Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dane Thorley ’17

My path is a little indirect because I'm also doing a PhD down at Columbia. I started in 2012-- this is, at this point, five years ago, did my first year of law school at Columbia, and then during the course of doing my two years of coursework for the PhD, I had decided that I really wanted to focus on becoming a legal academic, and was talking to professors-- even at Columbia, and I had a fantastic experience at Columbia. It wasn't because I didn't enjoy Columbia, but there was just a sense that, and now, I understand why, that Yale would really be the place to be if I wanted to be an academic, particularly one that focused on experiments and empirical work like I do.

And I am in charge of the parents' branch of our older, wiser, law students group, and so we organize events. Sometimes, just for families and kids, sometimes events trying to help people who are going to start families, informational events. We've had alums come in and talk about why it might be a good idea-- if you know you're going to have kids, why it might be a good idea to start having kids in law school, even though that may seem kind of crazy. I think it's a good idea.

I also am part of a religious organization, the Mormon LDS group here at Yale. This isn't a Yale Law School group, but I play rugby for the Yale grad school team, which is open. I had never played rugby before this year. I just saw them on one of the student group fairs, and I thought I would come out. It was a lot of fun. It's a fun group.

And I remember, pretty early on my first semester here, I was working on a paper, and was going to a conference in Washington, DC, and I wanted to practice my presentation. And so, I mentioned that there's this listserv at Yale, called The Wall, and it's really the most functional listserv I've ever seen. And I just posted, I barely knew anybody outside of the other transfer students. And I said, hey I'm presenting this paper, it's an empirical piece. You know if anybody has any time, I'd love to kind of do a mock presentation and get your feedback. I had like six people show up. I didn't know these people, right? They didn't know me, but they came, and not only did they listen to the presentation, but they understood it, and they had feedback. Half of them had experience in empirics, and the other half had experience in the substantive topic I was talking about.

It was just such a-- one, great preparation for the conference. I made some changes that I think were good, that I was able to implement in the conference. And two, it was an hour. I mean, we spent an hour there, it was like on a Tuesday night. I didn't know anybody, and they just showed up, and were willing to spend that time with me. And some of those people have become good friends, and it was really nice to know, right from the beginning, that this was an environment where you could do that kind of thing, and expect help and responses that easily. And it just set a really good tone for me for the rest of the time I've been here.

A student perspective on being a transfer student, law teaching, and student organizations at Yale Law School.