Yale rising 2L taking questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:25 am

Because it's a slow day at work. Also happy to answer questions for any incoming 1L's about life at YLS, or anything about the application process. Fire away!

User avatar
westjr
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:19 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby westjr » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:17 am

People suggest that you need incredible softs to get in (for example: http://www.today.com/id/26661590/ns/tod ... fEyn6PD-Uk), but how many people are just regular, smart, interesting people who haven't done anything ridiculously extraordinary?

Also, thanks for doing this!

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 10:27 am

Sure, there are definitely people here with incredible softs but I would say that most people here pretty normal and smart without something totally crazy. Most people, just from my personal, anecdotal experience, were conventional superstars in college (GPA/LSAT of course, but also student orgs and the like) and have one or two things to distinguish themselves. I think my perspective may be a little biased, however, since it seems kind of ordinary at YLS to hear about how so-and-so was a Rhodes scholar, or a Marine, or a Teach for America alum, or an opera singer, or was president of EVERYTHING in college.

tl;dr: lots of impressive people at Yale, but many people are just conventionally excellent without a crazy background

User avatar
westjr
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:19 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby westjr » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:09 am

initialvacation wrote:Sure, there are definitely people here with incredible softs but I would say that most people here pretty normal and smart without something totally crazy. Most people, just from my personal, anecdotal experience, were conventional superstars in college (GPA/LSAT of course, but also student orgs and the like) and have one or two things to distinguish themselves. I think my perspective may be a little biased, however, since it seems kind of ordinary at YLS to hear about how so-and-so was a Rhodes scholar, or a Marine, or a Teach for America alum, or an opera singer, or was president of EVERYTHING in college.

tl;dr: lots of impressive people at Yale, but many people are just conventionally excellent without a crazy background


Great to know! Thanks for the answer.

Can we get a little information about you? What are you looking to do, how do you think YLS will help you to do that, anything you wish you'd known before you matriculated?

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:26 am

I am interested in appellate litigation and hopefully clerking on a federal CoA or (pipe dream) Supreme Court. I feel YLS is definitely the place to be if you want to pursue the clerkship/academia route (not sure about academia personally). I'm going to be in the Supreme Court clinic next year, which actually represents clients in front of the Supreme Court; the clinic just unfortunately lost the Baby Girl case this term. Hopefully doing that will give me a good sense of what appellate litigation is like and can help me gauge my continuing interest. Our Fall Interview Program (FIP) is coming up in August, and I will probably bid for NYC/DC firms that have an appellate practice. I don't want to limit myself too much so early though, and part of why I want to go to a big firm next summer is to experience a lot of different practice areas.

YLS is bizarrely high and low stress about FIP, as it is about so many other things. On the one hand, no one is stressed about getting a job, and it's kind of assumed that everyone will end up in biglaw unless they choose otherwise. On the other hand, the personalities here are the greatest concentration of neurotic/high-stress people I've ever been around so EVERYTHING is a crisis that needs to be managed. Even the relatively normal people can get caught up in that kind of atmosphere, so it's a little strange.

I wish I had known just a couple general "law school info"-type things before I started. Aka what is moot court/law review/mock trial? What is the difference between transactional and litigation practice? What does being a research assistant for a professor means? What is the timeline for the 1L/2L job search? Where should I live in law school? What is "black letter" vs other courses? Which courses are important for which career trajectories? Most of these answers are not Yale-specific so I won't bore you with my own personal experience unless you want to know about something specific, or if you're interested haha.

User avatar
westjr
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:19 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby westjr » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:35 am

Did you know that was your interest before you attended? Or has a certain class, professor, or something else led you to want to pursue that. I suppose some of my questions are pretty "general law school stuff," because obviously YLS is the place to be if you want to do pretty much anything.

Regarding specific YLS questions, how interesting are your classes compared to, say, undergrad? I find that, in undergrad at least, an awesome class requires some mix of great professor/great topic/great students. Does the caliber of student and professor lead to some of the most interesting discussions you've had, from an academic perspective?

tl;dr, is YLS intellectually stimulating, despite it officially being a "professional school"?

tirakon
Posts: 81
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 8:16 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby tirakon » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:43 am

I'm a Rising 1L. Thanks for taking questions

Can you talk about the application process for the Supreme Court Clinic? I'd love to get in for my 2L year, but I don't have any sense of how in-demand and competitive it would be.

In general, is it difficult to get into courses with popular professors? Can anybody get into, for example, "Reading the Constitution" with Akhil Amar? Do you have any advice for getting into desirable classes?

(Also, can I PM you with some questions?)

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 11:51 am

I had an interest in constitutional law and the Supreme Court before law school, but my con law class first semester definitely sparked my interest even more. I kind of lucked out in having con law as my small group class (at YLS, one of your four first-semester classes is a "small group" of 16; you have all your classes in common with those 16 people, but your other three classes are around 80 people - multiple small groups combined). I really enjoyed that experience and I also took Institutional Supreme Court with Linda Greenhouse this past semester, which was a great experience as well.

The classes are interesting based almost entirely on the professor. Any subject of law, for me at least, can be as interesting or as boring as the professor who presents it. I feel law school class experiences are much more dependent on the quality of professor than undergrad classes. This is largely because almost no one knows anything about bankruptcy or antitrust or lots of other subjects going in, so everyone is in some ways a "blank slate" in any given field of law, at least at the introductory black letter level. The class discussion at YLS is kind of overrated. I feel that most of what you'll learn in a class is from the professor lecturing. The exceptions are small seminar classes like small group or clinics, in which you'll get a lot out of your fellow students; even this, however, requires a professor who will keep a discussion moving and focused. Just because people have crazy backgrounds doesn't necessarily mean they have anything to contribute about, say, federal income tax. People's experiences come out best and most usefully in seminar discussions, where they are definitely interesting. Teaching quality at YLS is kind of uneven - especially some of the older professors and "big names" are not very good classroom teachers. It helps to ask around before you pick classes. That said, I've had some very good professors too. Just keep in mind amazing scholarship doesn't necessarily translate into amazing pedagogy.

YLS is as intellectually stimulating as you want. There is no ceiling. It's one of the greatest collections of legal minds in the world and you can explore whatever you want to the greatest degree possible. On the other hand, you could also do very little, cruise through, enjoy life, and have a biglaw job waiting for you at the end; honestly, that's probably not a bad option either (but harder to do because of the type of person that tends to be here).

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:00 pm

tirakon wrote:I'm a Rising 1L. Thanks for taking questions

Can you talk about the application process for the Supreme Court Clinic? I'd love to get in for my 2L year, but I don't have any sense of how in-demand and competitive it would be.

In general, is it difficult to get into courses with popular professors? Can anybody get into, for example, "Reading the Constitution" with Akhil Amar? Do you have any advice for getting into desirable classes?

(Also, can I PM you with some questions?)


The application process to the Supreme Court Clinic is probably the most involved of the clinics at YLS. It requires a statement of interest (typical), a writing sample (less typical), and your grades (pretty much unheard of at YLS). It is generally considered the most competitive clinic; I have heard from other students that around 80 people apply for 12 spots each year. For myself, I think it helped that I took Institutional Supreme Court and participated in Pre-Part (sort of a 1L pre-moot court thing), which demonstrated my interest in the Court itself and my interest in legal writing and appellate advocacy. That said, it is probably also important to have high grades though I can't say for sure.

Many courses are difficult to get into for various reasons, but most are rather easy simply because of the small size of the school. International Business Transactions with Prof. Chua, for instance, is notoriously difficult to get into; she has both a reputation for being an engaging professor who really cares about her students AND for giving out a relatively high proportion of H's. Small seminars with "big name" professors are also hard to get into sometimes. I don't know about Amar's class, it would depend on whether it's a seminar or a largish lecture and what his class size cap is. The easiest way to learn about the process is probably to identify classes that you're interested in, and ask upperclassmen about the class specifically and how difficult or easy it is to get in. That said, lots of things at YLS are (sometimes aggravatingly) informal. It usually can't hurt to approach the professor (like, non-creepily) or email and express interest either.

Feel free to PM me with any other questions!

User avatar
jrsbaseball5
Posts: 290
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:10 pm

Thanks for doing this! Just a couple quick questions for you:

1) How helpful did you find professors outside of the classroom? Have you found that you are able to develop a relationship with them, which will help you during the clerkship search?

2) You may not be able to answer this, but regarding admissions have you noticed any commonalities amongst URM student's? For example, did they highlight their background in the application, have they participated extensively in clubs or organizations geared towards their particular race, etc.?

I realize that #2 is probably outside of your realm of knowledge, but any insight into the black box of Yale law admissions, particularly with regards to URM students would be appreciated :D

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:39 pm

1. It depends almost entirely on the professor. Professors at YLS have varying reputations for how helpful they are in the clerkship search. A few of the younger professors in particular are known for really going to bat for their students and helping with the clerkship process. I haven't started the process myself, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I've developed a few strong relationships with professors, though I regret not going to office hours more than I did. I would strongly encourage you to go to office hours just to get to know professors and not necessarily in an instrumental way. Many professors are very open to interacting with students outside of class; the problem at YLS is often that TOO MANY students show up for office hours and that can be awkward for everyone.

2. I do not know in particular about URM admissions mostly because I am not URM. From the URM's I know, I do not THINK (almost total speculation on my part) that they have atypically racial background-focused backgrounds in college; many of them certainly had leadership roles in such organizations, but that's normalish at Yale. I have no knowledge of what they highlighted in their applications. I'm sorry I really can't speak to URM admissions at Yale beyond the very limited data you might find on Law School Numbers or something like that.

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:58 pm

Still here TLS - help me make it through the work day (5pmish EST)! Ask away!!

User avatar
westjr
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:19 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby westjr » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:49 pm

What do you think made your app successful at YLS?

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:56 pm

Honestly, I think it was just LSAT/GPA (178/3.9) with a small plus for interesting undergrad major (astrophysics/poli sci)

User avatar
jrsbaseball5
Posts: 290
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:43 pm

I appreciate you answering my previous question and sorry for the URM question. I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask.

If your still here, how much work do you think that most student's put in during a day/week?

Also, are there students with families and if so how do they fit in to the school community?

Thanks again!

hlsperson1111
Posts: 239
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:10 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby hlsperson1111 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:59 pm

What's Amar's reputation like at YLS? I ask b/c he taught Criminal Procedure as a visiting prof at HLS a couple years ago and was pretty brutally panned, but I've heard that he's popular at YLS and that students like him there.

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:09 pm

To answer your second question first, there are a few students with families here, including those will small children. I'm seriously impressed by them because I don't think I could raise a family while keeping up in law school at the same time. On the other hand, they are probably on average less integrated into the social life of the law school overall, just because they have a lot of responsibilities that unmarried twenty-somethings don't.

As for the workload, I would say that it is surprisingly high, but largely self-imposed. What I mean is that in theory you could do YLS on cruise control and not put that much effort into your classes, while still probably getting a few H's here and there. Your job prospects would not be meaningfully impacted except at the top biglaw firms or for clerkships. In practice, virtually everybody I know works extremely hard and most people have excellent time management skills. Partly this is because of the type of student who typically is admitted in the first place. For many YLS students, their study habits are borne more from personality than circumstance, grades or no grades. It also depends on your class schedule and whether you are taking a lot of black letters (can be more time- and work-intensive during the semester) or clinics (varies, but some clinics can be incredibly time-consuming) or being a research assistant for a professors (varies but can be very time-consuming as well). Overall for other people, I can't say for sure about hours spent studying, but people take their work very seriously. Personally, I probably spent on average several hours every day outside of class outlining, writing papers, reading, etc. I probably also spent a significant portion of every weekend doing the reading for the upcoming week.

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Thu Jul 25, 2013 6:14 pm

hlsperson1111 wrote:What's Amar's reputation like at YLS? I ask b/c he taught Criminal Procedure as a visiting prof at HLS a couple years ago and was pretty brutally panned, but I've heard that he's popular at YLS and that students like him there.


Amar is known as having a strong personality that is endearing to some and abrasive to others. I have not had him in class yet, so I can't speak from personal experience. I've heard that his classes can be intense, especially Fed Courts. His reputation seems to be that he really knows his stuff and he's very, very smart - but he definitely knows it as well and thinks highly of himself. I've also heard that his sometimes intense style with the Socratic method is really his way of expressing respect and care for his students. People have had good and bad experiences, and I would say that opinions on his personality/style run the gamut. But no one doubts his intellect and mastery over the subject of Con Law.

User avatar
domino
Posts: 323
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:51 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby domino » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:34 pm

What course selection advising is available? I'm starting from near-total noobhood here, so I assume that I would benefit strongly from guidance.

User avatar
domino
Posts: 323
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:51 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby domino » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:35 pm

Also, I would love to do work abroad during the summer (or on another break). Have you seen a lot of people doing this? Any opportunities that jump out to you as being worth highlighting?

Not sure you're still answering questions, but thanks very much in advance if you have time to take a crack at these!

User avatar
Cicero76
Posts: 1276
Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:41 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby Cicero76 » Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:08 pm

Can you think of one mistake you made in 1L at YLS that incoming 1Ls could avoid?

User avatar
thewaves
Posts: 384
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 7:26 pm

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby thewaves » Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:26 pm

This may be an odd question to try to answer, but how do humanities students enter into the "academic conversation" at YLS? I know Yale has a law and humanities journal, but it seems of more a side interest or focus (even an editor of the journal told me the field of law and literature is dead and kind of a joke). Just from your personal/anecdotal experience, how have your humanities friends developed interests beyond what they previously knew before entering YLS? I know no one has black and white academic/professional interests, but I have heard most people come to YLS with a certain expertise in a subject, some in more relevant legal areas (like Economics or Government).

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:15 am

domino wrote:What course selection advising is available? I'm starting from near-total noobhood here, so I assume that I would benefit strongly from guidance.


To be honest, I have not taken advantage of any of Yale's career or course advising services. I get the emails but I haven't even met my Career Development Office (CDO) adviser. I've relied mostly on word-of-mouth and tried to select good professors and courses I know I want to take early on. I probably should have taken advantage more of YLS's resources, as I regret not taking admin law earlier. Sorry I can't speak to the CDO experience. Anecdotally, I'd say quite a few people take my approach - maddeningly informal word-of-mouth to select courses.

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:21 am

domino wrote:Also, I would love to do work abroad during the summer (or on another break). Have you seen a lot of people doing this? Any opportunities that jump out to you as being worth highlighting?

Not sure you're still answering questions, but thanks very much in advance if you have time to take a crack at these!


Especially 1L summer, many people go abroad to do a variety of things. I have friends who are working on writing a new constitution for Burma, clerking at the Israel Supreme Court, at the South Africa Supreme Court, working at a firm in Korea, working with a nonprofit in Cambodia, etc., etc. Typically, lots of organizations abroad love to have a YLS student as long you email them. Because we're guaranteed around $5000 in Summer Public Interest Fund (SPIF) funding, you can kind of go (most) anywhere you want and live reasonably well. YLS also has a program called "Linkages" where you spend a few weeks at the very beginning of summer in South America, in various countries; this is independent of other summer employment. I know very little about this program but several of my friends did it this summer. 2L summer most people are at firms, but some people who are public interest minded still go abroad to work at different organizations.

initialvacation
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:53 am

Re: Yale rising 2L taking questions

Postby initialvacation » Mon Jul 29, 2013 3:29 am

Cicero76 wrote:Can you think of one mistake you made in 1L at YLS that incoming 1Ls could avoid?


Hmm probably two:

1. Do not live in a Pike International building. They are horrible landlords.

2. Get to know your professors early. I wish I had done a better job of going to office hours earlier in the year. Don't be anxious or anything, the worst thing that could happen is that you have an awkward conversation with a professor. This is before you realize that EVERY conversation with most professors at YLS is awkward. Most of them are just some awkward, awkward people unless you get them talking about their field of law.

3. Pick your spring semester classes strategically. Not my regret personally, but I know many friends who wish they had picked classes considered "easier" from a grading perspective. 1L spring semester is really the only term where grades matter, since they're the only set of grades firms will see at FIP and they impact clerkship applications also. Don't let anyone tell you grades "don't matter" at YLS. They definitely matter, it's just that the bottom of YLS will still get biglaw, generally speaking.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: EzraFitz, Hikikomorist and 4 guests