Originally Answered: How do dual-degree programs work in the graduate schools (law-journalism) of Columbia University?
LSAT: At Columbia, you'll want to get in the mid-to-high 170s. The median score among those admitted is 172, but to maximize your chances, try to go a little higher. If you're graduating in May 2010, you will want to take the LSAT as soon as possible. June of this year would have been ideal, but I don't know if you have signed up for the exam yet. You won't want to go into it cold...study, study, study. Take it no later than October 2009 unless you are planning to take a year off between undergrad and law school. Don't forget that you will also need letters of recommendation.
You will not have to take the GRE in order to gain admittance into the journalism program. Requirements for the journalism program that is offered with the dual law degree can be found in my 2nd source.
Here is what Columbia Law School's website says about how to apply for a joint degree:
"Applications for admission to the Law School and the other chosen school must be filed separately. At the application stage, there is no communication whatsoever between the two schools; that is, each school’s decision to admit or not to admit is based solely on that school’s selection criteria. If one school admits, it does not automatically follow that the other school will admit the applicant. Applicants may apply simultaneously to both schools; if admitted to both, a deferment must be requested at one of the two schools. Keep in mind that some of the schools listed above do not accept deferments; you should only apply to them if you are serious about attending in the semester for which you sought admission. You also may decide to apply initially only to the Law School, and then apply to the other school at a later date; this process may be reversed as well."
According to the joint degree website (source 4), it will only take you 7 semesters, or 3.5 years, to complete the program. The program will allow 10 of your journalism credits to also count toward your J.D.
Because it requires more credits to graduate, a joint degree will cost slightly more - add in an extra semester to your cost total. Considering the costs of attending Columbia, I would say that this would add up to "a lot more money," but maybe you'll get some kind of scholarship. Even though half the student body at Columbia's law school receives scholarships, students are still left with an average of $100k in debt upon graduation (see source 1).
By the way, I highly recommend Top-Law-Schools.com's forums. They have a lot of people who are very experienced with applying to, attending, and graduating from law school.