Alyssa Weinstein- Columbia Law School

1. Please tell us about yourself. 

I am currently 24 years old and I graduated from Emory University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. I spent a year working at Deloitte Consulting in Atlanta before beginning at Columbia Law School. I am originally from Short Hills, NJ.

2. What first made you want to go to law school?

I knew in high school that I wanted to go to law school after participating in my high school debate team. I really enjoyed thinking on my feet, public speaking, and being challenged in an adversarial setting. Both of my parents are also lawyers, so I got to go to court with them a lot growing up.

3. Why did you choose your law school?

I chose Columbia mostly because of its location. I wanted to return to the NY area and I felt that Columbia would be the best school for me in this area in terms of reputation and opportunities for a career in government. Additionally, while I’m unsure about whether I want to start off at a big law firm, Columbia had an excellent reputation for placing students at firms. I felt that Columbia would provide me with the most options, which it has done so far!

4. What is one thing you wish you knew about law school or the admissions process ahead of time?

I wish I knew more about the strategy behind negotiating for financial aid. I applied early decision to Columbia, and I think that because I was bound to attend, I wasn’t able to negotiate at all for financial aid. While I was happy to know where I was going so early in the process, I would recommend to students who are concerned about scholarships not to apply to a school for early decision, unless they will be willing to go to a school at full price.

5. What student organizations or activities are you involved in?

I am currently the co-President of the Criminal Justice Action Network (CJAN), the Myra Bradwell banquet chair for the Columbia Law Women’s Association (CLWA), a participant in Moot Court (Stone Moot Court, Frederick Douglass Moot Court), and a law student volunteer for the Pro Bono Clinic for the Homeless.

6. Discuss any exciting jobs or internships you’ve had while in law school.

I spent my 1L summer at the US Attorney’s Office for the District of NJ and my 2L fall at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. I loved both of these internships because they involved spending significant time in court watching trials. At the US Attorney’s Office, in particular, I got to watch two murder trials — one relating to gang activity, and one as part of a brothel enforcement scheme.

7. What do you like to do in your spare time?

I run a lot (I’m currently training for my second marathon), I like to cook and bake, and go to art museums.

8. What is your dream career?

My dream career is to return to the U.S. Attorney’s Office as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. I plan to apply to clerkships this summer to start making this dream become a reality!