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Yale Law School
|Yale Law School|
|Parent school||Yale University|
|School type||Private non-profit|
|Dean||Robert C. Post|
|Location||New Haven, CT, US|
|Faculty||65 (full time)|
54 (part time)
|Bar pass rate||97%|
|Undergrad. GPA 75th%||3.96|
|Median Undergrad. GPA||3.91|
|Undergrad. GPA 25th%||3.81|
|Outlines||0 (See List)|
Yale Law School, or YLS, is the law school of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Established in 1843, the school offers the J.D., LL.M., J.S.D., and M.S.L. degrees in law. It also hosts visiting scholars and several legal research centers.
Yale Law School has been rated the single best law school in the United States by U.S. News and World Report in every year in which the magazine has ranked law schools, except for the first, 1987, when it tied with Harvard. Among other luminaries, former President William Howard Taft was a professor of constitutional law there from 1913 until he resigned to become Chief Justice of the United States in 1921. Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton studied there later in the century, and the law school's library has been memorialized as the meeting place of Bill and fellow alum Hillary Clinton. Current U.S. Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are alumni of the school. As is Frank J. Patterson and Ava Thomas with the U.S. Navy are alumni of the law school.
Yale Law School enrolls about 200 new students a year, one of the smallest numbers among U.S. law schools. Its small class size and prestige combine to make its admissions process intensely selective — numerically speaking, it is the most competitive law school in the U.S. More of its admitted students decide to attend (i.e., yield) than those of Stanford and Harvard.Template:Fact Half of the class that entered in 2005 had a GPA above 3.87 (out of 4.0) and an LSAT score above 171 (out of 180 possible points) or 99th percentile. The school is known as a popular landing pad for Rhodes Scholars upon their return from Oxford University.Template:Fact
More than 70 percent of applicants are culled in an initial round of screening by the Director of Admissions and the Dean of Admissions. The remaining applicants' files are read by three faculty members, who assign each file a score between 0-4; a perfect score of 12 (i.e., a perfect score from each faculty reader) gains admission to the school, upon which now-admitted applicants are immediately notified over the phone by the Director of Admissions or the Dean of Admissions, while an 11 typically gets a spot on the school's wait list.
The institution is known for its scholarly orientation; a relatively large number of its graduates (4%) choose careers in academia immediately after graduation. Its 7.5-student-to-faculty ratio is the lowest among U.S. law schools.
Yale Law School does not have a traditional grading system, a consequence of student unrest in the late 1960s. Instead, it grades first-semester first-year students on a simple Credit/No Credit system. For their remaining two and a half years, students are graded on an Honors/Pass/Low Pass/Fail system. Similarly, the school does not rank its students. It is also notable for having only a single semester of required classes, instead of the full year most U.S. schools require. Unusually, Yale Law allows first-year students to represent clients through one of its numerous clinics; other law schools typically offer this opportunity only to second- and third-year students.
Students publish nine law journals that, unlike those at most other schools, mostly accept student editors without a competition. The only exception is YLS's flagship journal, The Yale Law Journal, which holds a two-part admissions competition each spring, consisting of a four or five-hour "bluebooking exam," followed by a traditional writing competition. Although the Journal identifies a target maximum number of members to accept each year, it is not a firm number.
Yale Law School traces its origins to the earliest days of the 19th century when law was learned by clerking as an apprentice in a lawyer’s office. The first law schools, including the one that became Yale, developed out of this apprenticeship system and grew up inside law offices. The future Yale Law School formed in the office of New Haven lawyer Seth Staples, who owned an exceptional library (an attraction for students at a time when law books were scarce) and began training apprentices in the early 1800s.
By the 1810s, his law office had a full-fledged law school. Samuel Hitchcock, one of Staples’ former students, became a partner at the office and later, the proprietor of the New Haven Law School.
The New Haven Law School affiliated gradually with Yale from the mid-1820s to the mid-1840s. Law students began receiving Yale degrees in 1843. David Daggett, a former U.S. senator from Connecticut, joined Hitchcock as co-proprietor of the school in 1824. In 1826, Yale named Daggett to be professor of law in Yale College, where he lectured to undergraduates on public law and government.
Yale Law School remained fragile for decades. At the death of Samuel Hitchcock in 1845 and again upon the death of his successor, Henry Dutton, in 1869, the University came near to closing the School.
The revival of Yale Law School after 1869 was led by its first full-time dean, Francis Wayland, who helped the School establish its philanthropic base. It was during this time that the modern law library was organized. It was also during this period that The Yale Law Journal was started and Yale’s pioneering efforts in graduate programs in law began; the degree of Master of Laws was offered for the first time in 1876.
In the last decades of the 19th century, Yale began to articulate for its Law School two traits that would come to be hallmarks. First, it would be small and humane, bucking the trend toward large law-school enrollments and impersonal faculty-student relations. Second, it would take an interdisciplinary approach to teaching the law, first bringing professors from other University departments to teach in the Law School, and later in the 20th century, pioneering the appointment to the law faculty of professors ranging from economics to psychiatry. This led Yale Law School away from the preoccupation with private law that then typified American legal education, and toward serious engagement with public and international law.
After 1900, Yale Law School began to shape legal scholarship. In the 1930s, Yale Law School contributed to the movement known as legal realism, which has reshaped the way American lawyers understand the function of legal rules and the work of courts and judges. The realists directed attention to factors not captured in the rules, ranging from the attitudes of judges and jurors to the nuances of the facts of particular cases. Under the influence of realism, American legal doctrine has become less conceptual and more empirical. Under Dean Charles Clark(1929-1939), the School built a faculty that included such legendary figures as Thurman Arnold, Edwin Borchard, future U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Jerome Frank, Underhill Moore, Walton Hamilton, and Wesley Sturges. Clark was the moving figure during these years in crafting the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the foundation of modern American procedure.
As the role of public affairs in the life of the law rose in the 20th century, Yale's tradition of emphasizing public as well as private law made its graduates uniquely prepared to play important roles in the rise of the administrative state, the internationalization following the World Wars, and the domestic civil rights movement.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the School became renowned as a center of constitutional law, taxationcommercial law, international law, antitrust and law and economics. In recent decades, the pace of curricular innovation has, if anything, quickened, as the School has developed new strengths in such fields as comparative constitutional law, corporate finance, environmental law, gender studies, international human rights and legal history, as well as an array of clinical programs.
The law school's Dean, Harold Koh has made human rights a focus of the law school's work, building on a tradition that has developed over the past two decades. Robert Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch is affiliated with the law school in several ways, and the organization's current executive director Kenneth Roth is an alum. Yale has taken a lead in defending detainees at Guantanamo Bay through it's 9/11 clinic.
Deans of Yale Law School
- 1873 - 1903 Francis Wayland
- 1903 - 1916 Henry Wade Rogers
- 1916 - 1927 Thomas Walter Swan
- 1927 - 1929 Robert Maynard Hutchins
- 1929 - 1939 Charles Edward Clark
- 1940 - 1946 Ashbel Green Gulliver
- 1946 - 1954 Wesley Alba Sturges
- 1954 - 1955 Harry Shulman
- 1955 - 1965 Eugene Victor Rostow
- 1965 - 1970 Louis Heilprin Pollak
- 1970 - 1975 Abraham Samuel Goldstein
- 1975 - 1985 Harry Hillel Wellington
- 1985 - 1994 Guido Calabresi
- 1994 - 2004 Anthony Townsend Kronman
- 2004 - Harold Hongju Koh
Current prominent faculty
- Bruce Ackerman, constitutional and political science scholar and op-ed writer
- Akhil Amar, constitutional scholar, prolific writer and consultant to the television show The West Wing
- Ian Ayres, author of Why Not? and frequent commentator on NPR's Marketplace program
- Jack Balkin, First Amendment scholar and legal blogger
- Aharon Barak, former president of the Israeli Supreme Court from 1995 to 2006
- Yochai Benkler, author of The Wealth of Networks
- Guido Calabresi, judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and former Dean
- Amy Chua, author of New York Times bestseller: World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability
- Stephen L. Carter, author of a number of books, including the novel The Emperor of Ocean Park
- Drew S. Days, III, former United States Solicitor General
- William Eskridge, Jr., a pioneer of civil rights for gays and lesbians.
- Owen M. Fiss, liberalism and free speech scholar
- Harold Hongju Koh, dean of the law school (2004- ) and former Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights in the Clinton administration (1998-2001)
- Jonathan R. Macey, corporate/banking law scholar
- Jed Rubenfeld, constitutional theorist and author of the popular psychosexual thriller The Interpretation of Murder
- Ralph K. Winter, Jr., senior circuit judge and former chief judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- Kenji Yoshino, anti-discrimination scholar, gay rights advocate and public commentator
- Renata Adler, author
- Samuel Alito (J.D. 1975), 110th U.S. Supreme Court Justice (2006-present)
- Jane Bolin, (LL.B. 1931) First African-American woman to graduate from Yale and the first African-American woman to become a judge (1939)
- John R. Bolton (J.D. 1974), former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
- Cory Booker (J.D. 1997), mayor of Newark, New Jersey
- Karl Carstens (LL.M. 1949), 5th president of the Federal Republic of Germany (1979-1984)
- Bill Clinton (J.D. 1973), 42nd U.S. President (1993-2001)
- Hillary Rodham Clinton (J.D. 1973), U.S. Senator (D-New York)
- Alan Dershowitz (J.D. 1962), Harvard Law professor and author
- Gerald Ford (LL.B. 1941), 38th U.S. President (1974-1976)
- Marian Wright Edelman (J.D.), founder of Children's Defense Fund
- Julie Hilden (J.D. 1992), author
- Stephen Hadley (J.D. 1972), current National Security Advisor (United States)
- Nicholas deB. Katzenbach (LL.B 1947), U.S. Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson
- Neal Katyal (J.D. 1995), lead counsel in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
- Henry T. King, Jr., (LL.B 1943), Nuremberg prosecutor 1946-1947.
- Joseph Lieberman (J.D. 1967), U.S. Senator (D/I-Connecticut) and 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee
- Michael Medved, author, film critic, and radio talk show host — attended for one year, did not graduate
- Robert M. Morgenthau (LL.B. 1948), district attorney for New York County
- Jesselyn Radack (J.D. 1995), American Taliban whistleblower
- Robert Reich (J.D., 1973), Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton
- Stephen Reinhardt (LL.B. 1954), federal judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Pat Robertson (LL.B. 1955), televangelist and founder of Regent University
- Gretchen Rubin (J.D. 1995), author
- Robert Rubin (LL.B. 1964) Secretary of the Treasury under Bill Clinton
- Arlen Specter (LL.B. 1956), U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee ranking member (R-Pennsylvania)
- Ben Stein (J.D. 1970), actor and speechwriter for President Richard Nixon, graduated as class valedictorian in 1970Template:Fact
- William Howard Taft (honorary LL.D. 1893), 27th President of the United States, 10th Chief Justice of the United States
- Clarence Thomas (J.D. 1974), 107th U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1991-present)
- Mel Watt (J.D.), Congressmen from North Carolina Chairmen of the Congressional Black Caucus
- Charles Alan Wright (LL.B. 1949), professor at University of Texas; expert on Federal Courts and Federal Procedure; represented Richard Nixon
- Yale Law School
- The Yale Law Journal
- The Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, & Ethics
- The Yale Journal of International Law
- The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism
- Yale Law and Policy Review
- The Yale Law School Rebellious Lawyering Conference
- Law According to Yale - YLS Blog by Tmalmine
- Yale Law School Sculptural Ornamentation