Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Asaf Lubin, JSD candidate

I remember this vividly: It was a Tuesday at 10 pm when I got the call from Maria Dino, the director of graduate programs here at the law school, informing me that I was selected. At 10:05, the conversation ended. I said very little during that conversation. And at 10:06, I ran to the internet to check what the area code for New Haven was because I was so in disbelief about being accepted. And at 10:07 my decision was made to come here. So, asking ‘how did you decide to choose Yale,’ well, once Yale chose me, the decision was made for me. Yale is in its own league in terms of an academic institution, and it’s a privilege every day to walk through the halls of this school, both in terms of the kind of people who walked the halls before me and in terms of the interactions that I’ve made with faculty and the student body. Yale is the best law school in this country.

Yale is not considered by most, I think, who apply as the beacon of international legal studies, considering other academic institutions in this country. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Yale has both the best faculty in this field—people like Professor Michael Reisman, Professor Oona Hathaway, Harold Koh, who was the legal advisor to the State Department. They bring in this immense legal knowledge. Then you have this robust opportunities and centers that the Yale Law School provides. You have the Information Society Project, you have the Center for Global Legal Challenges, you have the Schell Center for International Human Rights Law, the National Security Group, the Yale Society for International Law, the list is endless. And they bring in these practitioners, so you can choose on every given day a lunch talk or a dinner talk with these people, all doing the kind of work you’re interested in. So just this week, they brought in Robert Litt, who is the legal counsel for the office of the Director of National Intelligence. Just the opportunity to interact with him on the topics that I’m most fascinated by is great.

One thing that students maybe don’t consider is the importance of a good library. And Yale Law School’s library is one of the best that I’ve ever entered and the librarians are the best I’ve had a chance to encounter. There hasn’t been a single legal source that I’ve wanted that I couldn’t find. There were legal sources that I didn’t even think of that were found for me.

The LLM program at Yale Law School is one of the smallest in the country. They accept on average 25 students. More broadly, the JD program is also very small. And that allows for classroom mentality to look completely different than some other classrooms that I’ve attended back home. For example, I took a course on International Criminal Law in my LLM year, which had the professor and four students in the class. It is such a small, intimate environment. That is, on the one hand, really frightening because if you’re not prepared, it will show. But on the other hand, it allows you for an opportunity to interact with faculty, who are all immensely qualified in what they’re doing, on a one-to-one almost level, and I think that that is a huge component of why Yale Law School’s legal education is so unique and something you gain a lot from by choosing to come here specifically.

A student perspective on graduate programs, national security law, and the library at Yale Law School.