My Small Group

January 5, 2009

L.K., 1L

Starting at orientation, there is no question you will hear asked more frequently or fervently than this one.

“Who do you have for small group?”

First year students find out which professor they have been assigned to for small group a couple of days into orientation. The hunt then begins to locate the dozen or so other classmates who share your small group professor.

The small group at Yale Law School is designed to help you get to know a subset of your classmates very well during your first semester in law school. Everyone in your small group takes the same set of classes together. Three of the four classes are larger classes, comprised of about thirty or sixty students or four or five small groups. The fourth class is a seminar taught by your small group professor.

In my view, the more important element of small group usually tends to take place outside the classroom. The small group is typically the first group of friends you make at Yale Law School and quickly become the people you meet up with before Bar Review, join for lunch in the dining hall, and linger with in the hallways between classes. The small group is a microcosm of the wonderful diversity at Yale Law School and you will often find yourself engaged in conversations with people who hold different views than you do on many topics. Because the members of the Law School also tend to be a passionate bunch, you’ll also find that your small group classmates also know more than you do about almost any given subject, no matter how esoteric, and their knowledge tends to be first hand. In my small group alone, there are individuals who taught in inner-city public schools, attended the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, and pursued doctorate degrees in chemistry and computer science before coming to law school. The things you can learn from your small group classmates alone are pretty much limitless.

Not to mention, the small group provides you with an immediate support group to travel through all that is 1L year. I am so happy to have mine.