Letter from the Editor: The Art of Imagination

“There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.” – Roald Dahl When I joined the Muckraker as the Art Director last year, my reason for doing so (I must confess) was simple and selfish: I needed to escape the realities of law school. Weary from the constant internal battles between the artist and the lawyer, I sought comfort in the idea of escaping from the law and hiding in the arts. And so, I told Sam Wishman that I would “love to […]

A Year to Remember

I distinctly remember the first day of orientation last August – both anxious and excited to have left a very different world as a corporate lawyer in India to embark on my year-long LL.M. journey. Today, as this journey nears its end, I look back on this past year with affection and satisfaction. And I can only say one thing: If I could, I would do it all over again! Over the course of this past year, I developed some deep bonds with my colleagues and professors, which I am sure will stay with me for […]

On Friendships

As I look back on the last three years (!) of my life, one thing sticks out above all. It isn’t the classes, free pizza, happy hours, or journal work, although all that stuff was cool too. What I’ll always remember and cherish are the friendships I’ve made here. The truth is, I didn’t expect it to be so easy. For a 1L, CLS can be an intimidating place: the subject matter in class is alien, and the students are accomplished, driven, and hyper-intelligent. I didn’t expect nastiness, but I figured law school would be more […]

On Growth and Transformations

Anyone who has met me knows that I bleed blue. I went to Columbia College and come from a Columbia family. I’ve been going to homecoming for as long as I can remember and there are pictures of me with a Columbia pennant above my crib. Having been exposed to Columbia and told what an amazing institution it is for years, I came into my freshman year of college with high expectations. I expected that college would be my time to become an adult, figure out exactly what I want to do, and transform into a […]

The World in an LL.M. Classroom

Despite my initial inclination to find comfort in befriending some Spanish-speaking students like myself, the LL.M. program at Columbia started teaching me lessons the moment I stepped into Jerome Greene Hall. Many times, when we say we embrace diversity, we mean enjoying world cuisine or traveling to other countries for vacation; yet, appreciating real diversity—beyond just good food and world wonders—is without a doubt one of the best things I’ll take from the LL.M. program this year. I am lucky to have had a dose of the world every day, when I find myself staring at […]


When this year’s LL.M. students gathered together for the first time in August 2014, lawyers from various countries and backgrounds – transactional lawyers, fierce litigators, human rights activists, and scholars from all around the world, all with different skills and stories to tell – became students again. Despite our different backgrounds and viewpoints, we were all united under a common quest – a quest to learn, to share, and to strive for enlightenment. And CLS was our lighthouse in this quest. Located in New York City, Columbia is a diamond among the Ivy League schools. Its […]

Letter from the Editor: The Art of the Mosaic Identity

There’s something eerily fascinating about the concept of looking at yourself in the mirror. You see an image of yourself that is at once so familiar, yet foreign; a view of where you are and where you’ve been, the times you’ve laughed and the times you have cried, traces of those you have loved and those you have been loved by, the place you call home—your mosaic identity […]

Theme of the Month: The Legal Methods Curriculum

Legal Methods is one of the few common rites of passage for CLS students—a 3-credit boon that lightens the 1L course load and provides a transitional adjustment period before the pressure of graded courses sets in. It is the first chapter of our legal training, during which we lay the foundation for the earliest stages of our careers. But as the Legal Methods curriculum stands now, does it effectively serve its purpose? Let us hear from you with your votes and comments, and we’ll publish highlights in a special report in our next issue.

The Lifecycle of Social Justice: “A Day of Silence for Michael Brown” at Columbia Law School – Stage I: We hurt

I kneel from time to time. As black kids growing up, we’re taught to pick our battles. Some aggressions are worth actively fighting against, others we learn to bear. When someone confuses me with the only other black female in a room, I politely correct him, and kneel. When a potential employer stresses his commitment to diversity and in the same breath defends his firm’s lack of diversity, I nod, feigning understanding, and kneel. When a Columbia “Public Safety” Officer is dubious about my status as a […]

The Lifecycle of Social Justice: “A Day of Silence for Michael Brown” at Columbia Law School – Stage II: We react

We debated our options regarding the structure of the protest, aware of the few hours available to plan. Someone suggested we wear all black, but we had done that already just the week before. It felt insufficient; it was insufficient. A sit-in or a rally would be too disruptive, not to mention impossible to plan and schedule on such short notice. But what about silence? Covering our mouths with duct tape would allow us to protest peacefully. It would also enable our members to actively opt-in to participate throughout the day, whenever and however it was convenient for them[…]

The Lifecycle of Social Justice: “A Day of Silence for Michael Brown” at Columbia Law School – Stage III: We strive

So how do we move forward when we find ourselves at our wit’s end? How do we plan our next steps when the sting of injustice cripples us? How do we imagine a better tomorrow when clouded by the trauma of yesterday? That’s the thing about the struggle—it demands that we lick our wounds and press on, because falling back would destroy us. In situations like this, it would be commonplace to suggest that we simply continue to hope for a brighter future. That […]

The Plight of the Gentile, Or How to Deal with the Effects of Tear Gas

The night of November 24, 2014, I was 3,000 miles away from home. I’d had the Guardian Liveblog of the Ferguson Grand Jury proceedings up, and I contemplated powering through the night, despite my 8am class the next morning. But I fell asleep. Even knowing how the movie would end, I woke up the morning of November 25 hurting. All day, on the metro on my way to class, then back home upon discovering that class had been cancelled, I fought tears. If I wept on […]

On Langston Hughes

My throat feels sore from talking. I have been talking for days. Seated in Professor Sturm’s living room with some battle-weary folk. Sitting now on my porch in snow-capped Colorado. It is peaceful and quiet here, but I can’t escape heated images of flames, of rage, of desperation. I feel overwhelmed by my own feelings of grief: that my friends and strangers alike could feel so deeply cheated by both the system and country I have been taught to revere. It makes me feel cheated too. And, it is more than disconcerting. It is gut-wrenching, tumultuous, frenzied. It can’t be tamped down […]

Letter From the Editor: The Art of Listening – What We Heard, and What We Did

It was only when I started exploring jazz that I truly realized the importance of active listening. After countless failed solos, it struck me that the fine line between music and noise lay in listening to what the other band members were playing. Only then could the tune, the “conversation,” ensue. But despite my love for jazz, I realized upon starting law school that active listening, as a law student (and one in New York City), was not always that easy. Amid the sirens, the garbage trucks, the angry commuters in the streets, […]

Letter From the Editor: The Art of Courage (and Fear)

There’s one thing I fear more than anything in the world: PIGEONS. Believe me, my fear of pigeons is a valid one. The worst, though, is when I’m rushing to get somewhere, and I see before me Mr. Breadcrumbs and… his POSSE OF PIGEONS. I am faced with the ultimate question – do I keep walking forward, or do I retreat, cross the street, and walk on the other side? Which do I pick – courage or cowardice? As law students, we face countless situations that compel us to ask ourselves this question […]

Letter From the Editor

After our colleagues convincingly told us that they enjoyed our first issue, we sat eagerly by our mailbox waiting for letters to the editor, responses to our Query, visions for a new dean, and submissions to our Bulletin Board. None came! At the risk of sounding desperate: we want you to talk to us.

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