Law School Prom

April 24, 2012

M.L., 2L

In many ways, law school is like high school. Lockers, first year students traveling in packs and blocking the hallways, and familiar faces everywhere – here especially because of YLS’s small class sizes. One can debate whether law school’s similarity to high school is a good or bad thing (blocking the hallways, at least, is never good – take note 1Ls). But one clear advantage is that, at least at YLS, we too end our spring with the eponymous social event of the year: Prom.

I’m proud to say that, for the last two years, I’ve helped plan ours – an experience that has been personally rewarding in tangible and intangible ways alike. In law school, I’ve chosen my activities carefully. Among all of them, planning Prom has probably been the most meaningful for me. Many law schools have an annual formal dance, but what sets ours apart – other than unabashedly, without irony, calling it Prom – is that an independent student-run non-profit organization, called the Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale, fully plans our formal as a fundraiser.

The Initiative raises money to award grants to soon-to-be, or recent, law school graduates interested in pursuing public interest careers. Our organization has been around for many years, but because of the economy in recent years, and the general dearth of public interest jobs, my participation in the organization has felt especially meaningful. In the process of raising money – and then going through the tough process of deciding on who gets these grants – I’ve learned from some of the most fiercely public interest-dedicated people I’ve yet met: my fellow Initiative members. Above all, these people demonstrate how strong this public interest community is at YLS.

Even putting all of that aside, Prom itself is just plain old fun. Reading about it on a blog, it might seem corny (certainly, high school proms often are) but we try to make ours a classy affair. For example, this year we decided on an Enchanted Forest theme. Instead of doing something artificial like creating a mural, we actually imported seven trees from just outside of New Haven, which we then decorated with lights – and pretty much for free (it was a fundraiser after all)! More than the decorations themselves, Prom is just a perfect time to get together with your closest friends, let loose, and appreciate that, for any negative similarities to high school, law school – at least at YLS – can be a wonderful place.