Preparing for Commencement
Tickets are not required for family and guests to attend the Commencement ceremonies.
Invitations to the Sunday evening reception and to the Monday Commencement ceremonies will be available in March in the Registrar's Office. Initially, you may request 10 copies of each invitation. If you would like additional copies, we will make those available in April, after all degree candidates have had the opportunity to request copies.
When you come in to request your invitations, please make sure you have approved your name for diplomas and filled out release forms for clerkship and bar examination requirements, if you have not already done so.
If a guest for Commencement is in need of special accommodations, please contact the appropriate office as far in advance as possible in order to make arrangements. Certain accommodations are available on a first come first served basis.
JD Class Photo
The Class Photo will be taken, in the Courtyard on April 1, 2019. Please assemble in the Courtyard at 5:45 p.m. so that the photographer can set up the shot. For those who have class until 6 p.m., please join us immediately after your class ends.
Please mark your calendar accordingly! This photo is a wonderful keepsake and remembrance of your class (we will circulate the class photo to all members of the J.D. Class by email).
There is no dress code for the class photo.
Graduate Student Class Photo
MSL, LLM, JSD, and PhD students will gather for a series of class photos in the Courtyard immediately following the End of Year Luncheon for all graduate students (Faculty Lounge, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.).
The Class Banquet will be held on Tuesday, April 17, 2019, at 7 pm at the New Haven Lawn Club.
The attire for the class banquet is semi-formal.
You must verify your diploma name through WebSIS no later than March 31. Your first and last names must be your legal names. If you also want to include your middle name(s), you may ask that the name(s) be fully spelled out or listed as initials. Note: University policy is that only names will be put on diplomas; no honorifics (Dr., etc.) or other degrees (M.B.A., M.D., etc.) will be included, so do not add either of these to your name on the diploma list.
To confirm pronunciation of your name (and children's names, if applicable) for the Law School Commencement ceremony, please follow the steps below:
- Call (203) 936-9573, listen to the message, and then pronounce your name (as requested on your diploma) TWICE—once slowly, once at normal conversational speed. Please err on the side of caution—if it is anything more difficult to pronounce than, say, "Mary Jane Doe," you should call!
- If you are planning to have your children accompany you across the stage, please (a) email Dean Cosgrove with their names, and (b) include the pronunciation of their names in your voicemail message.
- The name of every candidate will be read, even those who are not participating in our ceremony. Please call even if you do not plan to attend the ceremony.
- Deadline is March 31.
A reception hosted by Dean Gerken for all graduating students, family, and guests will be held Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 5 pm in the Law School Courtyard.
All Yale Law School degree candidates are invited to participate in Commencement activities on Monday, May 20, 2019.
There are two distinct ceremonies. The University Commencement takes place on Old Campus in the morning and the Law School ceremony is held in the Lanman Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium beginning around 12:45 p.m. No tickets are required for either commencement ceremony, and there is no limit on the number of guests. The participants in both ceremonies wear caps and gowns.
Monday, May 20 at 10:30 a.m. (Students must be lined up on Cross Campus at 10:00 a.m.)
Old Campus (Approximate GPS Address: Phelps Hall, Yale University 344 College Street New Haven, CT 06520)
All university degrees are formally conferred during the Commencement ceremony on Old Campus. During the ceremony, the deans formally present their approved candidates to President Salovey. The president, in turn, confers the degrees and admits new graduates to each degree’s “rights and responsibilities.” Student marshals accept symbolic diplomas from the president on behalf of their colleagues. The ceremony lasts approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.
Law School Ceremony
Monday, May 20 at 12:45 p.m., or immediately following University Commencement
Payne Whitney Gymnasium (70 Tower Parkway, New Haven, CT 06511)
The ceremony for Yale Law School takes place immediately after the University Commencement. This ceremony lasts approximately two and a half hours.
The University Ceremony (Rain or Shine)
- All graduating law students and faculty should gather at Cross Campus (Approximate GPS Address, Bass Library, 110 Wall St, New Haven, CT 06511) at 10:10 a.m. behind the sign that says "Law". We will line up in pairs in the following order: Dean Gerken; the faculty; the student marshals and finally, the degree candidates in the following order: Ph.D./J.S.D. candidates; LL.M. candidates; MSL candidates; and J.D. candidates. Within any category you may pair up with anyone else; students who want to sit together should march behind/in front of each other. Law student marshals, who will be carrying white batons, will assist in assembling our formation.
- After the undergraduates and the Corporation party have left Cross Campus, the graduate and professional schools procession (including the Law School group) will follow them through the Noah Porter Gate, across and up Elm Street and then down High Street, entering Old Campus through the High Street Gate.
- Once we arrive at Old Campus, all degree candidates should take seats as directed. Please fill up every row completely and sit down immediately upon finding a seat. There is no particular order of seating during the University ceremony. Don't worry about keeping the same partner for the exiting march—you can pair up with anyone when we leave Old Campus.
- Procedure: During the symbolic awarding of degrees, when Dean Gerken begins to address the President, the student marshals proceed (without batons) to walk to the ramp leading to the stage (to the right side as you look at it). When Dean Gerken says, "I have the honor to present candidates…for the degree of …, …in number," the degree candidates designated rise and put on their caps at the words "in number." When the President says, "I confer upon you the degrees…and admit you to all their rights and responsibilities," the student marshals go onto the stage to receive the symbolic diplomas. When our Dean tips her cap to the President and resumes her seat, the degree candidates sit down without waiting for the student marshals to return to their seats.
- Dean Thompson will lead the Recessional march off of Old Campus through the High Street Gate. Once you leave Old Campus, please proceed directly to the Lanman Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
The Law School Ceremony
- Following the University Commencement exercises on Old Campus, law students will process from the ceremony held on Old Campus and march directly to the Lanman Center at Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Once you enter the Payne Whitney Gymnasium through the main entrance, turn right toward the John J. Lee Amphitheater. There will be signs and law school volunteers directing you to the appropriate location. Ushers will direct you down the stairs and into the Amphitheater, where you should immediately line up alphabetically by the degree you will be receiving (e.g. JDs should line up with JDs, LLMs with LLMs, and so forth), so that you can be checked off on the attendance list. The order of entrance into the Lanman Center will be as follows: J.S.D./Ph.D., LL.M., MSL., and J.D. candidates. Water and snacks will be available in the student staging area for graduates.
- The Law School ceremony will include the reading of the name of each degree candidate that is present. Please start forward across the stage area when your name is called and shake the Dean's hand. This is, of course, a photo opportunity for family and friends. You may want to place the tassel of your caps on your right side, since the photographer* will be facing your left side as you proceed across the stage. (*Commencement Photos, Inc., of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, [CPI] will take individual photos of all who participate in the Commencement Ceremony. It will be possible to order photographs from the CPI website. CPI will send all graduates an e-mail with information about ordering photographs after Commencement.)
- After the ceremony, weather permitting we will host the Champagne Toast in the Yale Law School Courtyard. This is an opportunity to mingle with faculty, members of the administration, family and guests, and to take lots of photographs! No tickets are required for the champagne reception. In case of inclement weather, the toast will take place at the back of the Lanman Center. The location of the champagne toast will be announced at the end of the ceremony.
All university parking lots are open on Commencement day, but parking will be at a premium, and meters will be monitored. Traveling and parking within the city of New Haven is always challenging on Commencement Day. Please plan ahead and allow plenty of time to travel to and around campus that day.
Commencement Photos, Inc., of Tewksbury, Massachusetts [CPI] will take individual photos of all who participate in the Commencement Ceremony. It will be possible to order photographs from the CPI website.
It can be mild and sunny or cold and rainy in Connecticut in May. Recent Commencement weekends have had both weather extremes, so flexibility and practicality are good planning principles. Dress with an eye to the weather and comfort. The University ceremony is held outdoors; the Law School ceremony is held indoors. Low heels or flats are appropriate for navigating the grass and mulched pathways of Old Campus. Rain gear, including water-impervious footwear, is important; and rain ponchos are preferred over umbrellas so sightlines are not blocked. Sunglasses and hats may also be useful. A jacket and tie or collared shirt and sports jacket is appropriate men’s attire for most events. On graduation day, it is recommended that students wear clothing with pockets, comfortable heels (if they choose to wear heels), and a shirt with a button to make it easier to tie their regalia.
We will provide snacks and water during the Law School ceremony. There are also several local restaurants available if you would like to purchase breakfast. Those restaurants include: Blue State Coffee, Maison Mathis, and Good Nature Market.
Looking for graduation gifts? Vendors selling fresh flowers will be available on site. You can also purchase hats, t-shirts, umbrellas, and other Yale memorabilia from the Yale University Official Bookstore and Campus Customs.
Preparing to Leave YLS
Information on preparing for the Bar Exam can be found at:
Questions about which bar exam to take can be referred to the Career Development Office
Questions about and requests regarding the various forms completed by the school can be referred to the Registrar’s Office
Questions about financing the costs related to the exam or bar study can be referred to the Office of Financial Aid
Questions about the character & fitness process can be referred to the Office of Student Affairs
Fingerprinting services are available at the Yale Police Department
Notary services are available in the Registrar’s Office
Your email account will remain open and active until June 1, 2020.
All graduating students are eligible to register for a lifelong email account. These accounts are managed by the Association of Yale Alumni and provided by gmail.
Access to VPN will end on October 1, 2019.
Your NetID will continue to provide access to Yale Law School and University systems available to alumni, including the COAP online application, websis, and password protected areas of the law school website.
For more information on how to setup an auto-reply or forwarding on your Yale email account please review our graduating students FAQ.
For students graduating during the spring 2019 semester, coverage ends on July 31, 2019. Students graduating at a different time should contact the Yale Health Member Services Department [firstname.lastname@example.org, (203) 432-0246] to determine coverage end dates.
If your new health insurance coverage will not start until later in the spring, summer, or fall of 2019 (e.g., you graduate in May 2019 and are not starting work immediately on or before July 31, 2019), you may wish to consider short-term coverage. The Office of Student Affairs has provided very basic information about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as well as alternate short term coverage providers.
The Yale Health Member Services Department is available to assist with questions about how to transition your health insurance to another provider. They can be reached at email@example.com or (203) 432-0246. Please contact Yale Health or the coverage providers directly to explore your options.
For more information about Yale Health coverage please see the Yale Health web site.
As YLS alumni, graduating students will continue to have access to the Law Library to study or prepare for the bar exam; however borrowing, scanning, and delivery privileges will end August 31, 2019 (other campus library borrowing privileges end three months after graduation). VPN access for graduated students will cease October 1, 2019.
Student access to Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg will end at various times over the summer and fall.
Westlaw: Graduating students may extend their access while studying for the bar by registering for the Grad Elite program. Registered students will retain Westlaw Edge and Practical Law access for 60 hours per month through November 30, 2019. For questions and assistance, please contact our Westlaw representative, Holly Rush.
Lexis Advance: Automatic extension of access for graduates through December 31, 2019. Please note, 3L graduates have until 11:59 PM CDT on June 30th to redeem their Lexis Rewards points. For questions and assistance, please contact our LexisNexis representative, Kauther Badr.
Bloomberg: Graduating students will have unlimited and unrestricted Bloomberg access for 6 months following graduation.
Even though alumni no longer have access to the Law Library’s databases, the Law Library has secured free access to HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library of more that 1,800 law and law-related periodicals. Alumni will also have access to JSTOR’s extensive collection of online scholarly materials thanks to the Association of Yale Alumni.
The reference librarians are also available to help with research and reference questions in person, via email, or over the phone at 203-432-1606.
Please clean out your locker following graduation. After that time, the contents will be donated or discarded.