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Caution for Incoming CLS 1Ls

Dear Wormwood:

I hope you are finding your law school preparations none too taxing and your final summer outside the law enjoyable. I see in your latest letter that you're wondering about the living arrangements at the University Discordia Law School. I'm sure you're already tired of my own travails with a dorm room. Nevertheless, I'd advise that a choice of housing is something into which you should put a great deal of care.

I say this because at least at Columbia, price is no guarantee of quality. Yes, I ended up in a dormitory room, and I suffered from unsanitary kitchens and unwanted visitors therein. But heck, I was paying about $600 per month for 196 square feet of living space in a quasi-nice area of Manhattan, so I couldn't complain too much.

On the other hand, one of my best friends at Columbia lives in the elite law student housing at Lionsgate Apartments with a rent of around $1100 per month. Over the last two years, his eighth floor apartment flooded to the depth of two inches and an area of the floor becomes an artesian spring any time there's a hard rain. One window shows obvious water damage, and the superintendent took two months to replace some broken blinds[1]. Now I learn that her subletter has also complained about mice. This in a building described by the school as a "luxury high rise."

You're quite clever, Wormwood, so you can see the connection: same problems (well, OK, I never had flooding), but for twice the price. And once you're in to these buildings, it's made very difficult to get out. (Whereas trading for a more expensive room from a dormitory is not particularly difficult.)

So my advice to you before heading off to University Discordia is to find some friends among your soon-to-be-classmates and ask for their advice. Nothing substitutes for local knowledge. Then choose carefully.

[1]: In case you're thinking that non-functional blinds are no big thing, it's worth remembering that in New York City, anyone on your floor or above will be able to see straight into your bedroom at night if you have the courage to turn a light on.


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Of course, in most of Lionsgate you're above anyone within a half-mile or so. (Luis, a 1L who just broke a blind in Lionsgate and will be talking to the sup about it tomorrow...)

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