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Yale Law School

Yale Law SchoolSet in the culturally diverse environs of an urban seaport, Yale Law School (YLS), in New Haven, Connecticut, brings together students from all over the world. Boasting a class size of 25 or less, with an 8:1 student/faculty ratio, the law students at Yale enjoy personal attention while partaking in a rich academic heritage passed down from several generations. With over 180 courses offered and taught by world renowned faculty members, along with opportunities in independent research, training and law clinics, it is easy to see why Yale is one of the world’s premiere law schools.

The history of YLS

Yale Law School’s origins can be traced to the early 1800’s in a time when studying law meant an apprenticeship in a law firm. A New Haven lawyer by the name of Seth Staples is attributed with training apprentices and establishing a law school within his firm. It was one of Staples’ students, Samuel Hitchcock, who would become a partner at the office and later, the proprietor of the New Haven Law School. The New Haven Law School slowly but surely merged with Yale during the mid-1820s to the mid-1840s, to established Yale’s Law School. During the 1800s, the state of the school remained fragile, on the verge of near closing. By the end of the 19th century, however, Yale took the pursuit of legal studies more seriously and decided to focus on two main traits, which have carried on into Yale Law School in the 21rst century: to keep the law school “small and humane” and to keep it interdisciplinary. The result of this has been a stream of legal professionals coming out of Yale, with a depth and breadth of knowledge that continues to dazzle the legal world, year after year. At last count, there were 12,000 Yale School Alumni, making their mark in the legal world throughout the globe.

YLS in the Present

The focus of the law programs at Yale is to establish an intimate bond between students, faculty and the material presented. Classes are small, with incoming students exempt from grading for the first term. In subsequent terms, grades are based on an Honors/Pass/Low Pass/Fail system. Care is taken to ensure an environment that fosters academic excellence and public service, with 60% of Yale’s Law students participating in public interest work. The YLS’s Lillian Goldman Law Library, contains approximately 800,000 volumes, to assist students in their educational pursuits.

The present dean of Yale Law School, Harold Hongju Koh, upholds the school’s mission by outlining the following four challenges:

  • To make Yale Law School a truly global institution
  • To prepare Yale Law School students for the profession
  • To reaffirm Yale Law School’s commitment to public service
  • To renew Yale Law School’s faculty

Dean Harold Koh has made globalization a priority, encouraging faculty and students to be active around the world and bring global perspectives into different areas of law. Prominent foreign legal thinkers are invited to Yale every year to offer their guidance and expertise to students in the areas of international and foreign law. In addition, International students who attend Yale Law School come from 46 countries, many already possess foreign law degrees, in pursuit of gaining further expertise to help them create and lead new pathways in their homelands.

Areas of Study at YLS

While Yale Law School does not limit itself to specific areas of study and encourages a multidisciplinary approach to studying and practicing law, the following areas of study are an example of what students are currently pursuing:

Students are encouraged to take advantage of clinical opportunities after their first term, unlike other law schools which require students to wait for a longer period of time. YLS helps support the work of students through seminars and other special programs, such as the Arthur Liman Public Interest Program. In addition, fellowships and international educational opportunities are also available to help students enhance their academic experience.

Yale Law School offers the following four degree-granting programs:

  1. The J.D. program, which is a three-year program.
  2. The LL.M. a one-year program for J.D. graduates interested in law teaching.
  3. The J.S.D. program, which is open to Yale Law School LL.M. graduates.
  4. The M.S.L. program, which is a one-year program offered to experts in other fields interested in how the law relates to/intersects with their fields.

To learn more about the programs mentioned above, including their requirements and how to apply, please visit YLS’s website at http://www.law.yale.edu/

Prospective Students

Yale Campus Life200 hundred spots are coveted by approximately 3800 applicants each year. Tuition costs are $40,900, with eighty percent of students receiving need-based financial aid. Applications are accepted from September 1 through February 16, with most applicants receiving a final response by the end of April. While the admission process is competitive, selection is not based on any one factor, such as LSAT scores or GPAs. Each student’s application is carefully considered, giving importance to other aspects such as recommendations, essays, work experience, awards and activities. Each applicant file is first considered by the dean or director of admissions and then considered by faculty file readers. Get more information here. To get a feel for YLS, take their virtual tour.

Yale Law School has been consistently rated the best law school in the United States by U.S. News and World Report every year, with the exception of 1987, where it shared the honor with Harvard. Notable alumni are Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, Senators Joseph Leiberman and Hillary Clinton, and actor/speech writer Ben Stein.

Information Source: YLS website and wikipedia.

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