Housing Options for Law Students

October 11, 2011 - 12 AM

J.L. 2L

Having recently moved to a new area of town, I’ve had my share of apartment searching in New Haven. So in this post I’m going to share with you my knowledge about the various options available to law students at Yale. There are three options when it comes to housing. One is to live in the graduate student dorms, another is to live in the graduate student rentals through Elm Campus, and the third is to live in an apartment off-campus.

For the student dorms option, you basically get your own room, free cable, free utilities, laundry, and a furniture set (a standard twin size bed, a desk, and a dresser). Living in a student dorm is probably the cheapest option available. Depending on whether you live in Helen Hadley Hall (HHH) or some other dorms, you may also have access to an indoor gym. The downside to these student dorms, however, is that you have to use communal bathrooms and kitchens (with the upside being you don’t have to clean them yourself!). Another downside – or upside, depending on what you prefer – is that there usually are very few law students who live in these dorms. In fact, HHH is mostly occupied by international graduate students. The Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS) is located within half a block of the law school, has beautiful architecture, a cafeteria, and history. I thought it was the perfect housing for me, but unfortunately, a few years ago, due to a lack of law student participation in graduate student government, they collectively voted to exclude law students from living at HGS so that more graduate students can live there.

The second option is through Elm Campus Partners, which is a property management company that rents out Yale property to students. They have a variety of locations available around town that are reasonably priced. Many law students choose to live in these properties, most of which are located downtown.

Finally, the third option is to live off-campus. Here, you’ll find that the price range rises unless you plan to room with others. Law students tend to live in areas like East Rock, downtown New Haven, or Wooster Square. The advantage of living in East Rock is that it has a nice suburban allure. If you like living in a house and love to take in the view everyday on your way to school, East Rock is a great place to live. The downside to living in East Rock is the distance to the law school, which can be particularly annoying in the winter when there is a lot of snow. Wooster Square has a similar appeal, but the route to the law school after dark can be slightly precarious if you’re not taking the shuttle. Wooster Square also has a farmer’s market, and proximity to the pizza and bakery places New Haven is known for. In the spring, you’ll also get to see the cherry blossoms in that neighborhood. Wooster Square also has the cheapest rental properties.

I chose to live off-campus in downtown New Haven. The area is particularly attractive to me because it’s really convenient. Where I live, there’s a museum and Starbucks within half a block, a Walgreens within two blocks, and plenty of great restaurants and bars that are incredibly close to me. It’s also a ten-minute walk to the law school. Some of the downtown options that are favored by law students are the Towers, the Taft, the Eli, the Centerpoint, and the Cambridge-Oxford. The downside with living in downtown is perhaps the price and safety. However, the price is still very reasonable if you have a roommate. And in terms of safety, you can always take the Yale door-to-door shuttle home after dark.

That’s about everything I know in terms of housing options. Whatever you end up choosing, keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to visit before you decide!