The Right Coast

April 03, 2004
First Draft of Yale Law School Application site
By Tom Smith

Welcome to Yale Law School J.D. Admissions, [now get lost]
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Welcome to Yale Law School J.D. Admissions

Yale Law School is an extraordinary community in which to study law. [You can say that again.] Our unmatched faculty-to-student ratio allows us to offer a vast array of courses [on whatever goofy topic in which a professor wants to indulge himself that semester], with an average class size of under 20 students [often way under]. Easy student-faculty interaction is a hallmark of the school [especially easy for the professors, who interact with students only when they feel like it]; students enjoy countless opportunities for research and writing with professors [up to and including unattributed co-authorship]. Law students have access to scholars in all of Yale's departments [Chip--is this OK, or just too much of a fib even for admissions materials?], to the University's nine-million-volume library system, and to its cultural, social, intellectual, and athletic activities [but not to the various exclusive clubs, such as Morie's, that are only open to undergraduates]. At the same time, Yale Law School has ties to the city of New Haven, a small, lively [think Law and Order] urban [and we mean urban] center with several first-rate museums {a real life cast of characters straight from The Sapranos,] and the best pizza in America. [Students going out for pizza after dark should travel in groups or have significant experience in close quarter combat.]

To request a J.D. application, click here.

Contact information:

Yale Law School Admissions Office
P.O. Box 20823p
New Haven, CT 06520-8329

[I know, I should stop picking on Yale Law School. I should be grateful they let me in. I am grateful they let me in. Otherwise, I'd probably be slaving away in some giant law firm now, thinking I coulda been a contenda. I just can't help myself. I think they are so funny. I promise, if I ever realize my ambition to be incredibly rich, I will give them some money. Not a lot of progress on the incredibly rich front lately, but who knows.]

UPDATE: Brian Leiter has asked me to opine on the appeal of YLS to top law school candidates, given certain drawbacks I allude to comically (I hope) above. I don't really know, but I can speculate. First, whatever problems Yale may have, Harvard has problems of its own, I'm sure. It's what, three times as big, and full of people even more ruthless and competitive than you are. Who can forget that nasty fat guy in The Paper Chase who kept calling people "robot pimp"? So Harvard is a factory, and one might fear that as a sensitive genius, one might not shine at one's best in a factory.

My brother in law Paul Cassell who is sitting on our new couch as I blog this, was president of the Stanford Law Review in his day, and has nothing but positive things to say about Stanford. He is a positive guy, without a lot bad to say about anybody, sort of like me.

Chicago, well, Chicago seems pretty fierce. Yale seems relatively warm and inviting, compared to Chicago. And the ambiguity of grades at Yale is alluring. (I once went to the Registrar at YLS and pressed her to tell me what my class rank would have been, had the law school ranked people. She told me "top 10 percent." I realized later there was every chance she told this to anyone who asked that question, which was probably a fair number of people.) I went to Yale because I was choosing between going to law school and doing graduate work in political theory, and Yale seemed to offer the luxury of not really having to choose between the two. In retrospect, I probably got neither more than both, but given my idiosyncratic portfolio of virtues and vices, I was probably much better off at Yale than I would have been anywhere else. Finally, I think Yale is by some distance the most selective law school, so there is the appeal of joining the most exclusive club (this is before you realize the most exclusive club is one you can only be born into).