Classes and Student Registration

Course Preparation Checklist

Classes and Student Registration

  • If you need to schedule a make-up class, please email and a member of the Student Services staff will be able to assist you.
  • If you need to record any classes, or need other classroom technology support, please email and a member of the IT Multimedia team will be able to assist you.

Faculty often choose to hire research assistants to help with a range of research-related tasks for a defined project or period of time or teaching assistants to help with classroom support. TAs and RAs can either receive course credit or can be paid. 

For paid work, this document provides guidance on eligibility, budget allocation, solicitation of applications, and the appointment process for research assistants. 

For course credit, students should formally register for either L6822 (Teaching Fellows) or L6685 (Unpaid Faculty Assistant Service), and submit this form with your signature to Registration Services. You will then award the student a Credit/Fail grade at the end of the semester. The number of credits should be proportionate to the hours worked with one credit corresponding to five hours/week over the course of a 14-week semester. 

Editing Course Descriptions

To assist students in their course selection, it is critical that instructors provide an overview of the course content and evaluation method. These course descriptions are published in the Curriculum Guide. Faculty are offered the opportunity to review and edit their course descriptions through LawNet. The Office of Registration Services has provided a guide to editing course descriptions in LawNet, and a tutorial video is available here.

If you experience difficulties logging into or using LawNet, please contact the IT Help Desk at (212) 854-1370 or

Components That Can Be Edited 

Instructors can edit the following fields:

  • Evaluation Information – Indicate if you are evaluating students by exam (proctored or take-home), paper, or other.
  • Registration Limitations – Indicate in this field if the course has limitations on enrollment (e.g., limited to JD or LLM students, 3L's only, Law students only, etc., or if admission is by instructor permission). If admission to your course requires your permission, specify in the course description by what date and how to apply for admission (e.g., send a CV and statement of interest to your e-mail or postal address, or to that of your assistant). Please confirm with Hazel May the list of accepted students by Friday, November 8.
  • Pre-Requisites – List in this field if you require students to have taken specific Law courses in order to be eligible to take your course.  You also can indicate recommended courses and/or background, without listing specific Law courses. 
  • Co-Requisites – List in this field any Law courses that students must take in the same term they are taking your course.  Instructors may list as a co-requisite course the same Law course that they list as a pre-requisite and which they are allowing a student to take concurrently if not taken before.
  • Writing Credits – Indicate whether students can earn one or more of the following in conjunction with your offering:
  1. JD Minor Writing Credit. Please indicate if students can earn Minor Writing Credit in either of the two following ways:
    1. automatically upon successful completion of the course (if your course requires a term paper or several reaction papers of at least 6,500-8,000 words in total);
    2. upon consultation with you.
  2. JD Major Writing Credit can be registered only upon consultation with the instructor; Major Writing requires at least two drafts of a major paper, with the final draft responding satisfactorily to the instructor's comments and suggestions on an earlier complete draft.
  3. LLM Writing Project must be completed in conjunction with an offering of at least two (2) academic points, graded A-B-C, and must be a paper of at least 6,500-8,000 words that is based on the student’s original legal research.  Reaction papers, journals, and other non-research based writing projects do not fulfill the LLM Writing Project requirement.  
  • Course Description – Enter your course description to provide students an overview of the content of your course and any other information that will assist students in developing their academic plans for the coming semester.
  • Learning Outcomes - The Law School’s Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan requires that each instructor list a “goals” or “objectives” statement as part of his/her course description in the online Course Guide.  Identification of 3 to 5 goals would be optimal and some instructors may want to use a hierarchy of goals, designating “primary” and “secondary” goals. More information about this plan and a list of illustrative goals can be found in LawNet.

Components That Cannot Be Edited 

Instructors cannot edit the Course Type or Course Category. If the information currently in LawNet is not correct for your course, please email Hazel May at

Please complete your course edits by 10:00 am on Monday, October 14 for Legal Methods II and 1L Electives and by 10:00 am on Monday, October 21 for all upper year offerings and, as always, please do not hesitate to let Hazel May know if you have any questions.

As part of the Law School’s Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan, each course must list “goals” or an “objectives” statement as part of its course description in the online Curriculum Guide.  Identification of 3 to 5 goals would be optimal and some instructors may want to use a hierarchy of goals, designating “primary” and “secondary” goals.  Students will be able to use these goals statements in making course selections and in framing their expectations for the course.   At the end of the course, as part of the course evaluation process, students will be asked the extent to which particular goals have been realized, on a goal by goal basis.  

Understanding that some faculty will want to create their own course-specific outcomes, while others prefer to select from a pre-existing list, the faculty also agreed to a set of outcomes that could be utilized by individual instructors:

At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in:

  • a specific body of law, including major policy concerns
  • doctrinal analysis, including close reading of cases and precedents, and application to facts
  • statutory and regulatory analysis, including close reading of statutes and regulations, and application to facts
  • ethical and professional issues
  • judicial, legislative and/or administrative processes
  • values-based considerations in law-making
  • jurisprudential considerations in legal analysis
  • the historical development of law and legal institutions
  • use of other disciplines in the analysis of legal problems and institutions, for example, philosophy; economics, sociology and other social sciences; and cultural studies
  • the influences of political institutions in law
  • comparative law analysis of legal institutions and the law
  • transactional design and value creation
  • finding, understanding, using and critiquing secondary legal literature
  • various lawyering skills, for example, oral advocacy, legal writing and drafting, legal research, negotiation, mediation, working collaboratively, client communication, and case theory and planning

Any member of faculty who has questions regarding the learning outcomes for his or her course can contact Hazel May, Dean of Registration Services.

Accessing your class list

  • To access your class list, login to LawNet using your Law School username and password [not your university UNI]
  • Click on “Faculty Services” then on “See Class List.”
  • Click “Select” to view your options.  You have the option to view your list with or without photos. 
  • Once the page has loaded, select “File” and “Print” to print the class list.
  • For more detailed information, see the class list instruction page at the Department of Information Technology website.

Creating a seating chart

  • Students will not be able to sign up for a seat in your class unless you authorize creation of a seating chart.  
  • To create a seating chart, access your class list using the above instructions.
  • From your class list, click on the "Seating Chart" tab to view and edit the seating chart settings for the class.  (Please note that not all classrooms offer an online seating chart; if a seating chart is available you will see an option to "Create Seating Chart".)
  • Click the "Create Seating Chart" button and follow the prompts. 
  • For more detailed information, see the seating chart instruction page at the Department of Information Technology website.

Names and Pronunciations

  • Class lists with pictures and student biographical information are available on LawNet.  LawNet also contains the names preferred by your students (if different than the name in the class list), audio of the name pronunciation, and students’ preferred pronouns (if one is indicated). You can access a guide to the LawNet Directory here.
  • Students will also have placards to facilitate name memorization. In our conversations, students express appreciation for professors’ efforts to learn and pronounce their names. They also find the placards useful as they learn their classmates’ names.


  • Perhaps counterintuitively, the existence of a wait list does not necessarily mean that a class is oversubscribed. Under the CLS registration system, students will appear on your wait list if they are registered for a conflicting class or if they are registered for more than the maximum number of credit hours.
  • Such students enjoy the option to drop other those classes and take yours instead, in order of their priority on the waitlist, if they do so within the first week of class.  Any students with lower registration priority will also be put on a wait list until students with higher priority have resolved their conflicts, even if the lower-ranked students have no conflicts themselves.  
  • However, it is extremely unlikely that every higher-ranking student will exercise their option to take your class [and in addition some students who are currently registered for the class may decide to drop it, in order to take up some other option they are simultaneously being offered in another class]. Thus, it is virtually certain that at least some lower-ranking students will get into the class if they stick it out for the first week.

Default Order of Priority

  • By default, students on a wait list will be automatically offered the opportunity to add your course in the order that they registered for it, and your class list will be updated in real time throughout the Add/Drop period. If you wish, however, you may offer priority in registration to students who are present in class during the Add/Drop period. But if you choose this option you should notify the class in your course description or by email, so that students shopping for classes will have fair notice of your policy.

Choosing a different order of priority

  • If you wish to register students in a different order from the default wait list or on any other basis, please contact Hazel May, Dean of Registration Services.
  • If you have specific rules for admittance to your class from the waitlist, please notify students and let Hazel May know if your waitlist should be frozen. 

You may be approached by students currently enrolled in other graduate schools at Columbia University wishing to enroll in your class. Full-time graduate students are permitted to do so with your permission, on a space available basis. If you determine that the student may enroll in your class, please provide them written permission and refer them to the cross-registration website for further instructions.

You may also be approached by a Columbia Law School visiting scholar requesting permission to attend your course. Again, this is allowed at Columbia Law School with your permission and on a space available basis. There is no formal process of approval for this process, nor would the visiting scholar appear on your roster or receive a grade. 

Columbia Law School does NOT permit any student to audit a class. However, if there is space in your classroom you may, at your own discretion, permit a student or other guest to sit in your class during one or more class sessions.


Changes in Your Class List 

  • You should expect changes to your class list during the Add/Drop period when students are allowed to make changes in their academic program.   The Add/Drop period begins one week before the first day of class and typically extends for two weeks. For the Spring 2020 semester, the period starts at 12 noon on Monday, January 13 and concludes at 11:59 pm on Monday, January 27. Students will be able to add and drop both classes and waitlists during this time. 

Instructor Opt-Out

  • Allowing students the flexibility to change their schedule in the first week of class enables them to make better use of academic counseling and their summer job experience, and is likely to provide you with a better match of students.  However, if due to the specific nature of your course it is very important to you to finalize your roster early [for example, in order to assign students to teams], you may choose to require your students to attend your initial classes.  If you choose this option you should notify the class in your course description and please also notify Registration Services.

Limit on Late Additions

  • Students are expected to finalize their schedules by the end of the Add/Drop period, so please do not tell students that they may join your class after this date.  If special accommodations need to be made, please contact Registration Services directly.

Limit on Late Withdrawals 

  • Withdrawal from a course after the close of the Add/Drop period is allowed only with instructor permission and only up through the sixth week of the semester (October 14 in the Fall term and February 15 in the Spring term).  For such late withdrawals from a course, a grade of “W” (withdrew) will be entered into the student’s official transcript.

Digital Registration Forms

  • The Office of Registration Services is piloting digital registration forms for the spring 2020 semester. If you request that your students submit digital registration forms, you will receive an automated email notifying you when it has been submitted. Please find here a step-by-step guide to reviewing digital form submissions. 

CourseWorks is now ready to accept textbook information for Spring 2020 courses. As Upperclass students will pre-register for Spring 2020 courses from October 29-November 6, we ask that you have all textbook requirements posted on CourseWorks at your earliest opportunity to ensure compliance with federal regulations. 

All faculty support staff have been trained on how to enter required and recommended textbook information for each semester's courses in CourseWorks. However, if you wish to enter the information yourself instructions are available on the web at:

For Visiting Professors who have not yet been assigned an assistant, please contact Dawn Moore at (212) 854- 2688 or for assistance. 

Any difficulty posting textbook information on CourseWorks should be reported to the IT Helpdesk (212) 854 1370 or

The textbook information that is posted electronically on CourseWorks (Canvas) serves also as an official book order with the Columbia University Bookstore. Paper textbook orders are no longer accepted. In addition, the Law School provides Book Culture with a list of textbooks.

We cannot post, distribute or sell materials that require copyright permission which has not been applied for.

All copyrighted material, whether it be CourseWorks (Canvas) postings, course packs, or handouts, must be cleared for each semester it is used. In the interest of expediting the process, we do not require you to wait until permission has been granted before producing or posting course materials. We presume that permission will be granted. If there is a problem obtaining permission, we will get back to you with options.

This applies to all copyrighted materials taken from casebooks, periodicals, journals, and web postings. Most government-produced documents, as well as court cases, rulings and opinions, statutes and anything in the public domain do not require copyright permission.

Permission must be applied for through Copyright Clearance Center online at prior to or concurrent with your materials being posted, copied, or distributed. You do not have to apply for everything at once. You can monitor your order even as you are still deciding what materials to use. All orders can be revised, amended, or cancelled.

Please also note that if you are using both printed and electronic materials, you must place your order for each format separately. Some materials that we can reproduce in print form are not available for electronic formats. You can, however, post hyperlinks to URLs for materials posted on the web. But if the title is being reproduced in print or posted on CourseWorks (Canvas)—even as an excerpt—permission must be obtained.

Please see the document titled "CCC Online" for procedures and instructions on how to apply for copyright permission online at Any requests for confirmation that your copyright order has been submitted should be directed to Dean Lance at (212) 854-2687 or Also, Dean can answer any general questions you have about the copyright process.

Instructions on how to post materials on the new CourseWorks (Canvas) system are available on the Educational Technology website.

Help for importing materials from previous semesters can be found at:

Any difficulty accessing or posting course materials on CourseWorks (Canvas) should be reported to the  IT Helpdesk (212) 854 1370 or​​​​​​. 

Course packs are produced by the Law School and made available for purchase by students at a maximum price of $50.00. If you intend to use course packs, please note that copyright permission may be required (see above, “Copyright Permissions”).

The maximum number of pages per volume is 150 sheets (this amounts to 300 pages if your material is double-sided).

As in the past, materials should be submitted to the Secretariat, Room 711 Jerome Greene Hall as hard copies, or emailed to print ready with a cover sheet as one merged file in an e-mail attachment in PDF format, or using Dropbox, Google Drive, flash drives or CD. Also, we ask that you provide a Table of Contents or a Syllabus in WORD, not PDF, which allows us to make revisions as needed, e.g., page numbering, etc.

The course packs will be sold from the Columbia University Bookstore.

Please note, and this is important, that course packs will be produced in quantities of 75% of class enrollment figures for courses that provide materials as hard copies only, and 50% of class enrollment figures for courses that make materials available both electronically and as hard copies. This formula worked out remarkably well in academic year 2017-2018 so we do not anticipate any difficulties using it again for the coming academic year. If it turns out that more hard copies are needed, we can always produce more, but that has rarely been the case.

Handouts are materials which are either distributed in class or made available for students to pick up at a designated location. Handouts containing copyrighted materials also require clearance which can be applied for online at (see "Copyright Permissions," above).

Please note that the Secretariat does not sell course materials nor does it keep any copies or originals.

Questions regarding the production of course materials or course packs should be addressed to Dawn Moore at (212) 854-2688 or

Disability Accommodation

Columbia Law School is committed to the full inclusion of students with disabilities in the life of the University. Some professors have found it useful to place language describing our disability accommodation policy in the syllabus. You can find sample language on our commitment to disability accommodation here

Regarding disability accommodation, you should reserve seats for students with physical disabilities. Additional guidelines can be found here.

Best Practices for Inclusive Pedagogy 

In recent years, we have had faculty discussions and workshops on promoting equity and inclusion in the classroom, and on strategies to encourage full participation. A faculty-student working group has discussed these issues and put together a description of strategies and techniques that some faculty have found to be useful and that students think are helpful in enhancing the classroom learning experience. These techniques include think-pair-share, pause/third hand cold calling, increasing the frequency of cold-calling, and diminishing reliance on volunteers. They are described in some detail in the “Inclusive Classroom Strategies” document, available here. Additional resources on inclusive pedagogy can be found here. In addition, the Law School intends to host sessions and workshops on inclusive teaching each semester, co-sponsored by the dean, the vice dean for curriculum, and the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, for which you can receive CLE credit.

Do you need assistance setting up your course in CourseWorks (Canvas), designing hybrid elements of a course, or creating an online course? Did you build a course in CourseWorks (Canvas) and you want expert feedback? Are you thinking about integrating a new form of technology in your classroom? Would you like to attend a face-to-face or online training program or workshop? 

Andre Laboy is the learning designer assigned to the Law School and will be able to help you.
212 854-0208
505 Butler Library