Alumni Share Insights in Bicentennial Video Series

a grid of six headshots of alumni

They’ve forged paths in very different fields of law, but these six alumni have one thing in common: they were indelibly shaped by their time at Yale Law School — and, in turn, they shaped the School.

In honor of the Law School’s bicentennial celebrations, a new video interview series explores some of our distinguished alumni’s stories, and the many ways they continue to give back to the institution they once called home.


Cory Booker ’97

Cory Booker ’97, a U.S. senator for New Jersey, discusses the ways Yale Law School launched his political career and taught him to make connections across the aisle. 

“What I loved about Yale was there wasn’t a reflexive partisanship. These were people who had deeply thought-out ideas and beliefs. [The] community when I was there [was] willing to listen, to grapple and engage with an idea — you weren’t just arguing or differing with somebody for difference’s sake. I knew I could learn as much from the people who agreed with me, if not more from the people that disagreed with me. That experience at Yale still serves me now dealing with my colleagues across the aisle and finding common ground to get big pieces of legislation actually done.”


Guido Calabresi ’58

Guido Calabresi ’58, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law, former Dean, and alumnus, speaks poignantly about his decades at the Law School and deep love for the community.

Calabresi described Yale Law School’s “workshop culture,” which starts with healthy debate between faculty and spreads to students. Calabresi used to tell new students that once admitted to the Law School, they could “get off the treadmill.”

“Most of these students had been working desperately to get to something like Yale Law School, [but] now they didn’t need to worry about that anymore and had three years in which they could just compete with themselves, take chances, and maybe fall, but occasionally do something that really matters,” he’d tell them. “A great place that trains leaders must train people who are not just excellent, but loving, kind, humane, and good. And that if I had some part of creating a place that has made that possible, that would be a darn good legacy.”


Frank Jimenez ’91

Frank Jimenez ’91, Vice President and General Counsel of GE HealthCare, talks about the support he found at Yale Law School, and why he “can’t get enough” of the School even 33 years after graduating.

“These relationships that you form while on campus will be some of the most important relationships that you’ll have for the rest of your life, and they will be with some of the most remarkable people you will ever meet in your life,” said Jimenez. “So don’t take that for granted. With that growing appreciation of just how special it is — that comes with a desire to not just preserve it, but to enhance it, so that this family can continue to grow for years and decades and centuries to come, and never lose that special distinction.”


Leondra Kruger ’01

Leondra Kruger ’01, an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of California, speaks about how Yale prepared her for a service-oriented career in which she gets to think deeply about the law — and build communities of care.

“One of the greatest assets of the Yale Law School is really your fellow students. My first day at law school, the first class I ever had was with Guido Calabresi, and his final words of a speech I will never forget—he encouraged us to look around the room at the other students and to love each other, love each other and look after each other. Those were words that I’ve remembered ever since,” said Kruger.


My Khanh Ngo ’17

My Khanh Ngo ’17, a Staff Attorney at the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, recounts her clinical work on the 2017 travel ban and how experiential education both shaped her interest in and prepared her for a career in public interest law.

“Yale’s clinical model does put a lot of faith in the students. We are the ones who lead the strategy, [and] we are the ones who dictate how things go, for better or worse. I look back on that and I’m sure that I wouldn’t be doing public interest law without having that experience,” said Ngo.


Nabiha Syed ’10

Nabiha Syed ’10, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation and former Chief Executive Officer of The Markup, describes how Yale Law School gave her the freedom to pursue a nonlinear legal career path.

“The magic of Yale Law School was not learning individual cases, it was giving you the tools to understand what was happening right now, situate it in history, and then feel confident that you could change the future,” said Syed. “Infinite possibility is what makes Yale Law School so special… Yale is a place that tells you every step of the way that anything is possible. Why not try it?”