Friday, June 10, 2016
C.J.W. Baaij ’15, JSD candidate
Yale Law School really helped develop my research interests and goals. I came here to expand my research on European contract law and take a more international approach and also to focus more on private law theory. And I was really able to accomplish that. But I think more importantly is that Yale Law School really helps you advance your critical way of thinking about the law and putting law in a broader context of society. That really helps you frame the debate in innovative ways. So in that general sense, I think Yale Law School really helps someone’s scholarship.
I think the best experience at Yale Law School is simply the class experience. Most courses are small seminars, where you sit around a wooden table with five to ten or twenty students and one or more members of the faculty, and you really engage in the subject matter and really engage with your fellow students and the professor. So you cannot sit in the back of the class and hide behind someone and be invisible. You really need to be involved. I think that’s an unparalleled academic experience that Yale has to offer and not many other schools.
Back home in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, I teach law, mainly in private law and law and language. In The Netherlands, there’s a lot of attention for the “law and…” approach—law and society, law and philosophy, law and psychology, etc. I think American legal education is really a great place to be to really develop that. And I think Yale Law School is one of the schools where you can really pursue that goal. I think there’s no other place that approaches law from a step back, from a meta level or a higher-order analysis. So you have law, you put it in the context of society, but then take a further step back and analyze that relationship from yet another context, and they really help you shape your thinking and approaching law in different ways.
A student perspective on the graduate programs and law teaching at Yale Law School.