"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

-- The Dalai Lama

Monday, January 31, 2005

CU Law

I had a little free time today so I spent it over at the University of Colorado School of Law, as I am keeping an open mind and exploring my options thoroughly before sending any deposit checks anywhere.

My initial intent was to simply try and make an appointment with an administrative type who could answer some of my more specific questions. To my surprise someone was willing to talk with me right that very second! This threw me off a little, as I generally like to be ready with notes, lists, spreadsheets, etc. Still, I felt pretty warm and fuzzy at their level of accomodation.

First I asked her about study abroad programs. She wasn't able to offer a lot of information on this subject, except to refer me to another department - and to mention that she knew of one student who had studied at Oxford (lah dee dah!) this past summer, and that some students opt to study for a semester or more at other law schools in the US.

I asked her about the new building. The groundbreaking ceremony was last semester, and they apparently feel very confident that it will be ready for use beginning Fall 2006. I asked how probable this really is, as I have seen on various television programs construction projects running "off schedule." She said she has heard nothing regarding any sort of delay, and has even heard projections of June 2006 as a realistic finish date. It would be fun to be one of the first students to use a brand new law building. I chalked this up as a + in the CU column.

Next I asked about dual degrees. CU Law offers quite a few, the one in which I would be most interested being a JD/PhD in Environmental Studies. It was interesting to learn that a dual degree student at CU usually follows this schedule:

1st year: exclusively law classes
2nd year: exclusively insert other degree here classes
3rd year: combination
Remainder of time, if any: combination

She also informed me that basically any graduate level course at CU can be counted towards graduation credit as long as it is pre-approved with the registrar. Right now I think I would want to take all of my law school courses at the law school, but who knows what options there may be that I might not know about right now. And it is good to have options available.

Next, as I had expressed an interest in International Environmental Law, she sent me up to meet with a professor. He was very, very nice and spoke with me at length about the school's offerings in this subject area. He even kept his actual, scheduled appointment waiting! I was excited to learn that law students have the opportunity to work on the Energy and Environmental Security Initiative, and that there are opportunities for externships in the field.
There is also a journal, the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy, that I am told is one of only two of its kind (the other being at Georgetown.)

When I went to another office to find out more about this journal I met a very nice 2L who took a lot of time to talk with me about CU Law's good points. He assured me that it is a friendly, although competitive, atmosphere. He seemed very happy that he chose CU, and proud to be a student there. When I asked about job opportunities and the helpfulness of Career Services he admitted that he actually hadn't utilized their services but his friends had said they were helpful in their job searches. He talked about how he performed his own job search independently which resulted in a position at a non-profit that he is happy with.

My last stop was actually at the Career Services office to see for myself if they seemed to be helpful and nice. They were actually more helpful than I expected. When I asked about positions and salaries for those focusing on International Environmental Law she said that there was no specific data available but that she would pull some information together and email me. I was really impressed. I also was able to look through a book of job postings for students so I could see what types of positions I could expect to find when it was time for my own job search. (P.S. One posting was for a "blawg content writer.")

So, to sum up, I'm still keeping an open mind. We'll see what the money says, and how the ultimate pro/con lists look in the end. Between you and me I'm still fairly certain where I'll end up.


sui generis said...

You're actually an undergrad student at the University of Colorado, aren't you WhyLaw? I've never been to Boulder; what's it like to live around there?

Shannon said...

I actually live in a small town just outside of Boulder, but will move into town if I decide to go to CU Law.

There are lots of things about Boulder (and the area) that are great, especially if you are more active than not. Tons of great hiking, climbing, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, etc. etc.

It's a very educated town so there are ample opportunities to go to lectures and the like.

There are some cool coffeehouses - and tons and tons of bars, of course. Some fabulous restaurants, too.

The very biggest downside is the driving/parking situation. I almost never go anywhere in a car because the bus situation here is really great - and there's no where to park once you get somewhere. Traffic is a nightmare. I don't think this will change anytime soon. But! You definitely don't need a car to get around Boulder so it's not that big of a deal.

Also it's pretty expensive to live here, especially in Boulder itself.

The very biggest upside (to me) is that Boulder is beautiful. I also love the weather.

I hope this helps! Let me know if I left anything out that you are curious about.

sui generis said...

Awesome, good to know. I'll definitely want to talk with you more if I get accepted!

DeniseUMLaw said...

Which little town (if you don't mind my asking)? I grew up in Broomfield and Westminster (got my MBA at CU). Boulder is such a beautiful little city and the campus is gorgeous -- or, was 20 years ago! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm a 1L at CU. It's a solid law school. Of course there's a certain amount of competition, but overall, I've found the atmosphere to be extremely friendly and my fellow students are always willing to help each other out. For the most part, my professors have been very accessible and helpful. As for the building, I'm sure they will do EVERYTHING in their power to get it done in time. I know it doesn't always work out that way, but most of us are cautiously optimistic that it'll be ready for our third year!