All Roads Lead to Yale Law School

March 7, 2011 - 12 AM

D.S., 2L

Now that I am halfway through my time here at Yale Law School, I’ve gotten to the point where I know almost everyone in my purely law classes such as evidence and administrative law. Even the 1Ls, who were taking the required first-term classes last term, are familiar faces now from social events such as bar review, community happy hours, the public interest auction, and intramural sports. Yet, I still meet, speak with, and learn from new people in every class. In my Native American Law class, this included Yale College, the Yale Divinity School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In my Green Energy Policy class and my Energy Law and Regulation reading group, it includes Yale School of Management students and some more Forestry students. I have seen PhD’s from various departments running around as well.

I remember when I was applying to law schools, several bragged about the ability law students have to take classes elsewhere in their respective universities, and sometimes in tandem with other universities. I originally saw this as a strong selling point, and even considered doing a dual degree (as many of my YLS friends are now doing). However, when I arrived in New Haven, I realized just how short three years can be. “If I’m going to take all of these classes at other schools,” I thought, “I am never going to get the chance to take all the law classes I want.”

Unfortunately, this meant that I would not get the chance to pursue other interests and study with the world’s best minds in fields outside the law. The cream of the crop from all around the world comes to study fields such as business, politics, environmental studies, history, and philosophy at Yale. I would not get the chance to learn from one of the world’s foremost philosophers, who had studied directly under John Rawls (Thomas Pogge). Or from a former British Prime Minister (Tony Blair). Or take classes alongside an actor who recently hosted the Oscars (I’ll let you figure this one out). Or so I thought.

Unexpectedly, I found that I have access to these brilliant minds and unique worldviews without doing the legwork of working through other schools. Thomas Pogge teaches a class cross-listed with the law school and several others. Some of my classmates have been in Tony Blair’s classes. And while I’ve never sat in a class next to the Green Goblin, my fellow classmates have hailed from all over the world, from governments and nonprofit organizations located in every country you can imagine. To your left may be the next environmental minister of Brazil, who will be responsible for the saving the Amazon. To your right might be a future CEO of a multinational energy conglomerate.

Even though professors must deal with a logistical nightmare teaching classes with students from ten different schools (on ten different schedules and with ten different grading scales), the insights that we get from studying together with them are priceless. These classes, which look like simple law classes on the outside, are a hidden gem at YLS. And now you know!