Outside the Law

March 29, 2010

D.S., 1L

As the first warm days of spring arrived in New Haven, I found myself running up the side of East Rock (it’s much better than taking the long winding way up) enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. When I finally arrived at the summit, I enjoyed the amazing views of the city, the Long Island Sound, and the university. Suddenly, I heard someone behind me calling my name. Apparently, I wasn’t the only 1L who decided to run up East Rock that day. Once again, the stereotype I had of law students coming in – sheltered academics that never leave the halls of the law school – fell completely flat at Yale.

Yalies tend to be very outdoorsy. Just about every nice-weather weekend, you can find them running down suburban streets, climbing up mountains, playing soccer on the beach, or falling from the sky (actually this is true during foul-weather weekends as well, but I like to spend those at one of Payne Whitney’s two pools pretending otherwise). There is a YLS-outdoors email list you can join to be kept abreast of all these opportunities. Recent emails on that list or on the “Wall” included invitations to take a bicycle trip down the coast, a ski trip to Vermont, and skydiving. Several people go hiking in East Rock on the weekends, or travel just a bit up to Sleeping Giant State Park. Some like to go to Hammonasset Beach and play frisbee in the Sound (I wouldn’t recommend it between November and May but to each his/her own).

Long-distance journeys are very common among YLS students and alums. Perhaps it is the same drive that led us all here that leads us to accomplish difficult feats. Many have run or are planning to run marathons and triathlons. I know one student who is preparing for an Iron Man competition. Another of my classmates has bicycled across the United States. I will be doing a 250-mile bicycle trip this summer with a YLS alum. She helped me get my summer job, then invited me to take a week off and spend it cycling through the woods. I can’t think of a more fun way to network than around a campsite after a long day’s ride.

There is a rumored “1L 15” to match the freshman fifteen from college. You’re supposed to enter law school in decent shape and leave it pale and weak after years of nothing but reading casebooks and writing memos. But after YLS, you can leave with a J.D., a fantastic academic experience, amazing friendships built through long treks in the woods – and in the best shape of your life.