It’s hard to beat Yale Law School, where the atmosphere is “highly intellectual” and classes are mostly “small” (first-year classes vary in size from fifteen to ninety students). One of the many uniquely cool things about Yale is that “there aren’t very many required courses.” All 1Ls must complete course work in constitutional law, contracts, procedure, and torts. There’s also a small, seminar-style legal research and writing course, and that’s pretty much it. Best of all, there are “no grades.” First semester classes are graded pass/fail. After first semester, there is some semblance of grades but, since Yale doesn’t keep track of class rank, it’s not a big deal.
Academically, “this is the best place in the world.” “It’s easy to learn about whatever you’re interested in, from medieval European law to helping immigrants in the modern-day United States,” says one student. Yale is home to cutting-edge centers and programs galore. Clinical opportunities are vast and available “in your first year,” which is a
rarity. You can represent family members in juvenile neglect cases, provide legal services for nonprofit organizations, or participate in complicated federal civil rights cases. It’s also “easy” to obtain joint-degrees or simply “cross-register for other classes” at Yale. A particularly unique program allows students to get a joint-degree at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
Student report that the administration is “generally friendly.” Word on the faculty is mixed. “I love all my professors,” beams a 2L. “They will help me with anything.” Nearly all agree that “most professors are delighted to help you.” When jobs and clerkships are on the line, it’s not uncommon for professors to personally make calls on behalf of students “to high-profile firms or government officials.” Other students, however, tell us the faculty isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “Quality teaching is not valued enough,” gripes a critic. “Professors are hired based on their scholarship rather than their ability to teach or their interest in interacting with students.”
Employment prospects are simply awesome. A degree from Yale virtually guarantees “an easy time finding a good job” and a lifetime of financial security. There is “very solid career support” (including “lots of free wine” at recruiting events). But did you know that Yale prolifically produces public interest attorneys? It’s true. Every one of Yale’s graduates could immediately take the big firm route but, each year, hordes of them don’t. Yale “encourages diverse career paths” and “nontraditional routes” (“especially in academia and public interest”) and annually awards dozens of public interest fellowships to current students and newly minted grads. There’s a “great” loan forgiveness program too.
Facilities are phenomenal. Yale boasts wireless Internet access throughout the Law School, wireless common areas, and perhaps the greatest law library in the history of humanity. “The research facilities are spectacular.” Aesthetically, “everything is beautiful,” especially if you are into “wood paneling, stained glass windows, and hand-carved moldings.” “If you care about architecture and Ivy League ambiance, come to Yale.”