Yale Law School’s Got Talent

December 10, 2012

W.Z., 1L

A soaring rendition of Brahms’s “Sonatensatz” on violin and piano. Inspiring and heartfelt performances of Fauré and Schumann. A flawless vocalization of “Can’t I Just Be” from Dimond & Kooman’s Homemade Fusion. And finally, an impromptu holiday song medley sing-along around a piano that included Mariah Carey’s famous “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” These were some of the offerings at a recent Winter Recital in the Law School’s dining hall which featured fellow students playing chamber and solo music. There was also an assortment of cheeses, desserts, and drinks for the audience’s enjoyment.

This was an event that could only be put on at the Yale Law School for a few reasons. Because first term exams are administered after Winter Break in January, students do not have to spend the fortnight between the end of Thanksgiving Break and the beginning of Winter Break stuck in a library cramming for finals. This is fantastic, especially given how harrowing this time period can be, at least from what my friends at other law schools tell me -- what with studying, completing assignments, and applying for summer jobs all at the same time.

Another great and unique feature of YLS is the fact that all first term required courses are graded on a credit-fail basis. Since this no-grades policy discourages competition among the students, we were all free to enjoy the musical talents of our fellow classmates. This goes a long way in setting the friendly and cooperative tenor of the Law School, something that almost every prospective student to whom I have given a tour has noticed and remarked upon almost immediately after entering the Law School building.

Which brings me to my final and most important point. The range and breadth of skill and virtuosity on display at the Recital is only a small sampling of the incredible gifts and abilities that Yale Law students possess and bring to the fore in every aspect of the educational experience here. The Admissions Office and the faculty do a great job compiling the best and most talented class (I invite you to just look at the Entering Class Profile on the Admissions page) and I do not think that it is an exaggeration to say that the student body is the school’s greatest asset. You will likely learn as much from your peers as you will from your professors. And who knows, you might also end up taking up the trombone or cello in your time here.