Books on the Beach

November 19, 2010 - 12 AM

D.S., 2L

I looked up from my netbook having written yet another page. I wondered what my professor would think of what I just wrote. She is one of the nation’s foremost property professors and has done groundbreaking work in the field. Yet the main reason I was working so hard to impress her was the half-term I spent in an intensive seminar with her called Property, Social Justice, and the Environment. A small group of us gathered together twice a week and debated for hours on topics like ownership of wildlife, indigenous IP rights, and cap and trade systems. Almost all of us were writing one of our two YLS-required papers in that class (either the Substantial or the Supervised Analytical Writing a.k.a. "SAW"), and she encouraged all of us to work on publishing those papers. Thus, I was buried in books slaving away at my paper. This would probably be a typical law school scene, except that my books were covered in pink sand. I was in Bermuda.

Perhaps the most underrated part of the Yale Law School is the complete ability after fall term of 1L year to build your own schedule. This allows students to be more than just full-time law students. Some continue to run successful non-profits, and keep evenings or weekends free. In this election year, several fashioned their schedules to allow them to travel to their home states early and work on campaigns. Some will weigh their schedules down with clinics and spend the entire term out of the classroom and in the courthouse on behalf of their clients. Others might be travelling the country shooting their next film. Of course, some of us have simpler reasons to have travel-friendly schedules – significant others who live out of town or even out of country.

That’s what brought me to Bermuda on a sunny 75 degree day in November. I front-loaded my schedule and worked hard in class the first two months of the term so I could spend the last two writing and doing clinic work on the beach with my girlfriend (fortunately my clinic involves an organizational client, so face-to-face contact is not necessary). Next term, I plan to load up on black letter classes and learn some nuts and bolts (they do teach those at YLS!). In the meanwhile, the waves are inspiring me. Look for my article in a law journal sometime soon: it will be the one covered in pink sand.