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4.0 of 5 stars
When describing YLS, I like to paraphrase Winston Churchill's take on democracy: Yale is the worst law school, except all the other ones. Some of the best experiences I had were beyond YLS. You can take one class per semester outside the law school, no questions asked, and another if you can make a case that it will further your career goals. I was able to take two science classes and audit a third one semester. The social events for law students are pretty good, and there's a lot of flexibility with research.I really enjoyed the trial practice classes, taught by real trial lawyers.
Many of the professors are renowned scholars but not good teachers. People at YLS are mostly type-A overachievers and many people go in already planning a career in politics. It's very "political" not so much in the sense that people are politically active (although that's the case) but in the sense that people seek to cultivate a "popular" image and make the "right" friends that will benefit their future political careers. Competition over grades (honors) only matters for those looking to clerk or work at the few firms that care about YLS grades (some elite firms so, some don't). The weather in New Haven is terrible most of the academic year. (It's great in the summer but you probably don't want to spend your summers in New Haven because you'll have amazing opportunities beyond.)
I didn't do a clinic, but from my friends' experiences, it was a very rewarding experience and provided a lot of practical career skills.
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YLS, due to its unique structure and grading system, will really let people specialize within the first year of law school. Also, the school has a very strong academic bent, so if you're a thinker you will enjoy the place. For more practical work/opportunities, as long as you're a go-getter, you will be able to find opportunities in every practice area/field you want. Finally, the YLS name itself opens many doors (sometimes unwarranted).
The school makes a huge point about it not being a competitive place ("you are off the treadmill"). This is false. The school actually facilitates and encourages the fierce competition for so-called gold stars (clerkships, FIP, RAships, etc). People get sucked into chasing these gold stars even if they did not mean to do so coming in.
YLS has/opens up SO MANY opportunities - so many so that you will inevitably get some FOMO. However, keep your eyes on the goal and really pursue what you came to law school for.
5.0 of 5 stars
Small, collegial environment; diversity of academic offerings; great professor to student ratio
Professors aren't always invested in teaching; More funding for student organizations needed
You can't go wrong coming here, it's a fantastic opportunity to define your own law school experience. Undoubtedly, YLS will set you up for future success.
The intellectual and theoretical environment and the wide range of opportunities
The intelligence and accomplishments of your peers can be intimidating
If you have the chance to attend Yale Law School, attend Yale Law School
Getting in to YLS often feels like one's biggest and last hurdle in finding a career. After that, all doors are open.
Because of its size and the self-motivation of many of its students, YLS is sometimes lacking in providing guidance to those who enter without a concrete plan for what they'd like to achieve during law school.
One is best poised to utilize all of Yale's opportunities if one enters law school with a concrete idea of what they wish to achieve. I wish I had deferred entrance a year or two before entering law school.
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