Thursday, March 9, 2017

Paul Rink ’18

So I'm interested in environmental law, particularly as it relates to climate change and environmental justice. And at Yale, I've had a lot of opportunities to pursue that interest, above and beyond my legal coursework. Yale is very flexible in what kind of classes you can take. After your first semester, you have pretty much unbridled freedom to look at other courses. And you can take courses at other schools, including the forestry school, but also undergrad courses or courses at other professional schools-- like the business school or public health, in order to pursue interests. And I've been lucky enough to take several cross-listed courses with the forestry school. And I'm currently applying to be a joint degree program student at the forestry school. And that's been something that's really enhanced my academic and professional pursuits at Yale Law School. And I wouldn't trade that for anything. I think other schools, while they might have similar programs, don't give as much freedom for students to basically choose their own course load.

So if I'm being completely honest, financial aid was the biggest consideration of all of the considerations I had when I was looking at law schools. And Yale Law School's is far and away the best. And I've done my research. A lot of loan repayment programs, for people who are interested in public interest work like myself-- because environmental work related to the law is admirable and I'm very excited about it, but it doesn't pay as well as other opportunities in the private sector. As I'm sure you can imagine. So there was a concern for me going to any law school, in terms of the cost. How would I be able to repay it back with the career I'm looking at?

And most law schools provide some loan repayment program, where they'll help you repay loans contingent on what kind of job you take after law school. Is it related to the public interest? So did I take an environmental job related to law? Am I using my law degree? In what capacity? Sometimes, loan repayment programs have a list of organizations or job opportunities that you can take that qualify you for this repayment program. But Yale is different in that all you have to do is be employed, and you will get loan repayment. And it's based solely on your ability to pay back your loans, given your income. Not based on what kind of job you've taken after school.

I am interested in writing. I think I really like writing for advocacy. So academic writing interests me to an extent, but only in so far as it has a wider impact. And I've been able to pursue that to an extent while I've been here. But I'm also interested in writing about the law in other venues as well. So I took a class last semester called Art of Arguments. In which we learned how to take our legal expertise and our ability to do legal research, and use it in an Op Ed format. And learning about that avenue of advocacy was very interesting to me as someone who just really likes to write and use that skill to pursue interests. And to advocate for things that I think are important. 

A student perspective on financial aid and environmental law at Yale Law School.