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Yale Law School

From lawbrain.com

Yale Law School is consistently rated as one of the highest, if not the highest, ranked law schools in the country. Yale Law School has taken unique approaches to its legal education, including, but certainly not limited to, doing away with grade point averages during the 1L year.



Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Yale Law School has a long history, tracing back to a legal practitioner, Seth Staples, who hosted students in his New Haven law office in the early 19th century. Years later, a law school would develop out of this law office – the New Haven School of Law.

In the mid-nineteenth century the New Haven School of Law became associated with Yale College. By the end of the century Yale’s school of law would begin to be taken seriously as more investment in and development of its programs progressed. Early on, Yale Law School focused much of its effort on excelling in public and international law. It continues that focus, along with other disciplines, today.

Yale Law School hosts 678 students from 48 states and 31 different countries.[1] Only 6.7% of applicants are accepted at Yale Law School, but of that 6.7%, 80% of accepted applicants choose to enroll.

The Class of 2013 has a median LSAT score of 173 and a median GPA of 3.91. Only 20% of students from the Class of 2013 are coming directly from undergraduate study. The Class of 2013 is represented by applicants hailing from 69 different undergraduate institutions.[2]

As far as diversity of the student body is concerned, nearly 48% of the class is comprised of women and nearly 28% from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups.[3]

The cost of postgraduate education can be high, and Yale is no exception. Tuition at Yale Law School for 2010-2011 (J.D. Program) was $48,500 with administrative and activity fees of $2,250. Room and board, as well as personal expenses, were estimated to be $16,700, with an additional $1,100 budgeted for books and $1,900 for university hospitalization coverage.[4] Yale, however, does offer a well-endowed loan repayment assistance program, known as the Career Options Assistance Program (COAP), to help manage the burden of legal education expenses.[5]

In exchange for that expense, Yale Law School offers four different degrees, including J.D., LL.M., J.S.D., and M.S.L, as well as a number of joint degree programs such as J.D./M.B.A., J.D./Ph.D., and J.D./M.A. Yale Law School also offers over 180 different courses of instruction each year, specializing in areas of public interest law, business and corporate law, and international law. While first year students are required to take four different courses, those courses are ungraded (receiving only honors, pass, or low pass assessments).[6] The next two and half years worth of schooling are all elective courses, subject, of course, to the school’s graduation requirements.[7]

In addition to operating a number of Clinics, Yale Law School fosters its academic community by supporting over 30 workshops, centers, and programs dedicated to various, but specific, topics of academic interest. These offerings not only extend the curriculum offered at the school, but also help support research efforts and really help get the student body involved in the various efforts the programs seek to address.[8]

Yale Law School also hosts a large and wide-ranging variety of student-led organizations. In addition, elected Student Representatives are elected each year to serve on faculty committees and offer input in faculty deliberations.[9]

Yale Law Students can also try to participate on one of its many law journals, listed as follows:

  • The Yale Law Journal
  • Yale Law & Policy Review
  • Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
  • Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities
  • Yale Journal of International Law
  • Yale Journal on Regulation
  • Yale Human Rights & Development Journal
  • Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics
  • Yale Journal of Law and Technology


Yale Law School is considered a premier law school and is consistently ranked very high, if not first, on many law school ranking lists. Of course, rankings are vitally important to not only a school but also its students and alumni. Schools continually seek to improve their standing on the various lists and know that rankings are a big part of why students choose to attend a school. Students seek out highly-ranked schools to improve their employment prospects, and alumni appreciate graduating from schools with high rankings for their future career development. It also goes without saying that a high ranking affords a certain amount of arrogance, or even feelings of superiority over others, often assumed by schools, students, and graduates. For its part, Yale Law School is ranked first not only by U.S. News and World Report but also by Top-Law-Schools.com.[10]

What They Are Saying

Yale Law School recently opened a new clinic on professional ethics – said to be “the first of its kind in the nation.”[11]

Yale Law School hosts 70 full-time faculty members and 50 on a part-time basis. Yale Law faculty members are very involved in their interests through the school’s extensive centers, programs, and workshop offerings. The average class size is about twenty students, and Yale Law School boasts one of the lowest student to faculty ratios around – 7.3:1.[12]


Yale Law students were in the news several years ago for filing suit against persons who made explicit and derogatory posts about them on an online law school message board.[13]

Yale Law School was also known for fighting to restrict military recruiters from its job fairs on the basis of the Pentagon’s policy of not allowing openly-gay service members to serve in the armed forces.[14]

Notable Professors

Yale Law School is home to many notable professors. A small sampling is as follows:

  • Akhil Amar - constitutional law scholar, writer for The West Wing
  • Jack M. Balkin - Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment
  • Drew S. Days, III - former United States Solicitor General
  • Jonathan R. Macey - corporate law/scholar

Notable Alumni

Yale Law School has seen many of its alumni go on to work in high levels of government, industry, and the judiciary. A small selection of notable alumni is as follows:

  • Former United States President Bill Clinton
  • Former United States Senator and current United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito
  • United States Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas


  1. http://www.law.yale.edu/about/fastfacts.htm
  2. http://www.law.yale.edu/admissions/profile.htm
  3. http://www.law.yale.edu/about/fastfacts.htm
  4. http://www.law.yale.edu/admissions/costs.htm
  5. http://www.law.yale.edu/admissions/COAP.htm
  6. http://www.law.yale.edu/academics/jdprogram.htm
  7. http://www.law.yale.edu/academics/jdrequirements.htm
  8. http://www.law.yale.edu/intellectuallife/intellectuallife.htm
  9. http://www.law.yale.edu/studentlife/StudentOrganizations.htm
  10. http://www.top-law-schools.com/rankings.html
  11. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/mar/03/yale-opens-pioneer-ethics-clinic/
  12. http://www.law.yale.edu/about/fastfacts.htm
  13. http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2007/nov/12/law-students-sue-authors-of-online-posts/
  14. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/01/nyregion/01yale.html


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