We know you’ve heard of Cornell Law School, and probably have some ideas about what it’s all about already: Ivy League, popped collars, and prestige. But before deciding if you should send your application straight to the chilly ivory-towered heights of Ithaca, NY for immediate consideration, let’s glance at what separates Cornell from the rest of the secret society-ed, old school Ivy law school pack.
First, the dry stuff:
-2012 Graduates: 193
-Total Enrolled Students: 593
-Tuition per year: $55,220.
-93.06% of graduates from the class of 2012 employed within six months of graduation.
-54.4% of employed 2011 graduates were employed in law firms.
-Median undergraduate GPA for 2011: 3.66
-Median LSAT score for 2011: 168
-Median private sector starting salary: $160,000
-Median public service salary: $62,467.
-Dual Degrees for the Uber-Ambitious: JD/MBA, JD/MPA
Now, the meaty stuff:
Cornell Law School is competitive; you wouldn’t expect anything else from an Ivy or a law school. To train up those budding, cutthroat lawyer-skills, there are a ton of annual moot courts (one example, in case you don’t believe us: the Langfan First-Year Moot Court Competition) in which students can compete against each other, mano a mano (well, as mano a mano as a simulated courtroom can be). Don’t panic, though; Cornell doesn’t just throw you into that kind of competition, sink or swim; instead, they have a mandatory Lawyering Program for first year students to get all of those necessary real-world attorney abilities in line.
If we’re making it seem like everything is wall-to-wall jockeying for position (what, in the world of law, we might call “your career at a law firm”), it’s worth it to note that Cornell goes above and beyond most other law schools in encouraging pro bono work; every year the school has a competition (well, it is still law school) to encourage students to give back using their newfound powers of law, through initiatives like the Cornell Prison Education Project (just what it sounds like: teaching law to inmates) and in conjunction with organizations the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice. So go ahead and pay it forward while getting your ridiculously prestigious law education; get involved– that full law school resume is part of what makes Cornell Law graduates so employable.
Next, the fun stuff:
So as you’re educating yourself in preparation for that six figure median private sector salary Cornell Law graduates earn, you should also prepare for what needs to go with all that hard work: some well-earned play time. Ithaca is not exactly known for its rollicking nightlife, but there is plenty going on for the enterprising law student (how many hours do you think you can stay away from the law library anyway?). Just remember as you break out your best backless dress or suit up for a night out that Ithaca is literally the coldest place in the entire world, so slip on your best puffy Michelin Man-esque coat on top of that hot outfit before setting foot out of the door. Drop the gavel for a night and get a little weird; head over to Rulloff’s Restaurant, sometimes described as a decent restaurant, but better known as a late night party spot. It might sound cheesy, but nobody should leave Ithaca without at least one eighties night experience at Johnny O’s. If the “work hard, play hard” motto is less your style, there are approximately a thousand student organizations, ranging from law societies to a Spring Break Service Trip (hey, at least you’ll be warm while building those houses).
Finally, the after-you-graduate stuff:
At some point, every single law student in the history of the universe has a moment of panic about what is actually going to happen after law school. One big reason you go to a school like Cornell Law is because, both before and after you graduate, they are going to look after their own. While you’re still regularly rolling around in the freshly fallen Ithacan snow, the Cornell Career Services Center is where to run to when that customary freak out hits you. The office provides workshops and training for interviewing skills (remember to breathe!), resume writing, and how to accept and decline offers (that’s right; you went to Cornell. You get to decline offers!). In a more immediate way, it will help you find internships and jobs, and since internships are a great way to get yourself a job, that’s double the results. Cornell also has a legendary network of helpful alumni looking to help fellow Cornellians get a step up on all those other Ivy Leaguers, so be sure to take advantage of those career connections.
So, now you know a lot of stuff about Cornell Law… but we can’t do all the work for you. Do more research. Visit the campus. Even the best school isn’t necessarily the one school for you. But if you want to get your Ithaca on, Cornell admissions await. Good luck, work hard, and, of course, enjoy the ride.