Thursday, November 14, 2019

Graduate Programs LL.M. Informational Webinar

[Slide 1 – with the title and shield of YLS]

Allegra di Bonaventura:
Welcome, everyone, to Yale Law School’s LLM Informational Webinar.

We are delighted to have you join us today to learn more about Yale Law School and the LLM program, in particular. My name is Allegra di Bonaventura, and I am the Associate Director of Graduate Programs here at Yale Law School, and I would like to introduce my colleague, Maria Dino, Director of Graduate Programs, who will be providing a PowerPoint presentation for us today with lots of useful information about the LLM program, Yale Law School and the application process.

Towards the end of the presentation, we will provide you with an email address that you can use to contact us if you have any additional questions, and we will be happy to respond to those directly via email.

Now let’s turn to my colleague, Maria Dino, Director of Graduate Programs, for today’s presentation.

[Slide 2: photo of YLS courtyard]

Maria Dino:
Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening to everyone!

We appreciate your interest in Yale Law School and are delighted that you have joined us for today’s webinar!

As Allegra mentioned, I will provide a brief overview of the Master of Laws program at Yale Law School, talk a bit about student life, and go over the LLM application requirements. 

So let’s get started!
We are coming to you from New Haven, Connecticut, and this is a view of the Yale Law School courtyard on a lovely summer day!

[Slide 3: Location, photo with aerial view]

Yale Law School is located on the central campus of Yale University and the Law School occupies a city block in downtown New Haven.

New Haven is a coastal city on Long Island Sound within the state of Connecticut – in the New England region of the United States.  It is about 1.5 hours from New York City and 2.5 hours from Boston, Massachusetts.

The Law School is a professional school within Yale and is part of the University’s 410-acre campus with vast resources and facilities.  This includes a library system with holdings of almost 15 million volumes and the largest gymnasium in the world.

[Slide 4: “Studying Law at YLS”; photo of YLS students in class]

What is the LLM study of law at Yale about?

[Slide 5: “Studying Law”; photo of Dean Gerken]

Yale’s LLM program is intended specifically for individuals planning a career in law teaching and legal scholarship.

On this slide is Dean Heather Gerken, a legal scholar whose subject areas of expertise include constitutional law, federalism, and election law.  She is the first woman to serve as Dean of Yale Law School and was appointed in July 2017.

[Slide 6: “Studying Law”; photo of Dean Gerken]

At Yale Law School, we have almost 200 course offerings taught by more than 60 full-time faculty and dozens of visiting professors and lecturers.

With an average class size under 25 students, LLM students can actively participate and engage with their professors and fellow students.

Our LLM students take classes with JD students.  There is no separate track, faculty or curriculum designed for the LLM program at Yale.

In addition to taking regular courses and advanced seminars with JD students, the LLMs can do independent research and writing under the supervision of a Yale Law School professor on a topic of their own choosing.

LLMs can also organize and direct reading groups.  They put together a syllabus and with the sponsorship of a faculty member, lead the reading group that is open to all students during the semester.

Through the years, our LLM students have organized at least one reading group in the spring semester.  A few years ago, there were two LLM-organized reading groups: one on the EU’s GDPR, and the other on Women, Law, and Cinema.

Another special feature of the LLM program at Yale is the Graduate Seminar during the fall semester.  Once a week, the LLM students meet with a Yale Law School professor to sample and become familiar with the wide variety, range, and methods of scholarship by current Yale Law faculty.

It is a unique and valuable opportunity to become acquainted and actively engage with a professor’s current research interests and work in progress.

Below are some of the Yale Law School professors who actively work with LLM students.  You might recognize some of their names and faces.  From left to right:  Professors Jack Balkin, Susan Rose-Ackerman, Harold Koh, Oona Hathaway, Robert Post, Lea Brilmayer, Owen Fiss, Reva Siegel, Bruce Ackerman, and Issa Kohler-Hausmann to name a few.

[Slide 7: “Studying Law”; curriculum bullet points]

The LLM at Yale is a one-year (two-semester long) program of study and is completely elective.  Students design their own program of study based on their background, subject areas of interest, and goals.

We require a minimum of 24 units of credit, 18 of which must in regular course and seminar offerings.

LLM students can do up to 6 units of credit of independent supervised research with a particular professor.  Typically, the student proposes a paper topic or research question or issue, and the student and professor agree on the nature, scope and length of the paper, as well as the number of units of credit for the supervised research.

LLM students are also allowed to take up to 6 units of credit in other departments and schools at Yale.  A number of LLMs take courses in Political Science, Economics, History, Philosophy, Sociology and Anthropology departments within the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. They also take classes at the School of Management, the School of Public Health, the Divinity School, and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

If you would like more information on Yale’s course offerings, we invite you to visit our website.

[Slide 8: “Studying Law”; photo of Justice Sotomayor]

In addition to the robust and rigorous academic offerings, Yale Law School also has a wide array of co-curricular events, programs, and workshops that enrich and enhance the intellectual life of the Law School community.  There are special events hosted by the Law School that bring distinguished guests and notable speakers to campus.  On this slide, you might recognize Justice Sonia Sotomayor of the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Sotomayor is an alumna of Yale Law School.

[Slide 9: “Studying Law”;]

Listed here are a few of the Centers, Programs, and Workshops at Yale Law School. From the Paul Tsai China Law Center to the Legal Theory Workshop, the Legal History Forum to the Information Society Project, the Schell Center for International Human Rights to the Center for the Study of Corporate Law (and everything in between!), there are numerous ways to gain a broader and deeper understanding of various fields within law, and to supplement and complement classroom learning.

[Slide 10: “Student Life at YLS”; photo of students sitting in courtyard]

As you can see, Yale Law School is a vibrant and dynamic community of scholars and students. So what is student life like at Yale?

[Slide 11: “Student Life”; photo of student snowball fight]

For one, it can be fun! Here’s a snowball fight that started in the courtyard on a snowy winter day.  The students are taking a study break and enjoying themselves at the same time.

Student life at Yale is also diverse and interesting.  With over 50 official student organizations and 9 student journals, there are lots of ways to get to know fellow students (JDs, LLMs, JSDs, and PhDs) and be involved. 

The Graduate Programs Office also sponsors and hosts numerous social and co-curricular events throughout the academic year.  These include the annual day trip to Litchfield (in the northwest hills of Connecticut) to visit the first law school in America; the Doctoral Scholarship Conference (which brings together doctoral candidates and emerging scholars from all over the world for intellectual exchange and discourse); the Movie Night Series where LLM students have an opportunity to introduce a film from their home country or region and then lead a discussion after the movie screening; and the WIPS (the works in progress symposium) where LLM students can present a paper they are writing at Yale in a public setting where they receive comments from a YLS Professor and fellow graduate students.  The goal of WIPS is to provide constructive feedback to the authors so they can produce a paper of publishable quality that they can submit to U.S. law journals after the LLM.

[Slide 12: “Student Life”; list of orgs and journals]

Here are some examples of the student organizations and journals at Yale Law School.  From Yale Law Women to the Federalist Society, from the Yale Journal of Law and Technology to Habeas Chorus, from OutLaws to the Yale Journal of International Law, there are lots to choose from and join.

[Slide 13: “Student Life”; photo of Broadway sidewalk]

Outside of the Law School, LLM students also enjoy and participate in events around the university and in New Haven.  From theater to music to sports to art to volunteer opportunities, there are many ways to pursue work/life balance at Yale and in New Haven. 

New Haven is a small and lively city of about 100,000 residents and offers lots of cultural and recreational attractions.  There are plays at Yale Rep and the School of Drama, concerts at Sprague Hall at the School of Music and Woolsey Hall, fitness, yoga, and dance classes at Payne-Whitney gym, hockey games at the Ingalls Rink, and special exhibits at world-renowned museums of art and natural history to name a few.

A number of LLMs also volunteer in the New Haven community.  Some have served meals at local soup kitchens and others have been reading tutors to elementary schoolchildren. 

New Haven is easy to navigate.  It’s fun, friendly, and affordable! There is an impressive array of restaurants for every budget, bookstores, clubs, movies, parks, and a waterfront—all within an easy walk or bike ride from the Yale campus.

So you might be wondering, where do the LLM students live?  New Haven is a city of distinct neighborhoods from the Green downtown to East Rock to Wooster Square, there are plenty of off-campus housing options available to LLM students—many within walking distance of the Law School.

[Slide 14: “Baker Hall”]

And for the LLM students interested in living on campus… With the opening of Baker Hall last year, residential living is now back at Yale Law School!

[Slide 14: “Rooms at Baker”]

There are one and two-bedroom suites featuring modern, apartment-style living options available during the academic year.  With additional classroom space, including a lecture theater, three seminar classrooms, and break-out spaces, Baker Hall is designed to also serve as an academic and social hub, creating a more dynamic and immersive educational experience for our community.  Many of our current LLM students live in Baker Hall.  Located just across the street from Sterling (the main Law School building), it is a very convenient and short walk to classes and the Law Library.

[Slide 15: “Applying to Yale Law School” – library reading room]

Speaking of the Yale Law Library, this is a view of the Main Reading Room.  It is a beautiful space in which to study, research, write, reflect, and think. We now turn to the LLM application requirements and process.

[Slide 16: “Applying” – bullet points]

To apply, applicants must have received, or expect to receive, a first degree in law by the summer before they start the LLM program.

Yale Law School only admits once a year for entry in the fall.  The application deadline is December 1.  We do not have rolling admissions.  We make decisions at the same time—typically in early to mid-March.

All LLM applications are made online through the Law School Admission Council’s electronic application.  All application materials must be submitted directly to LSAC.  You will find the link to Yale’s LLM application and answers to frequently asked questions on our website.

[Slide 17: “Applying” – transcripts, letters of rec, TOEFL,,,]

Here are the LLM application requirements:

Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended: if transcripts are not in English, we will need certified translations and both original and translated versions must be submitted to LSAC.

Letters of recommendation: we require two and will accept up to four maximum.

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language, we require a minimum total score of 100 on the iBT (internet-based test) with a score of at least 25 on the four subsections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.  Applicants who have at least a four-year degree from the U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Singapore or Canada (in English medium of instruction schools) may request a waiver of the TOEFL.

Essay Questions: These are two separate essays. A personal statement cannot be used as a substitute for these two essays.  The first is about your scholarly research agenda.  The second question asks how an LLM program would advance your professional aspirations and goals.

Application fee paid through LSAC when the application is submitted electronically.

[Slide 18: “Applying” – photo of 3 students in class]

In addition to the LLM application requirements, a frequently asked question is: how does one finance the LLM study at Yale?

Yale Law School only offers need-based financial aid to all admitted applicants.  Financial aid is calculated based solely on demonstrated financial need.

Our LLM admission process is need-blind.  At the time of application to the LLM program, Yale Law School neither asks nor requires any financial-related information or materials from its applicants.  Financial aid applications are submitted only after admission to the LLM program. 

Financial aid applications are reviewed separately after the offer of admission.  Awards are made only on the basis of demonstrated financial need.

[Slide 18: Walter (aka Handsome Dan)]

If you have questions about Yale’s LLM program after this webinar, would like to come and visit the Law School, or schedule an appointment to meet with a staff member in the Graduate Programs Office, please email the address on the screen and someone from our office will get back to you.

This concludes my webinar presentation…I hope this was helpful in giving you an OVERVIEW of the LLM program and a sense of the community and culture at Yale Law School ….Thank you again for your interest in Yale’s LLM program.          

[Slide 18: Nighttime view of YLS courtyard]

Allegra di Bonaventura:
Thank you, Maria, for the very informative presentation.

Now we will conclude our webinar by saying how pleased we are that you joined us today. We do hope you enjoyed learning about Yale Law School and its LLM program.

Thank you for attending, and we wish you all the best as you consider your future plans. Now we say goodbye from New Haven!

Maria Dino:

Learn about the LL.M. program at Yale Law School.