Yale 1L Tells All

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
LochnerMonster
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Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:57 pm

Need a break from my brief. I'm happy to take questions, but I won't out myself.

Just to get it out of the way: LSAT was above median, GPA was at median, went to a top undergrad. Not URM. Accepted at HYS, and visited all three for admit weekends.

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banjo
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby banjo » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:58 pm

Do YLS students do the readings for class? Are you going to make any outlines for your first-semester finals? What's it like having a totally P/F start to law school?

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Cicero76
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Cicero76 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:39 am

banjo wrote:Do YLS students do the readings for class? Are you going to make any outlines for your first-semester finals? What's it like having a totally P/F start to law school?


Mostly, no, and awesome. Plenty of my classmates do far more work than I do, however, and OP can tell his side.

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scifiguy
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby scifiguy » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:25 am

i.) Are there opportunities to do research with professors there that could lead to professional (not school-run) journal publications?

ii.) What is the culture like there? Are there pretty much zero fears about post-graduate employment?

iii.) Did you ever consider HLS or SLS seriously enough that you could have gone multiple ways?

iv.) What did you attribute your undergraduate success to?

v.) What lessons did your learn or tips can you offer for law school success during 1L year (or beyond)?

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jbagelboy
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby jbagelboy » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:04 pm

Cicero76 wrote:
banjo wrote:Do YLS students do the readings for class? Are you going to make any outlines for your first-semester finals? What's it like having a totally P/F start to law school?


Mostly, no, and awesome. Plenty of my classmates do far more work than I do, however, and OP can tell his side.


Lol dude people read for class

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thewaves
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby thewaves » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:11 pm

When does it make sense IYO to choose HS over Y or a scholarship like IILJ?

LochnerMonster
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:08 pm

Cicero76 wrote:
banjo wrote:Do YLS students do the readings for class? Are you going to make any outlines for your first-semester finals? What's it like having a totally P/F start to law school?


Mostly, no, and awesome. Plenty of my classmates do far more work than I do, however, and OP can tell his side.


YLS students definitely do the readings... Although there are obviously people who here and there miss readings. As someone who shares a friend group with Cicero, I'm surprised that he would say that.

I'm not going to make any outlines, but that's mostly because I'm just going to use old outlines that are posted in the school-wide outline bank.

Having a totally P/F start to law school is awesome. People still work very hard here, but they aren't stressed. That makes a huge difference. People also feel liberated to pursue all kinds of cool extra-curricular interests (go to tons of lectures, reading groups, journals, clubs) because they don't have to worry about grades. I also think there is a particularly collaborative environment here. For my memo, a friend and I were arguing opposite sides on a case. We met together and critiqued each other's arguments, and gave each other pointers. I'm not sure this would happen if there were grades.

LochnerMonster
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:36 pm

thewaves wrote:When does it make sense IYO to choose HS over Y or a scholarship like IILJ?


HS: If you're interested in a JD/MBA (although there are people who do HS MBA with a Y JD). Also, if you don't care about clerkships and academia, Y loses some of its edge. If you went to Yale for undergrad, and you absolutely can't imagine spending another three years in New Haven.

S only: If you're interested in IP, Silicon Valley, or start-ups. If you have strong family and/or significant other ties to the bay area or the West Coast.

H only: If you're a minority, and you'd like to have a significant critical mass of people in your minority group. If you're an aspiring politician and want to be able to draw on the larger alumni base. If you have a really specific niche interest, and know that H can give you much more support because it has professors/classes in everything.

Full scholarship: I'm reluctant to make blanket statements about money, because everyone's financial situation is different. In general, I think that YLS is worth full tuition. Either you'll go into big law, and that extra cash won't matter. Or you go into public interest, and COAP's got you covered. I suppose if you're 100% sure that you're only interested in big law, then it makes sense to take the money. But even then, I think that the additional job security, improved big law placement, and the generally awesome vibe/opportunities here still makes it worth it.

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Cicero76
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Cicero76 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:29 pm

LochnerMonster wrote:
Cicero76 wrote:
banjo wrote:Do YLS students do the readings for class? Are you going to make any outlines for your first-semester finals? What's it like having a totally P/F start to law school?


Mostly, no, and awesome. Plenty of my classmates do far more work than I do, however, and OP can tell his side.


YLS students definitely do the readings... Although there are obviously people who here and there miss readings. As someone who shares a friend group with Cicero, I'm surprised that he would say that.

I'm not going to make any outlines, but that's mostly because I'm just going to use old outlines that are posted in the school-wide outline bank.


I meant mostly as in mostly people do do the readings, and no as in no I don't plan on making outlines. Epic grammar fail by me

Kinda want to know who you are if we share friends

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby ZVBXRPL » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:40 am

Popcorn.

LochnerMonster
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:10 pm

scifiguy wrote:i.) Are there opportunities to do research with professors there that could lead to professional (not school-run) journal publications?

ii.) What is the culture like there? Are there pretty much zero fears about post-graduate employment?

iii.) Did you ever consider HLS or SLS seriously enough that you could have gone multiple ways?

iv.) What did you attribute your undergraduate success to?

v.) What lessons did your learn or tips can you offer for law school success during 1L year (or beyond)?


1. Yes, but they aren't out in the open. If you keep an eye out for professors who have published with students in the past, and pitch an idea in office hours that catches one of these professors' attention, then you can make it happen.

2. It's a friendly, casual, humble, and collaborative culture. People love to talk about ideas here, usually in impressively articulate and insightful fashion. Students are laid back in the sense that they aren't stressed about grades or getting jobs, but not in the sense that they sit around basking in the sun. People are driven, and usually got here by being passionate and getting stuff done.

The school is heavily left-leaning politically, among the student body and especially among the faculty. I suspect that most law schools are like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yale is particularly left-wing. There are pretty much no libertarian or conservative members of the faculty, and in some years there have been as little as five new Federalist Society members out of the entering class of 200. The admissions office does seem to be making a concerted effort to admit more conservative and libertarian students, though, and this year there are maybe 15 or 20 in the 1L class. Also, it should be noted that despite its size, the Federalist Society is by far the most active student organization on campus. It hosts about three lunch events per week, brings in tons of speakers, and seems to be generally tight knit and well connected.

3. I toyed with the idea of SLS briefly, but ultimately thought it was a bad fit for personal reasons (geography, family, campus, culture). I seriously considered HLS -- the admitted students weekend was awesome and made me so excited, to the point where I told my family I'd go there even if accepted at YLS. I loved that HLS was so big. It has more classmates, more alumni, more classes, and more clubs than any other comparable law school. I also really wanted to live in an urban environment for law school.

After I was accepted at YLS, though, I started to think more seriously about its advantages over HLS. YLS simply places significantly better into clerkships, academia, and even big law than Harvard and Stanford. The grading system, both first semester and afterwards, seemed much less stressful. I loved the idea of having a seminar my first semester, and having full control over my course selection my second semester (at HLS, you only get one real elective your first year). Because the school is smaller, there's much better access to the most popular classes, professors, and visiting speakers. I also came away from my visit with the admittedly subjective impression that YLS students were on the whole more interesting and impressive than those I met at HLS, and that unlike at Harvard and Stanford people didn't have a chip on their shoulder about being rejected/waitlisted at other schools.

The biggest surprise to me was that New Haven turned out to be decent. It has far more legit restaurants (including three amazing pizza places) than is typical for a city of its size. It actually felt more like a city to me (albeit a small one) than Boston, which is really just a large town. And anyways, HLS's campus is a ten minute walk from the nearest subway station, so it really felt pretty removed from the Boston metropolitan area. I also like that it's very easy, cheap, and relatively quick to get to NYC from New Haven. On top of all that, I'm so busy at the law school that I usually spend my entire day in the building, from 8:30 AM to 10 PM, so I rarely have time to explore the surrounding area. (And I mean that in a positive way.)

Now that I'm actually at YLS, I feel even more confident about my decision. It's possible, I suppose, that Harvard technically has more events and opportunities, but there are so many at Yale that there is absolutely no way to take advantage of them all. It's actually frustrating at times, in the most first-world-problems way possible. I am astonished that so many people trek out to New Haven just to speak with us. In the span of just one month, I got to see (and in some cases meet) a supreme court justice, Hillary Clinton, Ted Olson, and Stephen Colbert. Judge Kozinski and the chief of staff of the White House Economics Council are coming tomorrow, Timothy Geithner is coming two or three days from now. It's just nuts.

4. I picked a major that I both loved and could excel in. I participated in class, and made an effort to reach out to professors who I believed would provide good mentorship for me. I pursued extracurricular activities that excited me, and that I actually wanted to spend time pursuing. Also, I am fortunate to come from a family that values education and always supported and encouraged my academic and extracurricular growth.

5. The lessons I've learned in law school may not apply very broadly. I don't brief cases or outline, I don't strategize on how to take the final exams. I'm sure that most students at other schools spend much more time working on coursework. I choose instead to go to (often multiple) speaker events every day, participate in several reading groups, work for a couple of student journals, and research two different articles I'm working on in my free time (with two professors I don't have classes with and that I've connected with in office hours). I also make plenty of time to get to know and hang out with my classmates. This is the tremendous advantage of Yale's first semester grade system. I choose how I want to spend my time and how I want to be productive. I would encourage other law students here to do the same, although at most other law schools students might need to spend a lot more time on their coursework.
Last edited by LochnerMonster on Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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jbagelboy
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby jbagelboy » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:11 pm

LochnerMonster wrote:
scifiguy wrote:i.) Are there opportunities to do research with professors there that could lead to professional (not school-run) journal publications?

ii.) What is the culture like there? Are there pretty much zero fears about post-graduate employment?

iii.) Did you ever consider HLS or SLS seriously enough that you could have gone multiple ways?

iv.) What did you attribute your undergraduate success to?

v.) What lessons did your learn or tips can you offer for law school success during 1L year (or beyond)?


1. Yes, but they aren't out in the open. If you keep an eye out for professors who have published with students in the past, and pitch an idea in office hours that catches one of these professors' attention, then you can make it happen.

2. It's a friendly, casual, humble, and collaborative culture. People love to talk about ideas here, usually in impressively articulate and insightful fashion. Students are laid back in the sense that they aren't stressed about grades or getting jobs, but not in the sense that they sit around basking in the sun. People are driven, and usually got here by being passionate and getting stuff done.

The school is heavily left-leaning politically, among the student body and especially among the faculty. I suspect that most law schools are like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yale is particularly left-wing. There are pretty much no libertarian or conservative members of the faculty, and in some years there have been as little as five new Federalist Society members out of the entering class of 200. The admissions office does seem to be making a concerted effort to admit more conservative and libertarian students, though, and this year there are maybe 15 or 20 in the 1L class. Also, it should be noted that despite its size, the Federalist Society is by far the most active student organization on campus. It hosts about three lunch events per week, brings in tons of speakers, and seems to be generally tight knit and well connected.

3. I toyed with the idea of SLS briefly, but ultimately thought it was a bad fit for personal reasons (geography, family, campus, culture). I seriously considered HLS -- the admitted students weekend was awesome and made me so excited, to the point where I told my family I'd go there even if accepted at YLS. I loved that HLS was so big. It has more classmates, more alumni, more classes, and more clubs than any other comparable law school. I also really wanted to live in an urban environment for law school.

After I was accepted at YLS, though, I started to think more seriously about its advantages over HLS. YLS simply places significantly better into clerkships, academia, and even big law than Harvard and Stanford. The grading system, both first semester and afterwards, seemed much less stressful. I loved the idea of having a seminar my first semester, and having full control over my course selection my second semester (at HLS, you only get one real elective your first year). Because the school is smaller, there's much better access to the most popular classes, professors, and visiting speakers. I also came away from my visit with the admittedly subjective impression that YLS students were on the whole more interesting and impressive than those I met at HLS, and that unlike at Harvard and Stanford people didn't have a chip on their shoulder about being rejected/waitlisted at other schools.

The biggest surprise to me was that New Haven turned out to be decent. It has far more legit restaurants (including three amazing pizza places) than is typical for a city of its size. It actually felt more like a city to me (albeit a small one) than Boston, which is really just a large town. And anyways, HLS's campus is a ten minute walk from the nearest subway station, so it really felt pretty removed from the Boston metropolitan area. I also like that it's very easy, cheap, and relatively quick to get to NYC from New Haven. I've also found that I'm so busy at the law school that I usually spend my entire day in the building, from 8:30 AM to 10 PM, so I rarely have time to explore the surrounding area. (And I mean that in a positive way.)

Now that I'm actually at YLS, I feel even more confident about my decision. It's possible, I suppose, that Harvard technically has more events and opportunities, but there are so many at Yale that there is absolutely no way to take advantage of them all. It's actually frustrating at times, in the most first-world-problems way possible. I am astonished that so many people trek out to New Haven just to speak with us. In the span of just one month, I got to see (and in some cases meet) a supreme court justice, Hillary Clinton, Ted Olson, and Stephen Colbert. Judge Kozinski and the chief of staff of the White House Economics Council are coming tomorrow, Timothy Geithner is coming two or three days from now. It's just nuts.

4. I picked a major that I both loved and could excel in. I participated in class, and made an effort to reach out to professors who I believed would provide good mentorship for me. I pursued extracurricular activities that excited me, and that I actually wanted to spend time pursuing. Also, I am fortunate to come from a family that values education and always supported and encouraged my academic and extracurricular growth.

5. The lessons I've learned in law school may apply very broadly. I don't brief cases or outline, I don't strategize on how to take the final exams. I'm sure that most students at other schools spend much more time working on coursework. I choose instead to go to (often multiple) speaker events every day, participate in several reading groups, work for a couple of student journals, and research two different articles I'm working on in my free time (with two professors I don't have classes with and that I've connected with in office hours). I also make plenty of time to get to know and hang out with my classmates. This is the tremendous advantage of Yale's first semester grade system. I choose how I want to spend my time and how, I want to be productive. I would encourage other law students here to do the same, although at most other law schools students might need to spend a lot more time on their coursework.


Damn. Yale sounds dope.

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Ahamilton
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Ahamilton » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:11 pm

what is your opinion of Asha?

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thewaves
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby thewaves » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:14 pm

Are there any classmates that make you wonder how they were accepted?

Robert_Bert
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Robert_Bert » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:15 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
LochnerMonster wrote:
scifiguy wrote:i.) Are there opportunities to do research with professors there that could lead to professional (not school-run) journal publications?

ii.) What is the culture like there? Are there pretty much zero fears about post-graduate employment?

iii.) Did you ever consider HLS or SLS seriously enough that you could have gone multiple ways?

iv.) What did you attribute your undergraduate success to?

v.) What lessons did your learn or tips can you offer for law school success during 1L year (or beyond)?


1. Yes, but they aren't out in the open. If you keep an eye out for professors who have published with students in the past, and pitch an idea in office hours that catches one of these professors' attention, then you can make it happen.

2. It's a friendly, casual, humble, and collaborative culture. People love to talk about ideas here, usually in impressively articulate and insightful fashion. Students are laid back in the sense that they aren't stressed about grades or getting jobs, but not in the sense that they sit around basking in the sun. People are driven, and usually got here by being passionate and getting stuff done.

The school is heavily left-leaning politically, among the student body and especially among the faculty. I suspect that most law schools are like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yale is particularly left-wing. There are pretty much no libertarian or conservative members of the faculty, and in some years there have been as little as five new Federalist Society members out of the entering class of 200. The admissions office does seem to be making a concerted effort to admit more conservative and libertarian students, though, and this year there are maybe 15 or 20 in the 1L class. Also, it should be noted that despite its size, the Federalist Society is by far the most active student organization on campus. It hosts about three lunch events per week, brings in tons of speakers, and seems to be generally tight knit and well connected.

3. I toyed with the idea of SLS briefly, but ultimately thought it was a bad fit for personal reasons (geography, family, campus, culture). I seriously considered HLS -- the admitted students weekend was awesome and made me so excited, to the point where I told my family I'd go there even if accepted at YLS. I loved that HLS was so big. It has more classmates, more alumni, more classes, and more clubs than any other comparable law school. I also really wanted to live in an urban environment for law school.

After I was accepted at YLS, though, I started to think more seriously about its advantages over HLS. YLS simply places significantly better into clerkships, academia, and even big law than Harvard and Stanford. The grading system, both first semester and afterwards, seemed much less stressful. I loved the idea of having a seminar my first semester, and having full control over my course selection my second semester (at HLS, you only get one real elective your first year). Because the school is smaller, there's much better access to the most popular classes, professors, and visiting speakers. I also came away from my visit with the admittedly subjective impression that YLS students were on the whole more interesting and impressive than those I met at HLS, and that unlike at Harvard and Stanford people didn't have a chip on their shoulder about being rejected/waitlisted at other schools.

The biggest surprise to me was that New Haven turned out to be decent. It has far more legit restaurants (including three amazing pizza places) than is typical for a city of its size. It actually felt more like a city to me (albeit a small one) than Boston, which is really just a large town. And anyways, HLS's campus is a ten minute walk from the nearest subway station, so it really felt pretty removed from the Boston metropolitan area. I also like that it's very easy, cheap, and relatively quick to get to NYC from New Haven. I've also found that I'm so busy at the law school that I usually spend my entire day in the building, from 8:30 AM to 10 PM, so I rarely have time to explore the surrounding area. (And I mean that in a positive way.)

Now that I'm actually at YLS, I feel even more confident about my decision. It's possible, I suppose, that Harvard technically has more events and opportunities, but there are so many at Yale that there is absolutely no way to take advantage of them all. It's actually frustrating at times, in the most first-world-problems way possible. I am astonished that so many people trek out to New Haven just to speak with us. In the span of just one month, I got to see (and in some cases meet) a supreme court justice, Hillary Clinton, Ted Olson, and Stephen Colbert. Judge Kozinski and the chief of staff of the White House Economics Council are coming tomorrow, Timothy Geithner is coming two or three days from now. It's just nuts.

4. I picked a major that I both loved and could excel in. I participated in class, and made an effort to reach out to professors who I believed would provide good mentorship for me. I pursued extracurricular activities that excited me, and that I actually wanted to spend time pursuing. Also, I am fortunate to come from a family that values education and always supported and encouraged my academic and extracurricular growth.

5. The lessons I've learned in law school may apply very broadly. I don't brief cases or outline, I don't strategize on how to take the final exams. I'm sure that most students at other schools spend much more time working on coursework. I choose instead to go to (often multiple) speaker events every day, participate in several reading groups, work for a couple of student journals, and research two different articles I'm working on in my free time (with two professors I don't have classes with and that I've connected with in office hours). I also make plenty of time to get to know and hang out with my classmates. This is the tremendous advantage of Yale's first semester grade system. I choose how I want to spend my time and how, I want to be productive. I would encourage other law students here to do the same, although at most other law schools students might need to spend a lot more time on their coursework.


Damn. Yale sounds dope.


+1

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Cicero76
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Cicero76 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:30 pm

Ahamilton wrote:what is your opinion of Asha?


You don't interact much with her once admitted students weekend is over. During that process, however, she's wonderfully nice and engaging.

thewaves wrote:Are there any classmates that make you wonder how they were accepted?


No one has ever jumped out at me as "no, you don't belong here." Usually it's the opposite, as in "whoa that's an insane talent no wonder you're here."

LochnerMonster
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:45 pm

Cicero76 wrote:
Ahamilton wrote:what is your opinion of Asha?


You don't interact much with her once admitted students weekend is over. During that process, however, she's wonderfully nice and engaging.

thewaves wrote:Are there any classmates that make you wonder how they were accepted?


No one has ever jumped out at me as "no, you don't belong here." Usually it's the opposite, as in "whoa that's an insane talent no wonder you're here."


1. Cicero is right on. I really respect the effort she puts in to make the admissions process as transparent as possible. Although Asha doesn't interact much with current students (because that's outside her purview), she does welcome their advice on the admissions process and encourages students to volunteer in the office.

Here's a random tidbit I heard from her in conversation: apparently a significant number of the 250's in the TLS thread are fake.

2. No. But I do frequently meet classmates who are so impressive that I wonder why I was admitted.

Post Script: One thing that shocked me when I started meeting classmates was that most people here, even the ridiculously impressive ones, seem to feel they were lucky to be admitted. I remember someone told me during orientation that he/she was, "Ready to get off the treadmill. I know that everyone here is probably a lot smarter than me." When I googled this person later, I found out that they were the valedictorian at an elite undergraduate institution.

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Cicero76
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Cicero76 » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:51 pm

Lol @ fake 250s.

Also, just to address something bakerymonster said about ideological diversity: Yale may lean pretty heavily left, but my small group of 16 students has seven self-described republicans/libertarians/conservatives. That implies to me there are more than 25 in the class. As to faculty, most are obviously liberal, but my contracts professor is a conservative who tried to explain to (incredulous) me the virtues of Citizens United

LochnerMonster
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:56 pm

Cicero76 wrote:Lol @ fake 250s.

Also, just to address something bakerymonster said about ideological diversity: Yale may lean pretty heavily left, but my small group of 16 students has seven self-described republicans/libertarians/conservatives. That implies to me there are more than 25 in the class. As to faculty, most are obviously liberal, but my contracts professor is a conservative who tried to explain to (incredulous) me the virtues of Citizens United


Your small group is generally recognized as an anomaly.

Also, I'd characterize that contracts professors as "old school," rather than conservative. I don't think that he would appreciate being called a conservative. Although it's possible I'm wrong.

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby ZVBXRPL » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:05 pm

To piggyback off of the above comments, my mother spent a couple of days at YLS and was impressed by 1. how good looking and 2. how polite and genuinely intelligent the students are. Thoughts?

LochnerMonster
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:35 pm

ZVBXRPL wrote:To piggyback off of the above comments, my mother spent a couple of days at YLS and was impressed by 1. how good looking and 2. how polite and genuinely intelligent the students are. Thoughts?


Absolutely true. Especially the good looking part. I sometimes lose track of time staring at myself in the mirror.

ZVBXRPL
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby ZVBXRPL » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:40 pm

Set ya up there. Sucka.

KaNa1986
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby KaNa1986 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:08 am

LochnerMonster wrote:
scifiguy wrote:i.) Are there opportunities to do research with professors there that could lead to professional (not school-run) journal publications?

ii.) What is the culture like there? Are there pretty much zero fears about post-graduate employment?

iii.) Did you ever consider HLS or SLS seriously enough that you could have gone multiple ways?

iv.) What did you attribute your undergraduate success to?

v.) What lessons did your learn or tips can you offer for law school success during 1L year (or beyond)?


1. Yes, but they aren't out in the open. If you keep an eye out for professors who have published with students in the past, and pitch an idea in office hours that catches one of these professors' attention, then you can make it happen.

2. It's a friendly, casual, humble, and collaborative culture. People love to talk about ideas here, usually in impressively articulate and insightful fashion. Students are laid back in the sense that they aren't stressed about grades or getting jobs, but not in the sense that they sit around basking in the sun. People are driven, and usually got here by being passionate and getting stuff done.

The school is heavily left-leaning politically, among the student body and especially among the faculty. I suspect that most law schools are like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yale is particularly left-wing. There are pretty much no libertarian or conservative members of the faculty, and in some years there have been as little as five new Federalist Society members out of the entering class of 200. The admissions office does seem to be making a concerted effort to admit more conservative and libertarian students, though, and this year there are maybe 15 or 20 in the 1L class. Also, it should be noted that despite its size, the Federalist Society is by far the most active student organization on campus. It hosts about three lunch events per week, brings in tons of speakers, and seems to be generally tight knit and well connected.

3. I toyed with the idea of SLS briefly, but ultimately thought it was a bad fit for personal reasons (geography, family, campus, culture). I seriously considered HLS -- the admitted students weekend was awesome and made me so excited, to the point where I told my family I'd go there even if accepted at YLS. I loved that HLS was so big. It has more classmates, more alumni, more classes, and more clubs than any other comparable law school. I also really wanted to live in an urban environment for law school.

After I was accepted at YLS, though, I started to think more seriously about its advantages over HLS. YLS simply places significantly better into clerkships, academia, and even big law than Harvard and Stanford. The grading system, both first semester and afterwards, seemed much less stressful. I loved the idea of having a seminar my first semester, and having full control over my course selection my second semester (at HLS, you only get one real elective your first year). Because the school is smaller, there's much better access to the most popular classes, professors, and visiting speakers. I also came away from my visit with the admittedly subjective impression that YLS students were on the whole more interesting and impressive than those I met at HLS, and that unlike at Harvard and Stanford people didn't have a chip on their shoulder about being rejected/waitlisted at other schools.

The biggest surprise to me was that New Haven turned out to be decent. It has far more legit restaurants (including three amazing pizza places) than is typical for a city of its size. It actually felt more like a city to me (albeit a small one) than Boston, which is really just a large town. And anyways, HLS's campus is a ten minute walk from the nearest subway station, so it really felt pretty removed from the Boston metropolitan area. I also like that it's very easy, cheap, and relatively quick to get to NYC from New Haven. On top of all that, I'm so busy at the law school that I usually spend my entire day in the building, from 8:30 AM to 10 PM, so I rarely have time to explore the surrounding area. (And I mean that in a positive way.)

Now that I'm actually at YLS, I feel even more confident about my decision. It's possible, I suppose, that Harvard technically has more events and opportunities, but there are so many at Yale that there is absolutely no way to take advantage of them all. It's actually frustrating at times, in the most first-world-problems way possible. I am astonished that so many people trek out to New Haven just to speak with us. In the span of just one month, I got to see (and in some cases meet) a supreme court justice, Hillary Clinton, Ted Olson, and Stephen Colbert. Judge Kozinski and the chief of staff of the White House Economics Council are coming tomorrow, Timothy Geithner is coming two or three days from now. It's just nuts.

4. I picked a major that I both loved and could excel in. I participated in class, and made an effort to reach out to professors who I believed would provide good mentorship for me. I pursued extracurricular activities that excited me, and that I actually wanted to spend time pursuing. Also, I am fortunate to come from a family that values education and always supported and encouraged my academic and extracurricular growth.

5. The lessons I've learned in law school may apply very broadly. I don't brief cases or outline, I don't strategize on how to take the final exams. I'm sure that most students at other schools spend much more time working on coursework. I choose instead to go to (often multiple) speaker events every day, participate in several reading groups, work for a couple of student journals, and research two different articles I'm working on in my free time (with two professors I don't have classes with and that I've connected with in office hours). I also make plenty of time to get to know and hang out with my classmates. This is the tremendous advantage of Yale's first semester grade system. I choose how I want to spend my time and how I want to be productive. I would encourage other law students here to do the same, although at most other law schools students might need to spend a lot more time on their coursework.


The biggest concern I've heard about HLS is that some students fall through the cracks because the place is so big. I've heard that top students at HLS have the same opportunities available to the top students at YLS (if there are such people at YLS) while having access to unique Harvard opportunities at the same time (e.g. cross-registration at HBS, MIT, FAS, HKS, etc.). If you knew that you would be a top student at HLS (e.g. top 30% with a NYC V3 or W&C/Covington DC SA and research assistant positions with professors), would you still choose to attend YLS?

LochnerMonster
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:51 pm

Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby LochnerMonster » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:52 pm

KaNa1986 wrote:
LochnerMonster wrote:
scifiguy wrote:i.) Are there opportunities to do research with professors there that could lead to professional (not school-run) journal publications?

ii.) What is the culture like there? Are there pretty much zero fears about post-graduate employment?

iii.) Did you ever consider HLS or SLS seriously enough that you could have gone multiple ways?

iv.) What did you attribute your undergraduate success to?

v.) What lessons did your learn or tips can you offer for law school success during 1L year (or beyond)?


1. Yes, but they aren't out in the open. If you keep an eye out for professors who have published with students in the past, and pitch an idea in office hours that catches one of these professors' attention, then you can make it happen.

2. It's a friendly, casual, humble, and collaborative culture. People love to talk about ideas here, usually in impressively articulate and insightful fashion. Students are laid back in the sense that they aren't stressed about grades or getting jobs, but not in the sense that they sit around basking in the sun. People are driven, and usually got here by being passionate and getting stuff done.

The school is heavily left-leaning politically, among the student body and especially among the faculty. I suspect that most law schools are like this, but I wouldn't be surprised if Yale is particularly left-wing. There are pretty much no libertarian or conservative members of the faculty, and in some years there have been as little as five new Federalist Society members out of the entering class of 200. The admissions office does seem to be making a concerted effort to admit more conservative and libertarian students, though, and this year there are maybe 15 or 20 in the 1L class. Also, it should be noted that despite its size, the Federalist Society is by far the most active student organization on campus. It hosts about three lunch events per week, brings in tons of speakers, and seems to be generally tight knit and well connected.

3. I toyed with the idea of SLS briefly, but ultimately thought it was a bad fit for personal reasons (geography, family, campus, culture). I seriously considered HLS -- the admitted students weekend was awesome and made me so excited, to the point where I told my family I'd go there even if accepted at YLS. I loved that HLS was so big. It has more classmates, more alumni, more classes, and more clubs than any other comparable law school. I also really wanted to live in an urban environment for law school.

After I was accepted at YLS, though, I started to think more seriously about its advantages over HLS. YLS simply places significantly better into clerkships, academia, and even big law than Harvard and Stanford. The grading system, both first semester and afterwards, seemed much less stressful. I loved the idea of having a seminar my first semester, and having full control over my course selection my second semester (at HLS, you only get one real elective your first year). Because the school is smaller, there's much better access to the most popular classes, professors, and visiting speakers. I also came away from my visit with the admittedly subjective impression that YLS students were on the whole more interesting and impressive than those I met at HLS, and that unlike at Harvard and Stanford people didn't have a chip on their shoulder about being rejected/waitlisted at other schools.

The biggest surprise to me was that New Haven turned out to be decent. It has far more legit restaurants (including three amazing pizza places) than is typical for a city of its size. It actually felt more like a city to me (albeit a small one) than Boston, which is really just a large town. And anyways, HLS's campus is a ten minute walk from the nearest subway station, so it really felt pretty removed from the Boston metropolitan area. I also like that it's very easy, cheap, and relatively quick to get to NYC from New Haven. On top of all that, I'm so busy at the law school that I usually spend my entire day in the building, from 8:30 AM to 10 PM, so I rarely have time to explore the surrounding area. (And I mean that in a positive way.)

Now that I'm actually at YLS, I feel even more confident about my decision. It's possible, I suppose, that Harvard technically has more events and opportunities, but there are so many at Yale that there is absolutely no way to take advantage of them all. It's actually frustrating at times, in the most first-world-problems way possible. I am astonished that so many people trek out to New Haven just to speak with us. In the span of just one month, I got to see (and in some cases meet) a supreme court justice, Hillary Clinton, Ted Olson, and Stephen Colbert. Judge Kozinski and the chief of staff of the White House Economics Council are coming tomorrow, Timothy Geithner is coming two or three days from now. It's just nuts.

4. I picked a major that I both loved and could excel in. I participated in class, and made an effort to reach out to professors who I believed would provide good mentorship for me. I pursued extracurricular activities that excited me, and that I actually wanted to spend time pursuing. Also, I am fortunate to come from a family that values education and always supported and encouraged my academic and extracurricular growth.

5. The lessons I've learned in law school may apply very broadly. I don't brief cases or outline, I don't strategize on how to take the final exams. I'm sure that most students at other schools spend much more time working on coursework. I choose instead to go to (often multiple) speaker events every day, participate in several reading groups, work for a couple of student journals, and research two different articles I'm working on in my free time (with two professors I don't have classes with and that I've connected with in office hours). I also make plenty of time to get to know and hang out with my classmates. This is the tremendous advantage of Yale's first semester grade system. I choose how I want to spend my time and how I want to be productive. I would encourage other law students here to do the same, although at most other law schools students might need to spend a lot more time on their coursework.


The biggest concern I've heard about HLS is that some students fall through the cracks because the place is so big. I've heard that top students at HLS have the same opportunities available to the top students at YLS (if there are such people at YLS) while having access to unique Harvard opportunities at the same time (e.g. cross-registration at HBS, MIT, FAS, HKS, etc.). If you knew that you would be a top student at HLS (e.g. top 30% with a NYC V3 or W&C/Covington DC SA and research assistant positions with professors), would you still choose to attend YLS?


I will answer your question, even though (as I will explain) it is not a very useful one.

Look at Harvard and Yale's respective median GPA's and median LSAT scores. Do you see a significant difference? No. They're almost identical. I don't believe that Yalies are better students than their counterparts at Harvard. Here are the main differences between Yale and Harvard students:

1. Average Yale students (subjectively) seem to be more interesting and have more exciting resumes than average Harvard students.
2. Yale students have about 1/3 the number of classmates, but employers want just as many of them in raw numbers as they do Harvard students.
3. Yale students don't have to worry about grades first semester, and in subsequent semesters don't have to worry about getting Deans Scholar grades or strict curves.
4. Yale students (probably) have an easier time making faculty connections.

So if I knew I'd be top third at Harvard plus all those other things you mentioned, and I didn't know how I'd do at Yale, then it would obviously make sense to go Harvard. You've neutralized most of Yale's advantages and added advantages to Harvard. I'd have the same resume, I wouldn't have to worry about grades, I wouldn't have to worry about jobs, I wouldn't have to worry about making faculty connections, etc.

But there's no way I could know in advance that I'd be so successful at Harvard, because my acceptance at Yale doesn't suggest that I'd outperform 2/3's of Harvard law students on exams. And thus, even if I ended up top third at Harvard, I would still have to go through all the stress of being a Harvard student to get there. Whereas, had I gone to Yale and been the kind of person who could achieve top third at Harvard, I probably would have also been top third at Yale but had a much less stressful experience.

And even in the scenario you described, I think Yale still has advantages over Harvard that you haven't neutralized (smaller class sizes, easier access to popular courses, school culture, etc.)

The one thing you allude to that I did not address is that Harvard's graduate schools are more uniformly excellent than are those at Yale. That's certainly true, but as a law student I don't think that matters much because:

1. Even if you really want to cross-register, most of your classes at Harvard will still probably be at the law school. After all, you only have one real elective your first year, and then afterwards there's a cap on how many classes you can take outside the law school. Plus, there are probably going to be many more classes in the law school that you'll want to take your 2L and 3L years.
2. I didn't get the sense that it's super easy to cross-register at Harvard, as it is at Stanford.
3. You're only getting your law degree. Even if (for example) Harvard's business school is ranked much higher than Yale's business school, I doubt that HBS offers better courses in terms of content or instruction quality than Yale SOM does.

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Cicero76
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Re: Yale 1L Tells All

Postby Cicero76 » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:01 pm

Lochner gave a far more detailed answer than that rather silly question (come on, in what situation could you predict your class rank at HLS?) deserved, in my opinion, but everything he said is completely correct




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