Non-Legal Career Interests

October 8, 2007

K.G., 1L

Secret: I came to law school this fall fairly confident that I did not want to practice law. Prior to my current life as a 1L, I worked for three years on Wall Street in Mergers & Acquisitions. I wanted a legal education that would enhance my ability to work in management, but I also just wanted to do something different.

When I tell people who know a thing or two about law schools that I chose to go from Wall Street to Yale Law School, they give me a quizzical look. Many perceive Yale Law School to be public interest-focused and not at all concerned with business and the private sector. While public interest work flourishes here, I would say that, first and foremost, Yale gives students the flexibility to determine and pursue their own interests. Starting next semester, I’ll have the ability to choose my classes. I’m excited to take a class at Yale’s School of Management for credit at the Law School. I can also take business law classes like Federal Income Taxation or International Business Transactions in my first year of study. That flexibility is rare among top law schools, and incredibly valuable for someone like me with non-legal interests.

I expected to be alone in my interest in business, but I quickly learned otherwise in the first few days of orientation. Over cocktails and cook-outs in the courtyard, I started to meet some classmates have similar work experiences in investment banking, consulting, and entrepreneurship. More than just bonding over our decisions to leave lucrative jobs to come to YLS, we talked about our experiences, our interests at YLS and beyond. At the student organization fair, I was excited to find that Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs and the Yale Law & Business Society are active and have vibrant plans for the upcoming year. After just a few weeks on campus, I realize that the benefit of being at YLS is in the richness of the legal and non-legal paths there are here to follow and to create.

At Dean Koh’s introductory speech on how to think about our careers, he challenged our class to decide what we stand for, and to pursue that with our “one, precious life.” His speech really got me thinking. What matters most to me and the people in my life? What are the values of the people for whom I want to work? I love being at YLS because it forces me to ask these questions and then provides the flexibility and resources that will allow me ultimately to answer them.