Yale 3L taking questions

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:21 pm

Elston Gunn wrote:
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.


I agree entirely with this answer. Your chances of getting a 1L job at DOJ at Harvard and Yale are equal. We have a dedicated CDO person who does public interest and she looks over resumes just the same as the Harvard people do. (And in reality, you're going to rely on your peers a lot more for that kind of thing anyway, at least here where the culture isn't really competitive). For 1L and 2L jobs, CDO might play some role, but in reality CDO is a really, really small (probably bordering on trivial) part of the law school experience. I wouldn't let the comparative structures of the schools' CDOs drive the law school decision.

As for professors, there are a few crotchety profs who don't want anything to do with people, but this is a tiny minority. (And that's going to be true everywhere). By and large, you can just walk into someone's office here and start talking. Doesn't matter if you're in their class or not. The other thing I've notice over the three years is that faculty defers to students as to the scope/intensity of the student-faculty relationship. We have to write two papers while we're here. I was really into one of my papers, and the prof was great, put me through several drafts, helped me get it published, it was a good experience. I really wasn't into the other paper, and the supervising prof was fine with that, let me turn in one draft, told me what parts she liked and didn't, and that was the end of it. So that's been really nice, too.

elorica8
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby elorica8 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:28 am

Thanks for taking time to answer questions!

I'm interested in what the path into legal academia looks like from Yale. I know that it places a disproportionately high number of people into law faculties around the country, but I know COAP doesn't cover a PhD, while Harvard's LIPP does. I guess my question is, for people that are interested in academia, how high is the pressure to do a PhD these days (seems like it's becoming increasingly necessary)? Are you still seeing lots of people get jobs without it?

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 8:19 pm

elorica8 wrote:Thanks for taking time to answer questions!

I'm interested in what the path into legal academia looks like from Yale. I know that it places a disproportionately high number of people into law faculties around the country, but I know COAP doesn't cover a PhD, while Harvard's LIPP does. I guess my question is, for people that are interested in academia, how high is the pressure to do a PhD these days (seems like it's becoming increasingly necessary)? Are you still seeing lots of people get jobs without it?


My understanding of the academic teaching market is that it has changed pretty dramatically over the last 10-15 years. More and more the PhD is an entry requirement. By no means is it necessary to have a PhD—people still get hired without it—but it's increasingly becoming the norm. My guess is that you should spend some time looking at people's educational credentials at the time they're hired for their first job. That means new faculty elsewhere, not here and Harvard. What degrees do those people have? If they all have PhDs, that's probably a good indication that the market has evolved such that having a PhD is necessary. Don't look at the hires here; Y and H really only hire laterally, and so the educational credentials of new hires here reflect the market of yesteryear.

That said, there are plenty of people in my class who want to teach and lack a PhD. Totally impossible to tell if these people are going to get jobs or not—no one's gone on the market yet. Some of them plan to go on and get PhDs, others not. Just too early to say how they'll fare.

One other thing to consider is your field of interest. If you're going into something econ-y, say torts or much anything securities based, an Econ PhD may well already be necessary. If you're into something more con law-y, maybe it's in poli sci or history. Crim, criminology. So the field of the PhD is relevant. And there are some fields where the PhD might not be helpful at all, for example, in clinical teaching or maybe some academic areas of law that don't map onto a core discipline. (Though none come to mind).

The COAP/LIPP thing is a separate issue, and an interesting one I didn't know about. True, COAP does not cover going to get a PhD. If you're sure you're going to get a PhD, in my mind, that's a tremendous "pro" in the Harvard column, so long as LIPP does make the payments. (And that sounds almost too good to be true, but, hey, great for HLS alums). A PhD in history or sociology will take 5-7 years; econ something probably like 4-6. If LIPP is paying your debt during that time and doing so on a 10 year repayment plan, you're halfway to repayment when you go onto the market. If you're on COAP, not only have you made no progress with your loans, the interest has compounded (and boy, does it compound rapidly). So this is potentially huge, maybe as much as $200k huge. (Obviously, this may or may not come into play based on personal financial situations). You'd have to discount the LIPP/COAP differential by the value of the YLS degree. I do suspect it's somewhat easier to get a teaching job with a YLS degree and that YLS alums might be promoted more quickly, but (a) that's speculative, (b) I suspect the advantage is marginal at best and (c) and this is almost impossible to weigh against the value of the LIPP payments.

Look, I think in general YLS is a great place to launch a teaching career. I suspect there's some marginal advantage to doing it here than at HLS solely based on size alone (more opportunities to publish here, for example). But, if it were me, looking at my loan situation, and I was SURE I wanted to go onto the teaching market, I would be thrilled to have HLS service half my loan while I was in grad school.

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Yardbird
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Yardbird » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:37 pm

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Link to Form (LinkRemoved)

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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby qwertyboard » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:32 pm

What do you think is the difference between YLS graduates and other top law school graduates that justifies your great employment opportunities (even for the lower half of the class)? Is it something more than greater prestige? I'm sincerely interested in reading your opinion.

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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby wisdom » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:08 pm

qwertyboard wrote:What do you think is the difference between YLS graduates and other top law school graduates that justifies your great employment opportunities (even for the lower half of the class)? Is it something more than greater prestige? I'm sincerely interested in reading your opinion.


I'll take a crack at this. Right off the bat I'll say that, in reality, there probably is not really any difference in intelligence (broadly conceived) or legal ability between Yale students and those at peer institutions. My impression, then, is that it is largely a function of prestige. I also think the school has made conscious, strategic decisions which facilitate the ability of the "lower half" of the class to get jobs. To wit, the weird grading system, the lack of curving (so almost everyone has some mix of Hs and Ps on their transcript), the small class size (gives you more chance to forge relationships with professors or alums to get a job).

Are there good reasons for it? I think people who come out of Yale and really want to be lawyers -- not everyone, by any means -- are very, very good. And those are not necessarily the people who gunned for H's while at the school. I also think that there is a high chance of anyone in the class getting a clerkship regardless of grades, so if a firm wants to bring in people who have clerked, there is no better gamble then hiring a bunch of Yalies.

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Elston Gunn
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby Elston Gunn » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:31 pm

wisdom wrote:
qwertyboard wrote:What do you think is the difference between YLS graduates and other top law school graduates that justifies your great employment opportunities (even for the lower half of the class)? Is it something more than greater prestige? I'm sincerely interested in reading your opinion.


I'll take a crack at this. Right off the bat I'll say that, in reality, there probably is not really any difference in intelligence (broadly conceived) or legal ability between Yale students and those at peer institutions. My impression, then, is that it is largely a function of prestige. I also think the school has made conscious, strategic decisions which facilitate the ability of the "lower half" of the class to get jobs. To wit, the weird grading system, the lack of curving (so almost everyone has some mix of Hs and Ps on their transcript), the small class size (gives you more chance to forge relationships with professors or alums to get a job).

Are there good reasons for it? I think people who come out of Yale and really want to be lawyers -- not everyone, by any means -- are very, very good. And those are not necessarily the people who gunned for H's while at the school. I also think that there is a high chance of anyone in the class getting a clerkship regardless of grades, so if a firm wants to bring in people who have clerked, there is no better gamble then hiring a bunch of Yalies.

I agree with most of this, but I'll add that the average Yalie (not me) has accomplished more and has a more interesting background that the average person at probably any other school. So to the extent employers value that--and they do--it makes some sense.

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:42 pm

qwertyboard wrote:What do you think is the difference between YLS graduates and other top law school graduates that justifies your great employment opportunities (even for the lower half of the class)? Is it something more than greater prestige? I'm sincerely interested in reading your opinion.


I generally agree with Elston, but I'll add a little more context. You can't tell who constitutes "the lower half" of our class. Because there isn't a ranking or a GPA, no one really knows how they stack up in an objective sense. On the whole, I think this is positive, due in large part to our small size (more below). Employers would really struggle to identify who the strongest performers in a given class are. You can tell at the margins (e.g. the editor-in-chief of YLJ is probably pretty smart, and there are a few people who are openly checked out from the moment they get here), but most everyone is in a very large middle. And since the presumption is that anyone who got in here is pretty smart to begin with (which is almost always true), I think employers just assume "they went to Yale, they'll be fine."

Specifics: For firms, the grades are totally irrelevant to the first job (and irrelevant to everyone who is moving laterally, from what I gather). For clerkships and fellowships (fellowships broadly to include Skadden, DOJ honors, any entry level competition), it becomes all about recommenders which moves the pressure away from grades and onto the game of forming faculty relationships. (Grades, of course, are still important for the clerkship process, especially for feeders, but less important than it would be for a candidate who is ranked in their class). I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, because recommendations are a lot less objective than grades, but it's the way it works here.

On a slightly happier note, there are a lot of ways to distinguish yourself here aside from grades. Because grades are relatively less important here than at other schools, students are freed up to focus on other things. You can distinguish yourself as a writer quickly. There are several people in my class who have knocked out more than one publication already. Though this is utterly unimportant to the actual work of being a lawyer, it signals to employers that the student is pretty smart and thus employable. You can distinguish yourself in clinic, or by doing moot court or mock trial (these last two probably less important than publications or, within their niche, clinics), or maybe journal service (though this means a lot to some employers and nothing to others, so kinda hit or miss). So, because we're less focused on grades, our resumes I think tend to be more rounded out in a way that makes it easy to interview and like us (e.g., so tell me about your Note; you did what in clinic?; what's it like running YLJ).

Finally, size is really important. [Insert joke here]. YLS is really small, approximately a third the size of HLS. To the extent an employer wants to balance its incoming class between the elite schools, it'll take "x" Yalies and "x' HLSers. But "x" represents a much large proportion of the YLS class than the Harvard or Columbia or NYU class. (True, Stanford and Chicago are similarly small, but my sense is people there aren't exactly hurting for jobs, either). So when you aggregate together all the employers hiring entry level people in a given year, we're taken care of (as a class) pretty quickly, even in a down year, solely on account of our size. Put another way, if Yalies and Harvard grads are hired at a 1:1 ratio, when we're all employed, there are still 400 H grads waiting to get jobs. The world doesn't actually work that way, but it illustrates my point. And this logic isn't just true for Biglaw; it's also true for clerking, DOJ honors, public interest fellowships like the Skadden, etc. This is a tremendous advantage for Yalies as a group.
Last edited by oso84 on Sat May 04, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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oso84
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Re: Yale 3L taking questions

Postby oso84 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:37 pm

Hokay, end of April, decisions are for the most part made. I'm going to stop monitoring this thread, and I doubt I'll do one of these again since I'm graduating. Good luck to everyone!




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