On Small Groups

December 4, 2008

J.M., 1L

My small group is amazing. From camping trips and Thanksgiving dinners to dance parties and end of the week brunches, we do it all.

Throughout the admissions process you will repeatedly hear about how the small group is one of the integral parts of the Yale Law School first year experience. During our first semester, we take all of our courses with our small group. One of these courses is our designated small group course in which it is just the fifteen of us and a professor. This system encourages academic cooperation by providing a simple means to organize study and discussion groups and assist each other in preparation for classes and exams. In reality, the Yale small group system goes well beyond that.

A week does not go by when my small group does not plan at least one outside class activity. We have gone camping, complete with s’mores and fireside bonding, on Judge Calabresi’s farm. We have had a Canadian Thanksgiving potluck dinner, complete with turkey, about a dozen side dishes, and several desserts. We have weekly celebratory brunches following our last class on Friday. Plus there are all of impromptu gatherings that seem to occur at each other’s places with striking regularity. We are even often found as a group at general social events. That circle of people having a dance party or belting out Journey songs in the middle of Bar Review - yes that would be us.

Yet, the small group experience goes beyond even this. In the past few months, my small group has become a sort of extended family here at Yale. Although 1L fall is a wonderful and exhilarating experience, adjusting to law school can at times be difficult. The support of your small group at such moments is a really great thing to have.