Caroline Koo always loved “the logic and language of law” and knew early on that she wanted to be a lawyer. Caroline, who was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Sydney, Australia, and earned a bachelor’s degree in government at Harvard. She chose Columbia for its renowned international law programs. While here, she discovered she wanted to be a litigator.
Caroline remembers her first oral argument for foundation moot court as a 1L. “It scared me to bits. I was shaking behind the podium and couldn’t speak for about 30 seconds,” she said.
She made it though arguments and found the experience so rewarding that she stayed involved after her first-year requirement. During her second year she was a moot court editor, designing an appellate advocacy problem for 1Ls and supervising them as they researched and wrote their briefs. This past year, she served as the director of the first-year program and as teaching assistant for Professor Philip Genty’s Workshop in Briefcraft, where she helped guide the 2L moot court editors.
Caroline enjoyed Columbia’s international law offerings, serving on the Journal of Transnational Law as a staffer her 2L year and head notes editor her 3L year. But her path moved toward litigation, and moot court was a primary focus.
“It’s a great chance for 1Ls to learn the practical skills of litigation — reading, research, brief writing, argument — that are very different than what you get from lectures and seminars,” Caroline said.
Especially valuable is the participation of alumni judges, who give students the realistic experience of getting peppered with questions during their oral arguments and then provide valuable feedback afterward, she said. Caroline, who will be a litigation associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, has promised to return to Columbia Law School as an alumni judge herself.