Friday, October 30, 2015

Steve Lindsay ’17

I decided to attend Yale Law School largely on the basis of two considerations. The first consideration was the faculty at Yale. I came in with an interest in public law, constitutional law, statutory interpretation, legislation. And Yale just had a faculty that was producing the most interesting and the most impactful scholarship in those areas. In addition to the quality of the scholarship, I also found the Yale faculty very accessible, which for me was a very important part of the law school decision. I was able to speak to, I think, three different faculty members even before I made the decision to come to Yale Law School. Since I’ve been here, all of those considerations have proven to be verified. The second consideration was the Federalist Society here at Yale Law School. So the Federalist Society is a national organization of law students and legal professionals who are trying to create greater intellectual diversity in the legal profession by incorporating more conservative and libertarian viewpoints. And the Yale chapter was just particularly intellectually vibrant. They were the only chapter I saw that had a regular reading group that was addressing each week contemporary legal issues. It was the chapter that had the most speakers coming in who were academically oriented. And it was the only chapter I knew that had regular internal debates. And I think given the kind of community I wanted that would be very idea-oriented, Yale in general and the Yale Federalist Society seemed like the best fit for me.

Right now I’m the vice president of events for the Yale Federalist Society so along with one other student we work together to try and bring really interesting, provocative speakers on a wide variety of issues to the law school to present points of view that otherwise may not be heard in the classroom. So this fall we have fifteen different events lined up. We love to do debates and discussions, so oftentimes we’ll host an outside speaker along with a Yale faculty member in order to try and get both points of view out on the table and allow students at the law school to make their choice on what they find to be the most compelling arguments.

Everyone at Yale Law School in their first term has to take an introductory constitutional law course, and I took mine with Professor Akhil Amar. And Professor Amar’s enthusiasm for studying and understanding the constitution was really infectious and got me much more interested in the document as well. And I’ve also been taking additional classes beyond that one because Yale offers a bunch of advanced constitutional law classes. Outside of the classroom, I’ve been in constitutional law by doing research with professors. So last spring I researched federalism issues with Professor Heather Gerken, and I found she had a very provocative thesis, and I found the topic very interesting. It was, I think, a great experience to try to get knee-deep into the scholarship right now happening in constitutional law.

A student perspective on the Federalist Society and constitutional law at Yale Law School.