Prospective Students

On behalf of OutLaws, Columbia Law School’s LGBTQ student group, we encourage you to apply to Columbia! We hope that you decide to begin your legal career here.

Academic Opportunities at Columbia

Columbia is a dynamic place to study the law, particularly as a member of the LGBTQ community. Columbia is the proud home of the nation’s first Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic. The clinic is headed by Professor Suzanne Goldberg, counsel in Lawrence v. Texas and senior attorney at Lambda Legal. The clinic is entirely student-driven, and it partners with national and local LGBTQ organizations on gender and sexuality cases.

In addition, Columbia is home to many of the country’s most distinguished LGBTQ scholars and activists, including:

  • Professor Elizabeth Emens, whose focus areas include antidiscrimination law, family law, and gender and sexuality law
  • Professor Katherine Franke, a leader in critical legal thought, feminist theory, and queer theory
  • Professor Kendall Thomas, a leader in critical race theory and gender and sexuality law
  • Professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, a civil rights advocate and leading scholar of critical race and gender theory

Each professor serves as an important resource for support and guidance for students.

The Role of OutLaws at Columbia

OutLaws serves as a resource for LGBTQ students, working hard to ensure that members develop academically, socially, and professionally. OutLaws provides an environment replete with parties, mentoring, campus events, and opportunities to engage in the most important political issues affecting the lives of LGBTQ people. Below is a brief snapshot of our programming:

  • On the advocacy front, our activities have ranged from hosting discussion series on the implementation of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to tabling during blood drives.
  • OutLaws also maintains a busy social calendar, organizing mixers with LGBTQ groups from other New York law schools, and holding smaller, more intimate gatherings with fellow LGBTQ graduate groups on Columbia’s campus.
  • OutLaws also helps to jumpstart the legal careers of its membership by organizing events. Our events include our Out in the Law dinner, where LGBTQ attorneys from local firms and public sector organizations discuss their experiences in the workplace; resume review and interview workshops; and 1L Tips Panels, where upperclass students share their insights with our 1L students about classes, journals, and jobs.

All these events give students the opportunity to receive substantive academic advice and make important contacts with practicing attorneys.

All told, OutLaws is one of the most active student groups on campus. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds and interests; the one thing we all share is a sense of community. OutLaws works hard to incorporate all of the diverse aspects of its membership into its programming and encourages member participation at every step. First-year students have the opportunity to apply for one of our many 1L board representative positions.