Yale 3L taking questions

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alexb240
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby alexb240 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:33 pm

Had nothing to do with political beliefs, I assure you. Some people are going to feel that way about law school all the time, and all people are going to feel that way some of the time. Regardless of the school in question.

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:46 pm

fluffythepenguin wrote:Is the intellectual climate at YLS for someone who isn't liberal really this suffocating, or did something else happen to make this student fly off the handle?

http://abovethelaw.com/2013/01/student- ... ates-them/


I agree with AlexB: this had nothing to do with politics. It is a highly personalized situation. It does speak to some broader cultural issues, but not in a really productive way. For example, there is a segment of students that reflexively thinks of taking a BigLaw job as selling out. But I'd say that (a) it's a small segment that's going to exist at every law school and (b) the vast majority of people here don't judge your employment decisions. Everyone has friends going to firms, everyone has friends going to non-profits, It's not a big deal. I'm not entirely sure what motivated that email, but I can say it's not representative of the school's dialoge and culture.

On culture for conservative students in general: The majority of the student body and faculty are left of center but within the general mainstream. Put another way, everyone's a capitalist.* Conservative students seem to find a home in YLS's well-funded, well-run, and well-connected FedSoc (Federalist Society) chapter. It's not enormous, but neither is it an insignificant portion of the student body. I'm not in FedSoc myself, so I really can't speak to how it "feels," other than to say there's always the opportunity in class to air minority viewpoints and everyone's welcoming socially. I subscribe to pretty standard Democratic views on most things, and I have a bunch of Republican friends, which strikes me as the modal experience here. In terms of getting faculty to supervise your papers, there is no problem at all. Nearly all faculty welcome it, actually, because it gives them the chance to debate someone instead of simply just having one more student agree with them. Another potential concern is whether faculty "punish" conservative students. There is no evidence of that. All the conservative students who want to clerk are in fact clerking with really well-respected conservative judges (e.g. Kavanaugh, Kozinski, Gorsuch). Two students are in my class are headed to the Chief Justice's chambers. These things only happen with faculty support.

That's all pretty general, but I don't know too much more about how FedSoc works. Hope that helps.

* By which, I mean 100% of the faculty and 99% of the students.

fluffythepenguin
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby fluffythepenguin » Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:53 pm

oso and AlexB,

Thanks a lot for your responses. I assumed it was not representative of the YLS culture, and it's good to hear current students confirm that this was a very unusual incident.

dreamflower
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby dreamflower » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:22 pm

Does

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:28 pm

dreamflower wrote:Does


No.

Just kidding.

Still around for new admits. I think something like 60% of people are admitted in March or April, so don't give up hope! My call came in the second half of March, I think.

LaBarrister
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby LaBarrister » Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:43 pm

I have a serious question. How fucking awesome must it feel to study at the country's (arguably) number one law school?

I mean, given that you'll either burn out from stress and being overworked or you'll love your job and make millions, it has to be pretty sweet, right? I mean you got the ties, the money's coming. Give us the inside scoop.

Edit: What car are you going to buy?

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:23 am

LaBarrister wrote:I have a serious question. How fucking awesome must it feel to study at the country's (arguably) number one law school?

I mean, given that you'll either burn out from stress and being overworked or you'll love your job and make millions, it has to be pretty sweet, right? I mean you got the ties, the money's coming. Give us the inside scoop.

Edit: What car are you going to buy?


I'm going the public interest route, with YLS hopefully servicing my loans. Maybe I'll be able to afford a Prius?

Maybe.

anela00
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby anela00 » Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:21 pm

Hey there -- thanks for doing this. I have a few questions:

**Are you happy at Yale?
**Do you like your peers? What are they like?
**What advantages does Yale offer over Harvard? (other than being #1 and the small class size) Harvard seems much better for my niche interest and URM community.

Ti Malice
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Ti Malice » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:21 am

anela00 wrote:Hey there -- thanks for doing this. I have a few questions:

**Are you happy at Yale?
**Do you like your peers? What are they like?
**What advantages does Yale offer over Harvard? (other than being #1 and the small class size) Harvard seems much better for my niche interest and URM community.


Just a 1L, but I'll give you my take.

(1) I'm definitely happy here. I'm also a little stressed, because I piled on the work this semester with my class selections, but I can't imagine being happier anywhere else. I've made some really wonderful friends here. (edited for privacy)

(2) Everyone is very bright, naturally, and many folks have interesting backgrounds. Everyone (almost) is at least nice. As with any top law school, some people are a bit over-intense/aspie-ish (usually the really young ones), but there are plenty of down-to-earth, friendly, genuine people with a good sense of perspective. I've obviously only attended one law school, so I can't make any definitive pronouncements on students elsewhere, but I surmise that having a significantly greater percentage of people at YLS who are PI-focused (many with strong PI backgrounds) is a net positive for overall likeability. Some people might find us more annoying for precisely that same reason, however.

(3) You're clearly choosing between two great options, but, unsurprisingly, I think YLS offers a number of advantages over HLS. Here are some, in no particular order:

(a) The YLS small group. Instead of being assigned to a section of 80 people, you will belong to a 16-person small group. Three of your first-semester classes will be larger classes in which your small group is combined with other small groups, and one class will be a seminar with just your small group. I suppose this could be a negative, but I feel like I got the best small group of all time, so it has been a positive for me. Our group really bonded over the course of the fall semester, and we've formed some really strong friendships. In many cases, people also form strong relationships with their small group professors. You've basically got a built-in mentor. Mine encourages us to come talk to him about anything. And these professors will go to bat for you later on.

(b) Ungraded first semester. I cannot overstate how amazing it is to be able to ease into law school with no concern whatsoever about grades. Even later, with no book prizes or other such stuff, grades result in a bit less stress here. I think Harvard has stopped requiring some percentage of LPs (if they ever did), but there is only one professor here known for giving out any LPs at all -- and getting one requires a genuinely bad faith effort.

(c) Only one semester of required courses. It's great to be able to choose my classes already instead of having some or all of them chosen for me for another semester. I can space my black-letter classes throughout my remaining semesters and will never have to take four (or even three) exams in one semester again.

(d) If you're into some sort of public interest law, COAP is better than LIPP (these are the two schools' LRAPs). If you decide you hate law and lawyering altogether and take up full-time work as a circus clown, you will not be barred from participating in COAP.

(e) Clinics in 1L spring. This is the only law school in the country where this is possible.

(f) It's the best law school in the country for Article III clerkships and legal academia.

(g) I think the bottom of the class is a little harder to distinguish at YLS than at HLS, and while I have no data or posts to back me up, I've read posts from people who have done a little research that indicated that results are worse for HLS students at the bottom than for YLS students. I think the poster Elston Gunn would have more info on this. Feel free not to count this as an advantage until proof is provided.

As a non-URM, I can't really speak to the URM experience here. My URM friends are happy with the social climate at the school, however, and affinity groups are very active. But it is certainly true that any given URM community will be much smaller in absolute numbers here than at HLS.

What is your niche interest, by the way?
Last edited by Ti Malice on Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:55 pm

anela00 wrote:Hey there -- thanks for doing this. I have a few questions:

**Are you happy at Yale?
**Do you like your peers? What are they like?
**What advantages does Yale offer over Harvard? (other than being #1 and the small class size) Harvard seems much better for my niche interest and URM community.

I'm happy with Yale. (See below for my thoughts on New Haven). There are basically three things that make the YLS experience for me. First, and this goes to your second question so I'll just answer it now, my peers are fantastic. I came from a large public school, so I didn't really know what to expect in terms of my peers. At first, it was a little intimidating to be around so many people with Ivy League degrees. But I quickly realized that I was just as academically prepared as everyone else and that everyone was really nice. That's a notable quality about YLS, I think: everyone is really, really nice. I mean, some people are a little intense in class, but aside from that I genuinely like being around almost everyone in my class. I also find students to be really supportive of other students. People are more than willing to share notes and outlines, to read a draft of your paper, to talk to you about firms and clerkships, etc. Missing class is never a big deal—someone will always help you catch up. I'd say the biggest downside to the peer group is just the number of people who keep their lives in DC/NYC/Boston. There's a lot of weekend commuting, so sometimes it feels like New Haven's emptied out on the weekends. But there are enough people who are around on the weekends where the social scene doesn't suck. Anyway, the people are great, and I assume this translates into a good alumni network as well (though I haven't really had to tap it yet and so I don't really know).

Second reason why I like YLS—the flexibility. You can focus on clinics. You can focus on writing law review articles. You can focus on classes, or moot court, or student groups. You can also choose not to focus and either screw off or earn a law degree while doing something else that's important to you (e.g. work a campaign). There are very few rules here, meaning you have outrageous amounts of freedom in structuring your law school experience.

Third reason—the faculty. I don't (really) give a damn that they're at the top of their fields. What matters to me is that for the most part—and there are exceptions—they are accessible and supportive. If you need a reference, letter of rec, a quick phone call to a law school classmate of theirs, the faculty for the most part is very helpful.

In terms of distinguishing Y from H, I think Ti Malice's summary does a pretty good job. What I would add from the benefit of 3L year is that I know of no one who is scrambling for employment right now. There's probably someone somewhere who isn't yet clear on what they're doing, but all the firm/clerkship/fellowship/government people are taken care of. More importantly, everyone's doing what they want to do. I'm sure H's people are employed, but I suspect that some portion of them were unwillingly shunted into jobs they don't care about. That isn't the case here.

Y is also full of people who don't want to go into law. I think the networks here are good for that, and COAP covers such job choices. Maybe that's the same at H, but it's especially salient here.

As for URMs, unfortunately I don't think the story is quite as rosy. Y's admission/yield rates of URMs are disappointingly pathetic. I don't really know what to say about climate and how it compares to Harvard. I think the best thing to do there would be to check in with the affinity groups at both schools.

anela00
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby anela00 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:17 pm

Thank you both for providing such thoughtful answers! Really, really helpful insights.

I was visiting another law school today (not YLS or HLS), and almost everyone -- including the professors who went to Yale -- said don't go there unless you want to go into academia (which I don't). They said Yale doesn't "teach you how to be a real lawyer" and that "many employers won't even hire Yale graduates because they don't have practical skills." What do you think of those kinds of statements?

Ti Malice
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Ti Malice » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:20 pm

anela00 wrote:Thank you both for providing such thoughtful answers! Really, really helpful insights.

I was visiting another law school today (not YLS or HLS), and almost everyone -- including the professors who went to Yale -- said don't go there unless you want to go into academia (which I don't). They said Yale doesn't "teach you how to be a real lawyer" and that "many employers won't even hire Yale graduates because they don't have practical skills." What do you think of those kinds of statements?


Were you at SLS? They're certainly not the only school that seems to make a concerted effort to present YLS in this fashion (Chicago's another), but they seem to lead the pack.

It's just irresponsible nonsense. I suppose these schools figure that terrifying students with made-up bullshit constitutes their best shot of getting them away from YLS. Meanwhile, there's not a less stressed 3L class in the country than the one in New Haven. I'd love to see one of these professors or administrators produce this long list of prestigious employers that refuse to hire Yale graduates. Anyway, don't sweat it. YLS grads don't take a backseat to any other school's grads in non-academic legal hiring.

The truth is that legal education in general -- and especially at the top schools (including the one you visited) -- is not really about teaching students practical skills. Most of what you will learn about real lawyering, you will learn on the job. The schools that focus on a "practical," "nuts-and-bolts," vocational-school approach to legal education are schools you would never want to attend (think Baylor).

But there are still plenty of ways to get practical training at YLS outside of classroom courses. YLS has 27 clinics for ~600 students, and you can start participating in them in your 1L spring semester. (SLS has 12 clinics.)

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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Mon Mar 25, 2013 11:04 pm

anela00 wrote:Thank you both for providing such thoughtful answers! Really, really helpful insights.

I was visiting another law school today (not YLS or HLS), and almost everyone -- including the professors who went to Yale -- said don't go there unless you want to go into academia (which I don't). They said Yale doesn't "teach you how to be a real lawyer" and that "many employers won't even hire Yale graduates because they don't have practical skills." What do you think of those kinds of statements?


So, I have no dog in this fight. I haven't started these threads every year to convince people to attend YLS. I'm honestly trying to give information as best I can, knowing that YLS is for some people but not everyone. (Seriously, there are some people who shouldn't go here). I hope that gives me at least some street cred when I say the whole "YLS won't teach you to be a lawyer" is the biggest falsehood I've ever heard said about the school. It's complete bullshit, for much the reasons TI says.

A few things to add, from the vantage point of being a 3L:

* BigLaw falls all over themselves hiring our people at OCI (called FIP here, because we call everything by a different name). There are only 200 of us, something like 30-50 people don't participate, so really it's like 150, 170, and virtually everyone gets a job. The most socially awkward people I know got jobs. The people who screw off constantly and never go to class got jobs. The people who hated firms and wanted to do public interest but were too afraid to forego a firm offer got jobs. Even when they straight up told the interviewer that they didn't see themselves taking the firm offer. To be sure, there was probably someone somewhere who got screwed, but I don't know a single person who wanted a firm job and didn't get it. If what you want is BigLaw in NYC/DC/Boston/SF/LA, you will get a job.

* Getting a job and learning how to be a lawyer are different concerns, and they're actually not really related. If what you're concerned about is learning how to be a lawyer, I can't imagine a better place to do it than YLS. TI is right to talk about the number of clinics, but that's really only the tip of the iceberg. Access to clinic and quality of instruction are key; see here for my previous post on the subject, which I stand behind. The gist: our clinical program is second to none. Our clinical student:clinical faculty ratio is insanely low, the cases we take on are great from the level of the Connecticut trial court to the Supreme Court clinic. In short, law schools do a terrible job teaching you how to be a lawyer. That's the same at HYS. But our clinical program counters that, and in a major way.

* Which leads me to my second point regarding employment opportunities. Maybe you want to litigate, but BigLaw isn't for you, you're more a public interest person. The reputation of our clinics is well known; our clinical faculty go to bat for people, and the public interest people are "taken care of" via fellowships. At this point in the year, nearly every public interest minded (read: didn't go to a firm) 3L is employed for next year. When TI says the 3Ls aren't stressed out; this is what s/he's talking about. Our public interest people are employed at graduation and usually without a detour to a firm, if they so choose. Again, there are exceptions. One or two people are scrambling right now. But on the whole, public interest employers want our clinical students.

* I have to admit, we're much weaker in the transactional area. We don't really have a transactional clinic (we have one that sorta does), and so those opportunities are a little tougher to come by. But again, our people are employed in BigLaw, which is where the transactional people go, and I get the sense they learn it there.

In short, there is nothing to the myth that you can't become a lawyer at YLS. All the other concerns—big/small class, cost of attendance, portability of degree, whether there's a public interest community, faculty ratio—are real. This one, though, is just a made up scare tactic.

Edit: Here's the thread I mentioned above but didn't link to. My Mar. 7 post about clinics.

anela00
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby anela00 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:36 pm

I wasn't at SLS, but now I know what to be prepared for when I visit in a couple weeks! The people saying that were at Michigan. Thank you both for providing so much information to dispel that myth.

Your responses have prompted a few more questions:

*What types of people should NOT go to Yale?

*How do you think the small class size works out for people who are relatively quiet/introverted? In my experience, quiet people in smaller groups tend to stand out (not in a good way) because they're quiet, while with larger groups, it's easier to blend in. I'm a little worried about people thinking I'm weird for being quieter.

*Does Yale offer externships? My Google skills are probably failing me, but I haven't been able to turn up much about that topic. The ability to do an externship seems very valuable for those of us whose interests aren't covered by the clinics.

*On a related note, does Yale offer any opportunities to do a semester or other work in DC?

*The TLS common wisdom on HYS vs. full ride at another T14 seems to be "take the full ride, unless it's Yale." Do you agree with this? I received a fairly generous financial aid package from Yale, but I would still need to take out about $120k in loans. Since I plan to do public interest, I will likely be covered by COAP for most of the 10 year repayment period. Given this, is there any reason not to go to Yale and instead take the full ride?

Thanks so much again for doing this!

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:41 pm

anela00 wrote:Your responses have prompted a few more questions:

*What types of people should NOT go to Yale?


Yale is unstructured. The attitude here is that people should be allowed to experiment with whatever they're interested in. If you want to focus on writing academic articles, great. Clinics, fine. Moot court, go ahead. Non-legal stuff, no problem. You can take all law classes, almost no law classes, or anything in between. (And a bunch of people do go through learning virtually no "law" in the black letter sense).

For some, this lack of structure and total ability to experiment is great. For others, I imagine it's quite difficult. If you need a three year plan and you need someone else to provide it for you (i.e. you don't plan yourself), YLS might be a tough place to spend three years.

Similarly, the main method of learning how YLS works, how to get ahead at YLS, etc. is through informal networks. There is no manual. This is one of the largest problems at the school, IMO. The way to learn which professors to write with, to RA for, or to ask for recs; which clinics to take; who best supports student efforts to publish, etc. is by asking 2Ls and 3Ls. The information is all knowable, but you do need to go out and get it. This system slightly favors people who are well-connected before arriving here (e.g. people who went to H/Y, folks in prestigious scholarship networks, students with lawyers in the family etc.) and disadvantages students not in those categories. I am in the latter group—from the west, not a prestigious undergrad school, first in family to grad school. I admit that I entered YLS knowing less about how to structure my YLS experience than other people. That said, there are a few things to note. First, this is probably basically the same everywhere. Second, people here are really conscious of this fact (more so now than when I started, I'd say this is an area where there's some commitment to leveling the playing field) and are working to spread info better. Third, this may be more difficult, I think, for men than women. Women can/do/must join Yale Law Women, through which they are assigned a "big sib" and then are mentored through this specific issue. There is no analogous organization for men who, I think, muddle through it just fine.

In the end, I don't think this is a deal breaker for YLS. I think it's something to be conscious of and to work around, but not a reason not to come here. The fact of the matter is any 1L can email almost any 3L at this school and ask to go grab coffee and pick someone's brain. You're going to get the info you need so long as you ask for it.

With the benefit of hindsight, had I known this problem—both the importance of looking to informal networks for information and the comparative ease of developing those networks here—before deciding between here and NYU (my other realistic option), I still would have come here.

anela00 wrote:*How do you think the small class size works out for people who are relatively quiet/introverted? In my experience, quiet people in smaller groups tend to stand out (not in a good way) because they're quiet, while with larger groups, it's easier to blend in. I'm a little worried about people thinking I'm weird for being quieter.


I'm a little more extroverted, so I ran this question by a quieter/introverted friend, and we both saw the answer to this question the same way: a smaller school is probably better for quieter people. If you're at a large school and you blend in, it’s likely you’re going to get lost in the crowd. And maybe that's socially comfortable, but it might be tough to develop friendships, might be tough to get on professors' radar screens, might be tough to access the human resources you need to access to get where you want to go (more on this below). The small group system here (16 people you take all your 1L first semester classes with) is, I think, quite supportive of quieter students. The groups gel together quickly and provide a friend base from which you operate the rest of law school. Small groups are, by and large, incredibly supportive of each other. Mine allowed louder students to talk as much as they wanted, didn't pressure quieter students to talk, and then we shut the hell up when a quieter student did want to speak, recognizing that that person had a right to equal air time. 1L professors are pretty good about equitable participation in classes. Because our faculty/student ratio is absurdly low it's not hard to get a professor's attention once you move into the rest of the school halfway through year one. So I think our small size cuts in favor of quieter people.

I'm thinking about some of the quieter members of my class, and two thoughts come to mind. First, I know who these people are. At this point (4 weeks before graduation, mind you) I know nearly everyone in my class. I've talked to basically everyone at some point or another. We know each other, which I think will be really important later on in life. Second, by and large, the folks I'm thinking of are just as successful as everyone else: headed onto good clerkships, good firms, have good fellowships, etc. So, look, I'm not what anyone would call quiet, so I'm not the best person to ask here, but I would think this is a good community for someone who doesn't like to speak up in class/dominate the social scene because you’re not going to get lost in the shuffle and you’re going to still be able to develop faculty and peer relationships. At the end of the day, this is an incredibly supportive student body. And, lets face it, everyone here is weird—being quiet is going to be pretty low on the weird scale around here.

anela00 wrote:*Does Yale offer externships? My Google skills are probably failing me, but I haven't been able to turn up much about that topic. The ability to do an externship seems very valuable for those of us whose interests aren't covered by the clinics.


Not really. The main one we do offer is the prosecution externship, which places students in the U.S. Attorney's office and the State's Attorney's office here in CT. Aside from that, maybe no externships. I think the reason for this is the robust set of clinical offerings and the total ease with which you can join virtually any clinic at virtually any time. In short, we don't need externships, because we offer much the same activities but under faculty supervision. If you're looking for externships because you want to be at a specific organization/s, then, well, the problem is really being in New Haven rather than our externship offerings. If there's a specific area you're interested in, let me know and I can tell you if we offer something that matches your interest.

anela00 wrote:*On a related note, does Yale offer any opportunities to do a semester or other work in DC?


Not formally. Very occasionally people just go down to DC for a semester even though there isn't a program, but it would take a little work to arrange something like that and it's probably frowned upon by most faculty and the administration. A really determined student could probably make it work, but likely only with informal faculty support.

anela00 wrote:*The TLS common wisdom on HYS vs. full ride at another T14 seems to be "take the full ride, unless it's Yale." Do you agree with this? I received a fairly generous financial aid package from Yale, but I would still need to take out about $120k in loans. Since I plan to do public interest, I will likely be covered by COAP for most of the 10 year repayment period. Given this, is there any reason not to go to Yale and instead take the full ride?


So unlike the quiet/introverted thing, you’ve described my exact mindset, career goals and financial aid situation (down to the loan amount) when I was applying. So I can talk about this one with some specificity. It’s tough to answer whether here at 120k vs. elsewhere (I’ll use NYU, since that was my option) with a “full ride.” (I’ll explain the quotes in a second). And keep in mind I’m not in loan repayment yet, so I haven’t yet experienced the crushing weight of the loan payments.

First thing to keep in mind is that you probably don’t actually have a full ride. My deal at NYU was tuition was covered, but there were still books, living expenses, summer expense, and transportation. In New York, this would have added up to something like 60-70k over the course of the three years, which I would have financed with loans. So it’s really NYU for, say, 65k versus YLS for 120k. That’s different than comparing 120k to a true zero. I don’t know your situation—maybe you’ve been given a stipend (in which case, good for you!)—but “full ride” rarely means truly free.

Know, obviously, the details of the different LRAPs. Consider the differences in how they treat single vs. married people (are domestic partnerships "marriages" for LRAP purposes?), how non-income assets are treated (if you inherit 15k from your great-great aunt Ida, will the school take it?), etc. That might all seem like nonsense now, but COAP/LRAPs have a 13 year time horizon (3 yrs school + 10 year repayment). Life changes (or at least mine did!).

Also look into summer support. We get 6k a summer if you’re at a public interest organization, and we’re eligible for that twice. Compare that to the support offered at the free ride school.

Yale has opened up doors to me that I know would have been tough elsewhere. I have terrific faculty supporters here, and they're people I was able to develop something of a relationship with early on. I don't know, to be honest, if I would have the same if I was at a large school like H, C, or NYU, where the faculty/student ratio isn't favorable. I really don’t have a sense of how that works. Beyond that, our public interest community is extraordinarily strong. Faculty make sure people get to where they need to go. Students are supportive (there's no looking down on people who forego the firm route here). The Yale brand will get you into most doors. Clerking is considered important to public interest litigators (less so to public interest people doing, say, policy work), and you're ability to clerk coming from Yale is much stronger than from anywhere else.

Over my two summers, I've worked with public interest minded folks from other T-14 schools, plus I have a few friends at places like Berkeley and NYU. My sense is that you can be as successful there as here, but that your success isn't as “guaranteed” there as it is here. If you're at a larger school, esp. if it isn't H or C, you might struggle to find employment in the public interest sector at graduation. Unless you score a fellowship, it's going to be tough to get a job. You can get a Skadden or an EJW coming from any T-14, but you won't necessarily win one anywhere (including here). Any school would be lucky to get four of those in a given cycle. But we have fallback fellowships. As my class goes out to graduation, virtually all the public interest people are employed. There might be one person who isn't who I'm just not aware of, but by and large we're all taken care of. That is unlikely to be the case elsewhere. I think it’s easier to launch a public interest career from here.

And a final point on that. I think our clinical program is tops in the country. Access to the program is virtually completely open. You can spend five semesters in clinic. I have friends who have been in three and four clinics—at the same time. You really can spend almost your entire three years working with clients/on issues. This allows you to develop skills that are valued by employers. There is a small cadre of us (i.e. the five semester clinic people) who have more litigation experience, I’m sure, than any other 3Ls in the country. Of course, that pales in comparison to, say, an NYU grad with two years of experience. But when it’s between one of us and any other 3L for a job, I think we beat out the other 3L—at least on experience—19 times out of 20.

I honestly don’t know with certainty if YLS was worth the extra 60k. I suspect it is worth it, based on experience in law school, faculty contacts, and the knowledge that I’ll be employed at graduation (thus freeing me to do whatever I wanted during law school). But that’s a personal choice. I’m happy to talk privately, too, with any public interest focused person—that’s probably the type of applicant I can best give advice to anyway.

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howlery
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby howlery » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:30 pm

Given that the class size is so small, do you know of anyone who will be or who has clerked for SCOTUS? What is the competition like for the very best recommendations/phone calls at YLS? I remember reading an ATL article in which the author explains how YLS wasn't cutthroat in the traditional sense (top grades) but everyone was vying for the attention of certain faculty. I guess this applies to forging that kind of relationship with faculty regardless of your career objective (SCOTUS, Bristow, etc.).

Also, do you know any people who got in to YLS with relatively low numbers? Do they have a harder time as a URM/Rhodes/etc. with strong but not amazing (3.9/176+) numbers?

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:02 pm

howlery wrote:Given that the class size is so small, do you know of anyone who will be or who has clerked for SCOTUS? What is the competition like for the very best recommendations/phone calls at YLS? I remember reading an ATL article in which the author explains how YLS wasn't cutthroat in the traditional sense (top grades) but everyone was vying for the attention of certain faculty. I guess this applies to forging that kind of relationship with faculty regardless of your career objective (SCOTUS, Bristow, etc.).

Also, do you know any people who got in to YLS with relatively low numbers? Do they have a harder time as a URM/Rhodes/etc. with strong but not amazing (3.9/176+) numbers?


Three members of my class are clerking for SCOTUS. I imagine there will be more eventually and perhaps a person or two who hasn't stated it openly.

In terms of getting top recommendations, I wouldn't describe it as cutthroat. For that type of thing, you aren't really competing against others. It's more a positioning game, making sure you know the professors who can make that happen. I think it's the kind of thing were you need to prove yourself to your recommenders as opposed to filling your class's quota of SCOTUS clerkships. I need to emphasize that outside of the half dozen feeder judge cadre (i.e. for the vast majority of people), the whole clerkship dance isn't something you start at Day 1. There are plenty of us moving onto the clerkships we really wanted and we were able to do so without gunning for them from the day we stepped onto campus. I didn't plan my law school career around the clerkship application process in the least, didn't have a bounty of recommenders, and I got basically exactly what I wanted. I should also mention that the three folks I know who are headed to SCOTUS are not gunnerish in the least. All pretty unassuming, really nice people.

On the numbers question, people don't talk their numbers once here. (It would be really socially unacceptable to do so). GPAs vary so much from school to school, I doubt they're really all that predictive. Similarly, the difference between a 170 and a 175 isn't going to mean anything. Professors here bend over backward to make sure you pass their classes. If you are admitted, I suspect you'll do fine in class. Studying in groups is encouraged. People do outline their classes together. We use hornbooks and the nutshell books when confused just like everyone else. If you aren't understanding class, it's probably because the professor is from Mars and no one is able to follow along. In general, everyone does fine.

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Yukos
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Yukos » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:47 pm

Thanks to the students for providing such thorough answers.

Since the first semester is straight pass/fail, does everyone just get whatever 1L summer job they want? Obviously employers have no way of judging you. Or does your pre-law school resume just become more important?

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:07 pm

Yukos wrote:Thanks to the students for providing such thorough answers.

Since the first semester is straight pass/fail, does everyone just get whatever 1L summer job they want? Obviously employers have no way of judging you. Or does your pre-law school resume just become more important?



Good question. Here's how 1L jobs work.

You can't apply until Dec. 1. This is a nation-wide rule, doesn't matter where you go. In November, you'll start to think about this, making a list of places you're interested in applying to, talking to 2Ls, gathering application materials. Virtually everyone does public interest (broadly defined). Assuming that's your track, you'll apply on a rolling basis between Dec. 1 and mid-February. Why is the window so large? Well, a fair amount of the government jobs do hire in December, especially the U.S. Attys Offices in NY (SDNY and EDNY) and DC as well as most of the DOJ stuff. Some larger non-profits also hire in Dec. A lot of smaller places hire in Jan. and Feb., and the West Coast goes later than the East Coast so a lot of people are still interviewing into the New Year.

If you're going abroad, everything is pushed back quite a bit. You might not start until February/March. A handful of people go to a firm (I've never really understood why, it makes very little sense financially or in terms of a career path. But maybe I'm missing something). I don't know what the timing is like if you're going to a firm.

If you're doing domestic public interest (which is 85% of the class here), the interview is a basic "do you have a personality" interview. What's your favorite class, what's that famous professor like, what do you envision your career path to be, that kind of thing. Grades, as you point out, are credit/non-credit. (Everyone gets credit). I think the implication of your question—which is fair, especially from the perspective of an admitted student—is whether YLSers are disadvantaged by not having grades. Grades don't drive the 1L hiring process (or, for that matter, the 2L hiring process). Even if you were at a different school, you still wouldn't necessarily have grades. A lot of times they don't post until well into the spring, so a December or January applicant from Harvard or Stanford or anywhere else won't have their grades either, so it's a complete wash.

Even if they do have access to your first semester grades, I suspect employers wouldn't care. 1Ls don't really know anything about the law yet, and this regardless of where you attend school, whether you're paying attention in class, etc. Put another way, even the most gunnerish student at Y/S/H is still going to be really rough during their 1L summer, and employers know this and know they're going to be working with 1Ls on a pretty basic level. Consequently, the interview process is a just rough sorting process designed to make sure they don't pick a total space cadet. The fact you go to Yale means they're able to assume you're probably smart enough to be a 1L intern, so you're pretty much good to go. I don't want to overstate the value of Yale in this particular instance, though. I think employers will make the same assumption about H and S students and, to be honest, probably most people coming from the T14. Of course, as you go on through 2L and then onto the real job market, the Yale name because more and more valuable, but in terms of 1L jobs there probably isn't much of a distinction.

The 1L job hunt is low stress. If you're doing the domestic public interest path, you can wind up in whichever city you want.* You can probably do whatever job you want.** YLS gives you 6k to make rent and make sure you can eat. So bottom line: you're asking a good question, and thankfully this is one I can assure you everything is going to go just fine.

* The people who want to go abroad seem to wind up in cities/countries they're interested in, but I think you have to be a little more flexible than if you're staying in the country. But then again, the folks who are internationally minded tend to be more flexible to start with, probably, so NBD. In terms of domestic firms, there aren't a ton of firms that take 1Ls, but you can probably make it work in most major legal markets.

** The biggest exception to the "You can probably do whatever type of work you want in whichever city you want" rule is federal criminal stuff. A lot of people want to go to the USAOs/Fed Defenders in NYC and DC, and just because there are limits to the number of spots available, not everyone gets these jobs (though most do). If you really want to do crim and you don't get a federal job, you just go the state route. You'll probably have a better experience anyway; the people who have state level internships are way more likely to get court time. Similarly, some big non-profits (e.g. some, though certainly not all, parts of the ACLU) won't hire 1Ls.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Elston Gunn » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:49 pm

oso84 wrote:If you're going abroad, everything is pushed back quite a bit. You might not start until February/March. A handful of people go to a firm (I've never really understood why, it makes very little sense financially or in terms of a career path. But maybe I'm missing something). I don't know what the timing is like if you're going to a firm.


Only like 50% of the class gets significant grants. A firm job is still $15-$20K less in loans even if Yale makes you use it toward tuition, and it's just extra cash if your parents are paying.

tirakon
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby tirakon » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:27 pm

oso84 wrote: I'd say the biggest downside to the peer group is just the number of people who keep their lives in DC/NYC/Boston. There's a lot of weekend commuting, so sometimes it feels like New Haven's emptied out on the weekends. But there are enough people who are around on the weekends where the social scene doesn't suck. Anyway, the people are great, and I assume this translates into a good alumni network as well (though I haven't really had to tap it yet and so I don't really know).


Can you elaborate more on life in New Haven? What do people do for fun? My main concern about Yale at this point is that I absolutely love living in NYC, and I'm afraid that I will seriously miss having access to all the amazing museums, theaters, and restaurants.

Also, how common is it for people to travel to NYC on weekends?

edamame
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby edamame » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:39 pm

Question about jobs: I'm interested in interning with the DOJ after my 1L year, and I know HLS (another school I"m considering) has its public interest advisers help you craft a good application.

Do you know if YLS has the same?

Also, how approachable are professors? And how do you know which ones are more receptive to working with students?

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Elston Gunn » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:46 am

edamame wrote:Question about jobs: I'm interested in interning with the DOJ after my 1L year, and I know HLS (another school I"m considering) has its public interest advisers help you craft a good application.

Do you know if YLS has the same?


I don't have experience with specifically the public interest CDO people, but I'm skeptical of their value at pretty much any school. What you're talking about sounds like a fancy way of saying they help you with your applications, and any decent CDO will do that for you if you ask. Tons of 1Ls (possibly the majority) work at DOJ or USAOs, though, so it's eminently doable. If you really want a specific section, the thing to do is find a connection at the office (even just that they went to Yale) and ask him/her to talk for 20 minutes about what they do. Then forward your resume to them as well as recruiting. Most 1Ls look pretty much the same, so that's the way you can make sure you get picked up (this is how I got my DOJ job without even an interview). Remember, these are unpaid jobs, so most of them don't really care who they hire. Just knowing who you are makes a big difference.

Also, how approachable are professors? And how do you know which ones are more receptive to working with students?

Very approachable, generally. Most gives lots and lots of their time to students.
Same way you know most things, by asking 2 and 3Ls. That said, this is another area they're trying to equalize things, and there's now, for instance, a spreadsheet where people write about their experiences writing papers with various professors.

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catwoman
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby catwoman » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:53 am

Everything in here is accurate, with one small correction:

There is an active YLS veterans' group, and there is also a school-wide one that does quite a bit these days. And the financial aid office is very, very supportive of veterans. The amount you will get here if you give Jill Stone a call is likely comparable to what you will get elsewhere, even if on paper it looks like you don't qualify for extensive financial aid. Plus, there are several professors who are very interested in getting to know veterans.

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:15 pm

tirakon wrote:
oso84 wrote: I'd say the biggest downside to the peer group is just the number of people who keep their lives in DC/NYC/Boston. There's a lot of weekend commuting, so sometimes it feels like New Haven's emptied out on the weekends. But there are enough people who are around on the weekends where the social scene doesn't suck. Anyway, the people are great, and I assume this translates into a good alumni network as well (though I haven't really had to tap it yet and so I don't really know).


Can you elaborate more on life in New Haven? What do people do for fun? My main concern about Yale at this point is that I absolutely love living in NYC, and I'm afraid that I will seriously miss having access to all the amazing museums, theaters, and restaurants.

Also, how common is it for people to travel to NYC on weekends?


I think the main complaints about New Haven are it's small size, which brings with it a lack of variety of stuff to do, and fear of crime. I've found the crime concern to be largely overblown and avoidable. East Rock, which is where you live if you want to be in a house, is pretty safe. Downtown is busy enough where there are generally people on the streets at night, which cuts down on crimes of opportunity. I think the keys to New Haven, in terms of safety, as the same as anywhere else—if you're walking from point A to point B at night and it's a 30 minute walk, don't do it alone or take the shuttle. It's that type of diligence you have to practice here, not war-zone diligence, which is the town's rep.

The other concern—small size—is really the focus of your question. Look, New Haven is not New York and it never will be. Nightlife, at least for me, has tended to center around restaurants and bars. There are a fair number of house parties, that seems to be the thing for a bunch of people. There's a small amount of clubbing, though New Haven clubs are just kinda sad. There's a fair amount of informal but semi-organized sports going on, mostly football, basketball, softball, and soccer. There's the Yale Rep, which has like six or eightish shows a year and there are four or five concert series with two to three shows a year each. A few Yale museums that are worth their salt. So in terms of stuff to do, look, it isn't NYC or Boston or DC or anything like that, but it's not a complete desert.

All of that is walkable. I think what's harder is living here without a car and dealing with errands. There aren't conveniently located grocery stores, there is no hardware store, and there's no Target for as far as the eye can see. That's tough for the carless, though not really a concern for folks with vehicles.

As for NYC, that varies a lot. It's really pretty low hassle to get there, which is good. I've gone in a very few times total for reasons other than getting to an airport. That's the very low end. There are people who go every weekend, usually because the sig other lives there. How often people go to NYC is probably roughly proportional to how much of their life is based there pre-law school. Prior to law school, I had never been to NYC other than to visit once. Others with friends, SOs, family, etc. in NYC go quite a lot. In the end, I think it's just a personal choice, where you try to balancing being a part of the YLS community which is obviously centered here and being in NYC. Virtually everyone strikes the balance well, in NYC a few weekend a month or semester or whatever their case is and still hanging out with classmates the rest of the time.




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