Guest Speakers at YLS

March 28, 2008

C.E., 1L

One of the greatest components of a Yale Law School education is the opportunity to expand your knowledge base out side of the classroom.

Last semester, from Justice Kennedy to Henry Kissinger, it felt like every month offered up an incredible American personality who was at 127 Wall Street to share wisdom with us law students.

During the Global Constitutionalism Conference back in September, Justices Kennedy and Breyer engaged in a fascinating discussion before a packed audience in the law school auditorium. Justices at equal levels from all over the world have convened in New Haven for the Conference to discuss issues of international law, and YLS students benefited repeatedly from their presence on campus. In addition to their speech, I attended a small breakfast discussion with Justices from the Constitutional Court of Colombia, the Mexican Supreme Court, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, and the European Court of Human Rights. It was quite an experience to have during my first month of law school!

A few months later, in coordination with the history and political science departments, it was Henry Kissinger’s turn to come up to the microphone in the law school auditorium. After briefly providing his perspective on current American foreign policy, he stepped aside to share the stage with Sir Alistair Horne and Tom Ricks to discuss the lessons of the Algerian War as applied to Iraq.

Recently, Professor Allen of the University of Michigan, chairman and co-founder of Toward A Fair Michigan (a group that played a role in Michigan’s Proposition 2 legislation) and former Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, came to campus to debate with Yale’s Professor Days (also former U.S. Solicitor General during the Clinton administration). Each speaker was given two opportunities to present his viewpoint. After 90 minutes of discussion, complete with a free dinner of course, I feel confident in saying that the entire audience left with a better idea of the issues at play in the affirmative action debate while also pondering more questions than ever before about the proper path going forward.

All in all, Yale attracts academic and political greats, so in addition to weekly lectures from world-renowned scholars in the classroom, night time and weekend events offer unparalleled exposure to viewpoints and experiences from learned men residing and working elsewhere in the world, opportunities not to be missed that are much appreciated by the student body.