The Small Group

November 1, 2012

Y.G., 1L

“Which small group are you in?” I didn't expect that to be the most common question people would ask me at Yale, but it is. And for good reason. My small group has been the defining feature of both my social and academic life at Yale thus far. I think the same is true for many of my classmates.

If you attend YLS, your small group will consist of 15 or 16 other 1Ls that you take all four of your first semester classes with. One of those classes—Contracts, Torts, Constitutional Law, or Civil Procedure—will be taught as a seminar and include only your small group. Legal research and writing are also taught as part of this small seminar. So, in addition to studying Torts or Contracts you'll also learn how to write legal memoranda and briefs under the tutelage of your small group professor and Coker fellows, two 3Ls selected by application to teach legal research and writing to your small group.

But you’ll likely spend as much time with your small group outside of class as you will inside. Most small group professors plan a few social activities throughout the semester. Just a few weeks ago my small group road tripped up to Boston to visit the Federal Judge for whom our professor clerked. Small groups also frequently get together informally. Members of my small group often study, party, and occasionally even work out together.

Even though we spend so much time together, I don’t feel limited by my small group socially. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I appreciate that in a new place and at the beginning of a new stage of my life, there is a set of people that I can share experiences with, while growing and reflecting together.