquaint students with the tools of social science analysis; a first-year course on the foundations of the regulatory state was required until 2005.

Columbia Law School’s Arthur W. Diamond Library is the second largest law library in the United States, with over 1,000,000 volumes. The law school’s main building, Jerome L. Greene Hall, was designed by Max Abramovitz, an architect of the United Nations and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, which serves as the site of Columbia Law School's graduation ceremonies. In 1996, the Law School was extensively renovated, including the addition of a new entrance façade and lobby, as well as the expansion of existing space to include a café and lounges.

Among the Law School's best-known faculty members are the legal philosophers Jeremy Waldron and Joseph Raz, "dotCommunist" Eben Moglen, constitutional lawyer Michael Dorf, First Amendment specialist Kent Greenawalt, Nation columnist Patricia J. Williams, tax lawyer David Schizer, criminal law scholar George Fletcher, and former Columbia University president Michael I. Sovern.


CLS Notables

See also the list of Columbia University people.

The Supreme Court



Arts & Academia


¹ Studied law at Columbia University or its predecessor, King's College, prior to the founding of the Law School.

² Failed to complete the law degree.

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