Employment Policies

The Office of Career Services, Social Justice Initiatives, and the Office of Judicial Clerkships (collectively, Career Advising Offices) are committed to a transparent and fair recruitment process.

 

These standards are effective as of August, 2020.

A. General Provisions

  1. Students must comply with these standards and procedures. In addition to the standards and procedures listed herein, additional standards governing specific programs may be provided with program information. Failure to comply with the standards and procedures may result in sanctions determined by the Dean of the relevant Career Advising Office. Sanctions imposed will be appropriate to the offense.
  2. NALP, the National Association for Law Placement, has developed principles to guide the conduct of employers, students, and law schools in the recruitment process. Members of NALP (including Columbia Law School, other law schools, and many employers) have agreed to govern their behavior in accordance with these principles. As a representative of Columbia Law School, you are expected to comply with the NALP Principles for a Fair and Ethical Recruitment Process.
  3. Students are responsible for fulfilling their course commitments and communicating with their instructors if and when employment-related conflicts arise. As noted in the Student Handbook, “Regular attendance is expected of every student at all meetings of the courses in which he or she is registered.”

B. Working with Career Advising Offices

  1. Students are expected to work with the Career Advising Offices, read and respond to outreach and emails, and avail themselves of the resources and programs provided by the Career Advising Offices.
  2. Students are expected to treat staff, other students, and others participating in programs with professionalism, courtesy, and respect.
  3. Students are expected to notify the relevant Career Advising Office when they accept an offer of employment and to provide, upon request, additional information needed for Columbia Law School to comply with institutional reporting requirements.
  4. Recognizing the importance of the transition to law school, the Career Advising Offices will not begin offering one-on-one career counseling or application document reviews to first-year students before October 1. (An exception is granted for students applying for 1L summer positions with government employers who have early deadlines because of extensive security clearance processes.)

C. Job Search Materials and Representations; Prohibition on Early Applications

  1. Students must represent their qualifications accurately throughout the job search process. Any student who misrepresents their credentials or qualifications to any employer will be subject to the Dean’s Discipline.
  2. Students should be prepared to provide resumes to employers. Every item on a student’s resume must be accurate.
  3. Students should be prepared to provide transcripts to Winter Interview Program (WIP) employers only through an interview or program arranged by Columbia Law School. No transcripts should be submitted to a WIP employer through any other method. Students should not provide transcripts at informational meetings. Under no circumstances should academic information be falsified, misrepresented, or distorted either orally or in writing.
  4. Students are prohibited from applying directly to participating offices of firms scheduled to interview at WIP.  Callbacks for 2L summer associate positions resulting from 1L recruitment activities should be scheduled after WIP.
  5. Students should be prepared to provide writing samples to employers upon request. Writing samples should be original work. Where the writing was drafted with others, the student’s contribution should be clearly identified. Writing samples from law-related employment must be edited or redacted to preserve client confidentiality and used only with the permission of the employer.
  6. The Career Advising Offices will not release information regarding individual students to employers, other than resumes, transcripts, writing samples, or other materials that students provide for this purpose via Symplicity or directly with the student’s consent.

D. Expectations of Professionalism

  1. Students are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner throughout the employment search process.
  2. Students are expected to treat employer representatives, other students, and others participating in programs with courtesy and respect.
  3. Students must honor all employment commitments they make.

a. Students must attend all scheduled interviews. A student who fails to cancel an interview in accordance with the deadlines and procedures for a particular program will be considered a “no show.” If a student is a “no show,” that student must promptly write an email apology to the employer with a copy furnished to careerservices@law.columbia.edu for private sector employers; clerkships@law.columbia.edu for judicial employers; and to socialjustice@law.columbia.edu for public sector employers. A subsequent no show may result in sanctions, ranging from the loss of access to Symplicity for a period of time to the forfeiture of future interview opportunities.

b. Once a student has accepted an employment position, that commitment must be honored. The student may not continue to apply or interview for opportunities for the same time period (unless the positions are part-time and both jobs can be held at the same time). After accepting an offer of employment, a student should withdraw from consideration from all other active employment applications.

  1. Students should only interview with employers in which they have a genuine interest. 
  2. Students should reach an understanding with each employer regarding its reimbursement policies prior to incurring any interview-related expense. If reimbursement is to be made, students should only request reimbursement for reasonable expenses that are directly related to the interview and incurred in good faith.
  3. Students should notify employers of their acceptance or rejection of invitations to interview and offers of employment at the earliest possible time. In fairness to both employers and peers, students should act in good faith to promptly decline interviews and offers of employment that are no longer being seriously considered.  Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions are outlined below.
  4. Students should promptly report to the applicable Career Advising Office any concerns about possible misrepresentation, discrimination, or other misconduct by employers. The policy applicable to employers is set forth in Section E below.

E. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies

  1. Columbia Law School adheres to the non-discrimination statement set forth by the Association of American Law Schools.
  2. As a condition of obtaining any form of recruiting  assistance from Columbia Law School, employers are required to confirm their willingness to observe our equal opportunity commitment:
    Columbia Law School pursues a policy of equal opportunity to obtain employment, without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, gender (including gender identity or expression), or sexual orientation. Columbia Law School communicates to each employer to whom it furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other recruitment functions the school’s expectation that the employer will observe these principles of equal opportunity.
  3. Federal law limits service in the United States military by some transgender individuals. This policy is in conflict with Columbia Law School’s policy against discrimination on grounds of gender identity or expression. However, the Solomon Amendment, another provision of federal law, provides that a university will lose all federal funds if a law school excludes military recruiters. As such, Columbia Law School cannot apply its non-discrimination policy in the case of military recruiters.This exception to our policy does not in any way reflect acceptance of, or agreement with, any existing or proposed discriminatory hiring practices, including against transgender individuals in the Armed Services.
  4. Columbia University is committed to fostering an environment that is free from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault and all other forms of gender-based misconduct. Recruitment activities that are arranged through Columbia Law School, including on-campus interview programs and recruitment events, are covered by Columbia University policies.  

F.  Student Complaint Procedures

  1. Columbia Law School understands that employers strive to maintain a professional demeanor during all of their interactions with students. If students encounter any behavior that violates section E above, they are instructed to contact the Dean of the relevant Career Advising Office, immediately.
  2. When Columbia Law School receives a complaint from a student, the Dean of the relevant Career Advising Office may take one or more of the following actions:
     
  • Place the complaint in a confidential “watch” file in the relevant Career Advising Office. Employers in the “watch” file will be closely monitored by members of the relevant Career Advising Office for a period not to exceed one academic year to see if future complaints are filed.
  • Promptly call the employer involved to discuss the incident(s) giving rise to the complaint and seek clarification regarding the conduct in question. To the extent that the Dean concludes that the employer, while fully intending to comply with Law School’s Policies and Guidelines Applicable to Employers, acted improperly, the Dean will request that the improper conduct be modified. If the Dean determines that conciliation is possible and may be useful, he/she may work with the student and the employer to resolve the matter in a manner agreeable to both parties.
  • Determine whether the complaint should be brought to either the Employer Relations Committee (“ERC”)—a subcommittee of the Faculty Student Affairs Committee—or the Faculty Clerkships Committee (“FCC”), as applicable. Once the ERC or FCC reviews the complaint, it may decide to take several actions, including conducting a full factual investigation into the complaint and imposing appropriate sanctions if it is determined that there has been a violation of the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies.
  • If the relevant committee determines that there has been a violation of the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies, it may respond by:
    • sending a letter of reprimand to the offending employer;
    • informing the wider Columbia Law School community about the complaint;
    • placing the offending employer on probation for a specified period;
    • barring the employer from participating in recruiting activities for a specified period; or
    • imposing any other appropriate sanctions.

Note: The ERC includes administrative deans and directors and faculty of the Student Affairs Committee. The FCC consists of faculty and administrative deans.

Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions

To promote fair and ethical practices for the interviewing and decision-making process, Columbia Law School has adopted the following standards for the timing of offers and decisions:

A. General Provisions

  1. Except with respect to offers of employment as judicial law clerks, all offers to Columbia Law School students should remain open for at least 14 calendar days after the date of the offer letter unless the offers are made pursuant to Sections B or D below, in which case the later response date will apply. 
    • With respect to offers of employment as federal judicial law clerks, judges participating in the Federal Law Clerk Hiring Plan may, but are not required to, provide students with up to 48 hours to consider an offer, during which time the students are free to interview with other judges. With respect to either non-participating federal judges, or state court or other speciality court judges, best practice is to accept upon offer or by the offer deadline.
  2. Students are expected to accept or release offers or request an extension by the applicable deadline. Offers that are not accepted by the offer deadline expire.
  3. A student should not hold open more than five offers of employment at any one time. For each offer received that places a student over the offer limit, the student should release an offer no later than three business days after the receipt of the excess offer. Students are encouraged to hold open no more than three offers of employment within 14 calendar days of receiving their first offer. 
  4. Students should maintain their course commitments and communicate with their faculty.
  5. Practices inconsistent with these standards should be reported to the applicable Career Advising Office.
  6. Employers offering part-time or temporary positions for the school term are exempted from the requirements of Paragraphs B and D below.

B. Summer Employment Provisions for Second- and Third-Year Students

Recognizing that the needs of smaller offices can vary greatly from the needs of larger offices that recruit our students, employers participating in WIP are expected to abide by the following offer timing guidelines:

  1. Employers offering summer associate positions to students in an office with a summer class size of 11 or more 2L students in the prior year should leave those offers open for at least 21 calendar days following the date of the offer letter or until March 30, whichever comes first. Offers made after March 15 for the upcoming summer should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.
  2. Employers offering summer associate positions to students in an office with a summer class size of 10 or fewer 2L students in the prior summer should leave those offers open for at least 14 calendar days following the date of the offer letter or until March  30, whichever comes first.
  3. Employers who have offices that fall into both class sizes above are encouraged to adopt a uniform 21-day policy firmwide. Offices selecting the 14 calendar-day period will be denoted in materials shared with students.
  4. If an employer makes an offer to any student before the beginning of Columbia Law School’s Winter Interview Program, through a resume collection or prior relationship, that offer should not expire until at least 21 days following the first day of Columbia Law School’s Winter Interview Program. Columbia’s WIP schedule can be found on the WIP website or employers can contact the Office of Career Services at careerservices@law.columbia.edu to determine these dates.
  5. Employers are asked to include the expiration date and any reaffirmation requirements of the offer clearly in the offer letter. Students should follow the reaffirmation terms of any offers which they receive. 
  6. Students can accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely manner.

C. Summer Employment Provisions for First-Year Students

  1. To position law students to be as successful as possible, their efforts during the Fall semester of law school should focus on their studies rather than on job search activities. Nonetheless, opportunities to learn about professionalism, professional development, and the legal profession are appropriate early in law school, and Columbia Law School welcomes employer participation in student programs focused on professional development and not recruiting.
  2. Before November 15 (in the case of public interest, public sector and judicial internships) or December 1 (in the case of private sector), prospective employers and first-year law students should not initiate contact with one another and employers should not initiate formal one-on-one recruiting contact with students, including applications, interviews, or offers to first-year students. An exception for earlier recruitment is granted to government employers with extensive security clearance processes.
  3. Interviews should be scheduled for a mutually convenient time outside of class and so as not to disrupt students’ studies. We recommend that interviews be held after the end of Fall exams and prior to the Spring term.
  4. All offers to first-year students for summer employment should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.
  5. Students may accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely manner.
  6. Offers previously given to 1L summer associates to return as 2L summer associates should remain open through February 1 of the following calendar year.

D. Full-Time Employment Provisions

  1. Employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to any student previously employed by them should leave those offers open until at least October 1 of the student’s final year of law school, provided that such offers are made prior to or on September 2.  After September 2 of a student's final year of law school, employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to students previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 21 days following the date of the offer letter.
  2. Employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to any student not previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 21 days following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first. Offers made after December 15 for full-time positions to commence following graduation should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.
  3. Employers are asked to include the expiration date and any reaffirmation requirements of an offer for full-time employment clearly in the offer letter. Students should follow the reaffirmation terms of any offers which they receive. 
  4. Students may accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely manner.
  5. Employers offering students full-time positions to commence following graduation and having a total of 40 attorneys or fewer in all offices are exempted from Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Section. Instead, offers made on or before December 15 should remain open for at least two weeks following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first..

E. Public Service Extensions for Second- and Third-Year Students

  1. Students may request that a law firm employer extend the deadline to accept the employer’s offer for summer or post-graduation positions until as late as April 1 if the student is actively pursuing positions with public interest or government organizations. Students may hold open only one law firm offer in such circumstances. Employers are encouraged to grant such requests.

 

Standards for Private Sector Employers

These standards are effective as of August, 2020.

Columbia Law School values its relationships with employers and welcomes an exchange of information with employers at all stages of the job search process. This section and the next section on Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions are intended to provide clarity on our recruitment policies. If you have questions about these or other matters at any time, please contact the Dean of Career Services.

A. General Provisions 

In addition to the policies in this and the following section on the timing of offers and decisions, Columbia Law School subscribes to the NALP Principles for a Fair and Ethical Recruitment Process, and expects the employers with whom we work to be guided by these principles as well.

B. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies

  1. Columbia Law School adheres to the non-discrimination statement set forth by the Association of American Law Schools.
  2. As a condition of obtaining any form of recruiting  assistance from Columbia Law School, employers are required to confirm their willingness to observe our equal opportunity commitment:
    Columbia Law School pursues a policy of equal opportunity to obtain employment, without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, gender (including gender identity or expression), or sexual orientation. Columbia Law School communicates to each employer to whom it furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other recruitment functions the school’s expectation that the employer will observe these principles of equal opportunity.
  3. Federal law limits service in the United States military by some transgender individuals. This policy is in conflict with Columbia Law School’s policy against discrimination on grounds of gender identity or expression. However, the Solomon Amendment, another provision of federal law, provides that a university will lose all federal funds if a law school excludes military recruiters. As such, Columbia Law School cannot apply its non-discrimination policy in the case of military recruiters.This exception to our policy does not in any way reflect acceptance of, or agreement with, any existing or proposed discriminatory hiring practices, including against transgender individuals in the Armed Services.
  4. Columbia University is committed to fostering an environment that is free from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault and all other forms of gender-based misconduct. Recruitment activities that are arranged through Columbia Law School, including on-campus interview programs and recruitment events, are covered by Columbia University policies.   

C. Columbia Law School Calendar

  1. Columbia Law School’s academic calendar is available here.

D. Columbia Law School Grading System

Columbia Law School does not provide a GPA on transcripts and it does not publish class rank.  Information about Honors can be found on the Columbia Law School website.

E. Interview Selection for On-Campus Interview Programs

  1. Employers are not permitted to prescreen JD students for the purpose of on-campus interviewing, including requesting transcripts or other information about grades in advance of the on-campus interview.
  2. Student resumes will be provided in advance of the Winter Interview Program. Employers who want additional materials may request that students bring these to the interview.
  3. Additional information about On-Campus Interview Programs may be found here and will be provided to employers who register to participate.

F. Candidate Interviews Outside of On-Campus Interview Programs

  1. Employers participating in WIP or other On-Campus recruiting programs may not schedule or conduct initial or callback interviews of rising 2Ls prior to the WIP or On-Campus recruiting programs. This policy does not apply to:
    • Interviews conducted in accordance with organized job fairs
    • Interviews for employer-sponsored fellowship/scholarship programs
    • Interviews with 1Ls who are currently or were previously employed by the employer.
  2. Students are permitted to contact attorneys at firms participating in the Winter Interview Program for informational meetings.  However, students are not permitted to provide transcripts at the time of an informational meeting.
  3. Students are prohibited from applying directly to participating offices of firms scheduled to interview at WIP.  Callbacks for 2L summer associate positions resulting from 1L recruitment activities should be scheduled after WIP.
  4. Exceptions to this policy include the specific guidance on 1L interviewing found in the Summer Employment Provisions for First Year Students section below and the prohibition of student interviewing during the exam period.

G. Interview Programs Limited to Columbia Law School Students

  1. JD Interview Programs: Only current Columbia Law School J.D. students are allowed to participate in our Interview Programs (Winter Interview Program (“WIP”), Spring On-Campus Interview Program (“Spring OCI”), and Fall On-Campus Interview Program (“Fall OCI”)). Interviewers may not ask students from any other law school to present themselves for meetings at any venue, whether in person or virtual, where WIP, Spring OCI, or Fall OCI are under way. Interviewers who violate this policy jeopardize their firms’ ability to participate in future Columbia Law School interview programs.
  2. LLM Interview Program: Only current LL.M. students at one of the seven partner schools hosting the Overseas-Trained LL.M. Student Interview Program (“LL.M. Interview Program”) will be permitted to participate in the LL.M. Interview Program. Interviewers may not ask students from unassociated law schools to present themselves for meetings at the venue, whether in person or virtual, where the LL.M. Interview Program is under way. Interviewers who violate this policy jeopardize their firms’ ability to participate in future Columbia Law School interview programs. Read more about LL.M. Interview Program policies.

H. No Show Policy

  1. A student’s failure to keep or cancel a scheduled mock or on-campus interview by 12 noon the day before the interview will result in his/her suspension of access to the Career Advising Offices until emailing the reason for such absence to the student’s counselor.
  2. Please alert the Senior Associate Director of Recruiting of any “no shows” within 48 hours of the scheduled interview.
  3. The student will also be required to send an email apology and explanation to the employer/interviewer within 24 hours of the missed appointment, copying the Office of Career Services. Any two unexcused "no shows" will result in withdrawal of rights to participate in any on-campus interview programs.

Standards for Public Sector Employers

Columbia Law School values its relationships with employers and welcomes an exchange of information with employers at all stages of the job search process. This section and the next section on Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions are intended to provide clarity on our recruitment policies for public interest and public sector employers. If you have questions about these or other matters at any time, please contact the Dean of Social Justice Initiatives.

A. General Provisions

In addition to the policies in this and the following section on the timing of offers and decisions, Columbia Law School subscribes to the National Association for Law Placement Principles for a Fair and Ethical Recruitment Process, and expects the employers with whom we work to be guided by these principles as well.

B. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policies

  1. Columbia Law School adheres to the non-discrimination statement set forth by the Association of American Law Schools.
  2. As a condition of obtaining any form of recruiting  assistance from Columbia Law School, employers are required to confirm their willingness to observe our equal opportunity commitment:
    Columbia Law School pursues a policy of equal opportunity to obtain employment, without discrimination or segregation on the grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, handicap or disability, gender (including gender identity or expression), or sexual orientation. Columbia Law School communicates to each employer to whom it furnishes assistance and facilities for interviewing and other recruitment functions the school’s expectation that the employer will observe these principles of equal opportunity.
  3. Federal law limits service in the United States military by some transgender individuals. This policy is in conflict with Columbia Law School’s policy against discrimination on grounds of gender identity or expression. However, the Solomon Amendment, another provision of federal law, provides that a university will lose all federal funds if a law school excludes military recruiters. As such, Columbia Law School cannot apply its non-discrimination policy in the case of military recruiters.This exception to our policy does not in any way reflect acceptance of, or agreement with, any existing or proposed discriminatory hiring practices, including against transgender individuals in the Armed Services.
  4. Columbia University is committed to fostering an environment that is free from gender-based discrimination and harassment, including sexual assault and all other forms of gender-based misconduct. Recruitment activities that are arranged through Columbia Law School, including on-campus interview programs and recruitment events, are covered by Columbia University policies.   
  5.  

C. Columbia Law School Calendar

  1. Columbia Law School’s academic calendar.
  2. Employers should offer interview times that work with the student’s schedule so as to avoid students having to miss class.

D. Columbia Law School Grading System

Columbia Law School does not provide grade point averages on transcripts, and it does not publish class ranks. Information about the Law School’s academic honors, which are published on transcripts, can be found on the Columbia Law School website.

E. Interview Selection for On-Campus Interview Programs

  1. Employers are not permitted to “prescreen” J.D. students for the purpose of on-campus interviewing, with the exception of nonprofit public interest, government, and nongovernmental or intergovernmental employers who participate in the Fall On-Campus Interview Program and who opt to prescreen. Employers who opt to prescreen will be allowed to review applicants’ resumes and cover letters in order to select students to interview. This prescreening option is not open to private sector law firms or for-profit companies. It is optional for military employers.
  2. Employers can request that students bring other materials, such as a writing sample, to the interview.
  3. Additional information about interview programs will be provided to employers who register to participate.

G. Interview Programs Limited to Columbia Law School Students

Only current Columbia Law School students are allowed to participate in our interview programs, which include the Spring On-Campus Interview Program (“Spring OCI”) and Fall On-Campus Interview Program (“Fall OCI”). Interviewers may not ask students from any other law school to present themselves for meetings at any venue where Spring OCI or Fall OCI are under way. Interviewers who violate this policy jeopardize their employer’s ability to participate in future Columbia Law School interview programs.

H. No-Show Policy

  1. Please alert Office of Social Justice Initiatives of any “no show” students as soon as possible.
  2.  The student will be required to email an apology and an explanation to the employer/interviewer within 24 hours of the missed appointment, copying Social Justice Initiatives. Any two unexcused "no shows" will result in withdrawal of rights to participate in any on-campus interview programs.
  3. A student’s failure to keep or cancel a scheduled mock or on-campus interview by 12 p.m. the day before the interview will result in his/her suspension of access to the Career Advising Offices  until the student has emailed his/her apology.

Standards for the Timing of Offers and Decisions

To promote fair and ethical practices for the interviewing and decision-making process, Columbia Law School has adopted the following standards for the timing of offers and decisions:

A. General Provisions

  1. All offers to Columbia Law School students should remain open for at least 14 calendar days  after the date of the written offer when possible. Students are expected to accept or release offers or request an extension by the applicable deadline. Offers that are not accepted by the offer deadline expire.
  2. A student should not hold open more than three offers of public interest or public sector employment at any one time.
  3. Columbia Law School students are encouraged to avoid interviewing during class times. Every effort should be made by the employer to schedule interviews for a mutually convenient time so as not to conflict with the students’ exams, classes or other Law School academic commitments. Students should maintain their course commitments and communicate with their faculty.
  4. Practices inconsistent with these standards should be reported to the Office of Social Justice Initiatives.

B. Summer Employment Provisions for First-Year Students

  1. To position law students to be as successful as possible, the students’ efforts during the fall semester of law school should focus on their studies rather than on job search activities. Nonetheless, opportunities to learn about career paths, professional development, and substantive issues in the law are appropriate early in law school, and Columbia Law School welcomes employer participation in student programs focused on professional development and not recruiting.
  2. Before November 15 (in the case of public interest, public sector and judicial chambers) or December 1 (in the case of private sector), prospective employers and first-year law students should not initiate contact with one another and employers should not initiate formal one-on-one recruiting contact with students, including applications, interviews, or offers to first-year students. An exception for earlier recruitment is granted to government employers with extensive security clearance processes.
  3. All offers to first-year students for summer employment should remain open for at least 14 calendar days after the date of the written offer where possible.
  4. Students may accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely and professional manner.

E. Public Service Extensions for Second- and Third-Year Students with Private Sector Offers

Students with private sector offers may request that a law firm employer extend the deadline to accept the employer’s offer for summer or post-graduation positions until as late as April 1 if the student is actively pursuing positions with public interest or government organizations.

Students may hold open only one law firm offer in such circumstances. Employers are encouraged to grant such requests.

 

To promote fair and ethical practices for the interviewing and decision-making process, Columbia Law School has adopted the following standards for the timing of offers and decisions:

A. General Provisions

  1. All offers to Columbia Law School students should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter unless the offers are made pursuant to Sections B or D below, in which case the later response date will apply.
  2. Students are expected to accept or release offers or request an extension by the applicable deadline. Offers that are not accepted by the offer deadline expire.
  3. A student should not hold open more than five offers of employment at any one time. For each offer received that places a student over the offer limit, the student should release an offer no later than three business days after the receipt of the excess offer. Students are encouraged to hold open no more than three offers of employment within 14 days of receiving their first offer. 
  4. Students should maintain their course commitments and communicate with their faculty.
  5. Practices inconsistent with these standards should be reported to the Office of Career Services.
  6. Employers offering part-time or temporary positions for the school term are exempted from the requirements of Paragraphs B and D below.

B. Summer Employment Provisions for Second- and Third-Year Students

Recognizing that the needs of smaller offices can vary greatly from the needs of larger offices who recruit our students, employers participating in the Winter Interview Program are expected to abide by the following offer timing guidelines:

  1. Employers offering summer associate positions to students in an office with a summer class size of 11 or more 2L students in the prior year should leave those offers open for at least 21 days following the date of the offer letter or until March 30, whichever comes first. Offers made after March 15 for the following summer should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.
  2. Employers offering summer associate positions to students in an office with a summer class size of 10 or fewer 2L students in the prior summer should leave those offers open for at least 14 calendar days following the date of the offer letter or until March 30, whichever comes first.
  3. Employers who have offices that fall into both class sizes above are encouraged to adopt a uniform 21-day policy firmwide. Offices selecting the 14 calendar-day period will be denoted in materials shared with students.
  4. If an employer makes an offer to any student before the beginning of Columbia Law School’s winter interview program, through a resume collection or prior relationship, that offer should not expire until at least 21 calendar days following the first day of Columbia Law School’s winter  interview program. Columbia’s interview program  schedule can be found online here or employers can contact the Office of Career Services at careerservices@law.columbia.edu to determine these dates.
  5. Employers are asked to include the expiration date and any reaffirmation requirements of the offer clearly in the offer letter. Students should follow the reaffirmation terms of any offers which they receive. 
  6. Students can accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely manner.

C. Summer Employment Provisions for First-Year Students

  1. To position law students to be as successful as possible, their efforts during the Fall semester of law school should focus on their studies rather than on job search activities. Nonetheless, opportunities to learn about professionalism, professional development, and the legal profession are appropriate early in law school, and Columbia Law School welcomes employer participation in student programs focused on professional development and not recruiting.
  2. Before November 15 (in the case of public interest, public sector and judicial chambers) or December 1 (in the case of private sector), prospective employers and first-year law students should not initiate contact with one another and employers should not initiate formal one-on-one recruiting contact with students, including applications, interviews, or offers to first-year students. An exception for earlier recruitment is granted to government employers with extensive security clearance processes.
  3. Students should maintain their course commitments and communicate with their faculty. Interviews should not be scheduled during the exam period.
  4. All offers to first-year students for summer employment should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.
  5. Students may accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely manner.
  6. Offers previously given to 1L summer associates to return as 2L summer associates should remain open through February 1 of the following calendar year.

D. Full-Time Employment Provisions

  1. Employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to any student previously employed by them should leave those offers open until at least October 1 of the student’s final year of law school, provided that such offers are made prior to or on September 2.  After September 2 of a student's final year of law school, employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to students previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 21 days following the date of the offer letter.
  2. Employers offering full-time positions to commence following graduation to any student not previously employed by them should leave those offers open for at least 21 days following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first. Offers made after December 15 for full-time positions to commence following graduation should remain open for at least two weeks after the date of the offer letter.
  3. Employers are asked to include the expiration date and any reaffirmation requirements of an offer for full-time employment clearly in the offer letter. Students should follow the reaffirmation terms of any offers which they receive. 
  4. Students may accept the offer at any time prior to the offer deadline and should strive to make offer decisions in a timely manner.
  5. Employers offering students full-time positions to commence following graduation and having a total of 40 attorneys or fewer in all offices are exempted from Paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Section. Instead, offers made on or before December 15 should remain open for at least two weeks following the date of the offer letter or until December 30, whichever comes first..

E. Public Service Extensions for Second- and Third-Year Students

Students may request that a private sector employer extend the deadline to accept the employer’s offer for summer or post-graduation positions until as late as April 1 if the student is actively pursuing positions with public interest or government organizations and the judiciary. Students may hold open only one law firm offer in such circumstances. Employers are encouraged to grant such requests.