Keys to succeeding at YLS

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
lxrlllxf

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:23 pm

Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby lxrlllxf » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:46 pm

I graduated from Yale Law School a few years ago and felt that there were a lot of things about the school that were opaque and unfair. Because of the lack of an official grading system and grade curves, and the fact that getting on law review was not based on grades, students who went to Harvard/Yale/came from an elite social class had an unfair advantage over the rest of us in terms of getting prestigious clerkships and good firm jobs. They also have a larger network of undergrad alumni within the law school to share insider tips. So I'd like to share some of the info I learned only after I got there and wish I had known earlier to level the playing field. However, know that this is a few years after graduation, so take this with a grain of salt, since the below is unique to my experience and my information may no longer be updated. If you are another YLS grad, please feel free to update this.

1. It's easy to game the grading system and get straight Honors (H) without being the best or working the most. All you need to do is to take clinics, seminars, and take the paper option over an exam in black letter law classes where those are offered. Clinics, seminars, and basically any class based on a paper is a guaranteed H. Don't make my mistake of taking all black letter law classes with exams. For certain firms like Munger, you need at least 12 Hs from YLS in order to get an interview as a lateral. So grades are somewhat important even though they are not very meritocratic. For certain judges and Supreme Court Justices, you do need straight Hs to get a clerkship. Katzmann is one of those judges.

2. You must become a research assistant (RA) for at least a professor or two to secure a good clerkship. Do not RA for a visiting professor unless it's a really famous professor. The reason why you need to RA is because the person you RA for will then call on your behalf to a judge to get you a clerkship. Some of the Supreme Court feeders are famous professors. However, some of the more famous professors will only take as RA people they think will be successful down the road and help put their name forth for a Supreme Court Justice position, so they will only hire students who went to Harvard/Yale or came from elite background already. Your energy might be better invested in a professor who is not as famous but who you have a personal connection with. As long as they would be willing to pick up the phone for you, it's a professor worth investing in. Certain elite litigation boutiques (mostly ones in DC) require a district + appellate clerkship.

3. Law review is not based on grades at all, but for the rest of your life, people will guess you are not top of the class if you were not on Yale Law Journal, because they assume it is grades-based like it is at every other law school. So you need to really make sure you ace the bluebook exam. And if you're Asian, good luck because well. . . you can probably guess.

4. OCI - grades are important only for certain clerkships/firms, but for the vast majority of firms (even Wachtell/Cravath, etc), grades don't matter nearly as much as which school you went to for undergrad/career prior to law school/class background. I had classmates who had straight Hs but who went to top tier but non Ivy League schools strike out, and classmates who went to Ivy League undergrads and who were total slackers who partied all the time secure offers from every firm they interviewed with (including Cravath and Wachtell). Unfortunately, the lack of a strict grading curve (which Harvard Law has) tends to hurt minority/immigrant/poor students who did not go to an Ivy League undergrad because interviewers have no meaning way of differentiating your work ethic from other people at the same school, so they have to go by where you went to undergrad. To a certain extent, the same dynamic plays out for certain prestigious clerkships as well. Also, for whatever reason, the alumni interviewers from YLS at OCI tend to be white men/women who came from very privileged backgrounds, whereas the alumni interviewers from schools like Columbia and NYU are actually a lot more diverse, so culturally, it's much harder to connect with the YLS interviews at OCI if you come from a lower social class/not white. OCI at Yale tends to be a winner take all situation, so it's certainly not true that no one strikes out at OCI. For whatever reason, in my year, all the strike outs were minority women who did not go to Ivy League undergrads. And these were people who were perfectly nice and friendly (not socially awkward) and who studied at the library all the time. Ironically, if they had gone to a lower tier top law school like NYU or Georgetown, they probably would have secured at least one biglaw offer.

Out of my classmates, the ones who secured Supreme Court or other prestigious clerkships were the ones who maximized the number of seminars, clinics, and black letter law classes with a paper option + RA'ed for certain professors + worked for certain feeder judges + studied super hard for the bluebook exam so they could get on YLJ. Needless to say, the vast majority of them went to an Ivy League school or Oxbridge prior to YLS and thus had greater access to this type of info.

Also, biglaw litigation in NY is not the be all end all. At the rate all the NY biglaw firms are going, my classmates who are the happiest and getting the most substantive experience in litigation are the ones who went to small litigation boutiques or biglaw litigation in secondary markets (think Philly, Seattle, etc.) directly after law school. Looking back, I wish I had done that instead of working in biglaw litigation.

I hope this is helpful to someone! :D

BrainsyK

Bronze
Posts: 141
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2016 5:37 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby BrainsyK » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:30 pm

Now, this is some salacious and intriguing stuff--if it's true. As an Asian, I'd like to hear more about the Asian thing.

esther0123

Bronze
Posts: 284
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:40 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby esther0123 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 10:14 pm

This is a very cynical view, but I tend to agree... I wish I had known all of these tricks back in law school, though things didn't turn out too badly for me (thank god). This is definitely more true at YLS from what I heard from friends, but also true to some extent at HLS too.

lxrlllxf

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:23 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby lxrlllxf » Sat Sep 01, 2018 4:12 pm

Just a few other things:

Extracurricular clubs: Unlike other law schools where students are not encouraged to participate in extracurricular clubs like affinity groups, and ACS/Federalist Society until 2L year, it's actually the reverse at YLS. These groups are really important for networking and it's especially important to get on the board of these groups because they often will host events with important speakers (which the entire school is invited to attend) and then have board-only sessions/meals with important speakers and judges (for clerkship applications). You are supposed to volunteer as much as possible 1L year, get the leaders to like you, so you can apply and obtain one of the board positions 2L years. By the time 3L year comes along, almost no one participates in these clubs anymore since they do not offer as much networking/informational value to 3L participants. So in that sense, they operate rather like secret societies in that leadership positions will get you access to and chance to network with important people. I've also heard comparisons between the YLJ and Yale undergrad secret societies. Also, YLJ seems to create a weird dynamic where my friends from 1L year who did not make it on the YLJ seem to be excluded from a lot of the informal social events organized by friends on the YLJ. Whether this was conscious or not is unclear, but the YLJ seems to almost create a kind of social stratification within the law school and define friendship lines.

OCI: Because YLS is so prestigious, the best firms for litigation is actually not the NY biglaw firms, but rather the top litigation boutiques. As a clueless 1L at OCI, I stupidly bid on the top biglaw firms based on Vault-ranking. It wasn't until later that I realized that the most prestigious and best boutiques to bid on were firms I had never even heard of, but a lot of the other students who came from elite backgrounds knew about. You get the best training in litigation by going to those firms, which are leanly staffed, go to trial, require clerkships, and hire almost exclusively from H/Y/S. E.g. Williams & Connolly in DC, a couple of others in NY, Susman in TX, Keker in SF, Munger in LA. The significance of this did not quite hit me until several years after graduation. The type of training you get the first 10 years out of law school really matters a lot. I wasted a lot of precious time doing doc review on investigations at biglaw firms as a result. This type of information is often not available on Vault, and somewhat available on Chambers. To overcome the information asymmetry, if you don't have have any classmate from your undergrad who are in classes above you, you should make an extra effort to participate in the extracurricular clubs to get to know upperclassmen who might be able to explain this type of info to you.

1L summer: I remember being really surprised when I came back 1L second semester and heard that x number of my classmates had received offers/were applying to intern at various AUSA offices (primarily SDNY because it's considered at YLS as more "prestigious" than EDNY). I had to look up what a lot of these terms meant and didn't understand quite understand the significance of having your 1L summer spent at an AUSA office. Now I know that doing an internship there give your a leg up when you apply to be come an AUSA following graduation. And being an AUSA at SDNY/EDNY makes it easier to become a law firm partner.

2L summer: there is an almost hypocritical environment at YLS where you will be judged and considered evil if you openly talk about OCI plans or interest in biglaw. A lot of people will pretend to be ambivalent or say they are only doing OCI as a back-up plan and that their long term interest is public interest/academia. But in reality, they will be emailing and networking with alums long before OCI. And the very person telling you that he/she is here for public interest and sneering at you for your biglaw goals will be secretly gunning for biglaw. That is not to say that there is not a significant portion of great people who are truly interested in public interest work and making a difference in the world, but there is also a fair amount of people who will pretend to be part of the former group and judge students who admit their biglaw goals. For whatever reason, these people tend to be the ones who went to Ivy League undergrads/come from an upper social class where this kind of passive aggressiveness/hypocrisy is prevalent. You'll find that the students who grew up poor/from lower social class are actually more honest about their law firm goals. Ironically, they also tend to be judged more harshly for admitting that they want to make money.

rumcity

New
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:37 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby rumcity » Sat Sep 01, 2018 8:39 pm

Can I pm you?

User avatar
khaosan17

New
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2018 3:00 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby khaosan17 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:38 am

What an informative review..

Thanks guys.

As a minority, middle class, non-ivy at HLS, the information roadblock you guys keep talking about totally rings true.

I can’t believe how those YLS students were striked out at OCIs.

Npret

Silver
Posts: 1369
Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:42 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby Npret » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:44 am

How did you guys not know or find out this stuff while in school? I thought these things were common knowledge. I don’t think it’s all meant to be a secret, so as someone said, you need to get to know people with good information. If you can’t find students to help you, their must be professors who will give you advice.

Yes, some people will always lie about their true intentions. I learned that back in 3rd grade when some kids had tutors for every class and coaches to help them in sports but acted as if it was all their own effort. Some people will always present the public face that is not reality.

Don’t let that deter you.

Edit to add - just speculating here, but talking about money and planning your career to get money may be very generally considered as not to be discussed openly. My suggestion is to avoid it and play the same superficial game. Just say you want biglaw training or some garbage like that, you don’t have to pretend to want PI.

dabigchina

Silver
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:22 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby dabigchina » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:37 pm

IDK if 1L summer at a US Attny office is that big of of a plus tbh.

nixy

Bronze
Posts: 476
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:58 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby nixy » Thu Sep 13, 2018 1:12 pm

It’s not going to be a dealbreaker, but having interned at an USAO during school is helpful for if you want to be an AUSA down the line.

Also I can see it not being self-evident how SNDY/EDNY are different from, say, Bronx DA.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 729
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby QContinuum » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:10 pm

There are a number of things that would be less than self-evident to a 1L without friends/family who'd gone through law school before (preferably at Yale, but any previous law school info would help).

For example, it wouldn't be evident that there'd be an advantage to taking a BLL class with a paper option over the same BLL class with an exam. The natural (though incorrect) assumption would be that the papers and exams would be graded on a similar curve. Students might reasonably choose to take a several-hour exam than spend days/weeks writing and polishing a paper, not knowing that doing the paper would effectively guarantee an H.

It also wouldn't necessarily be evident which professors are the "best" to RA for, for clerkship purposes.

It certainly wouldn't be evident that Yale's lack of a strict grading curve may actually be harmful to URMs at OCI.

And OP's right about the lack of "lay prestige" of elite lit boutiques like Keker or Susman or Munger. Back when I was a 1L (not at YLS, but at a T13), I routinely confused White & Case and Williams & Connolly!

TheProsecutor

Bronze
Posts: 145
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 12:50 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby TheProsecutor » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:13 pm

The key to succeeding at YLS is getting in.

All this stuff this thread is talking about is just about doing more prestigious stuff. Listen, you get into YLS, you're set. You can go to whatever firm you want. You can get a clerkship. You can make lots of money. You can be a judge one day. You can work in government. You can do PI. No doors are closed.

So you don't get to go to a prestigious boutique, because nobody told you it was prestigious? Sounds like you didn't do your research. But nobody knows those firms are prestigious anyways. And prestige is merely a signaling device - - did I mention, you're already at YLS? Lay people think its second only to harvard and lawyers know its the best. So what's the issue?

The only possible issue I see is if you want to clerk for SCOTUS, then sure, this thread is gold and full of great advice. Write papers, become a TA, do your 1L at SDNY and 2L at some obscure boutique. Get all Hs. But otherwise, you've made it. There's only 200 of you. Plenty off opportunities to go around.

QContinuum

Moderator
Posts: 729
Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby QContinuum » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:16 pm

TheProsecutor wrote:The key to succeeding at YLS is getting in.

All this stuff this thread is talking about is just about doing more prestigious stuff. Listen, you get into YLS, you're set. You can go to whatever firm you want. You can get a clerkship. You can make lots of money. You can be a judge one day. You can work in government. You can do PI. No doors are closed.


That's the common view, but the entire premise of the OP is that success isn't necessarily assured at YLS. The OP raises the example of YLS URMs striking out at OCI:

lxrlllxf wrote:For whatever reason, in my year, all the strike outs were minority women who did not go to Ivy League undergrads. And these were people who were perfectly nice and friendly (not socially awkward) and who studied at the library all the time. Ironically, if they had gone to a lower tier top law school like NYU or Georgetown, they probably would have secured at least one biglaw offer.


TheProsecutor wrote:The only possible issue I see is if you want to clerk for SCOTUS, then sure, this thread is gold and full of great advice. Write papers, become a TA, do your 1L at SDNY and 2L at some obscure boutique. Get all Hs. But otherwise, you've made it. There's only 200 of you. Plenty off opportunities to go around.


I disagree that the OP's advice is only useful for SCOTUS gunners. Many of the elite lit boutiques effectively require folks to land prestigious CoA clerkships, for which OP's advice is very helpful.

And I'm certain that OP's classmates who struck out at Yale OCI would disagree that they "made it" simply by being at YLS.

User avatar
whats an updog

Bronze
Posts: 367
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:12 am

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby whats an updog » Sat Sep 29, 2018 11:48 pm

Also remember to keep a calendar. Might come in handy down the line.

User avatar
macncheeese

New
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:44 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby macncheeese » Mon Oct 01, 2018 2:04 pm

whats an updog wrote:Also remember to keep a calendar. Might come in handy down the line.


Yeah, and that - :shock:

ughbugchugplug

New
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:21 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby ughbugchugplug » Mon Oct 01, 2018 8:48 pm

Beer and a quick temper

Wumbo

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:26 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby Wumbo » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:38 am

as a student at HLS this is super interesting to read.

I'm curious about your emphasis on "non-ivy," as if most people at YLS came from an ivy. Is this true?

At HLS it doesn't seem to be. IIRC in my section there were like 12 (of 80) combined from ivies. Assuming similar numbers across sections, that would be 15%. Granted if you throw in places like Stanford, Uchicago, NW, Duke, Berkeley, Michigan, and other top non-ivies, then that number likely approaches or surpasses 50%, but according to your analysis even those folks would be at a disadvantage in OCI. So it seems like either YLS must have way more ivies, or something else besides non-ivy undergrad must be harming those who strike out at OCI (maybe other aspects of that information asymmetry, but a lot of that concerned grades and RAs, which you say firms don't really care about anyway).

Either way, that obviously doesn't discount the bulk of your analysis, and it makes me wonder if firms might do similar things if grades at HLS were more like YLS, whereas despite what people often say, grades here do matter for firms, albeit obviously to a lesser extent than other schools.

Interesting also about the hypercritical-of-biglaw attitude. that happens here too, for sure, though perhaps not to the same extent, and it manifests itself more in people being self-conscious of their own decision to do biglaw than in shaming others for wanting to do it. There's definitely not the same lack of guilt for wanting to do big law and make a lot of money, though, which does seem to be rather ubiquitous at "lower" T14s, according to friends there.

I hadn't really thought of the advantages going to an "elite" school for undergrad might have from a networking standpoint, though it's definitely true that whereas I knew nobody who had gone to YHS or even a T10 before going to law school, a lot of my ivy friends knew a bunch, not to mention had worked as paralegals in biglaw, and so I can definitely see how in that regard I may have been disadvantaged (the flip side is that I did know a lot of people at mediocre law schools, where 90% of people have no shot at big law, so that helped put things in perspective and avoid the reference bias of classmates worried that they'd have to "settle" for a V50 firm at OCI).

Perhaps the biggest difference b/w YLS and HLS based off what you've said is the stuff about RAs. Relatively few people I know RA here. Those who do don't seem to develop amazing relationships with profs. Had known that it would be different at YLS, though that's unfortunate that profs there seem to discriminate based off prestigious undergrad credentials.

paradiselost9

New
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 8:27 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby paradiselost9 » Fri Nov 02, 2018 8:11 pm

great post OP

User avatar
KissMyAxe

Bronze
Posts: 356
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:01 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby KissMyAxe » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:50 am

I strongly disagree with a lot of this, and so will take you up on your invitation to update your information.

I will agree that students who went to Harvard, Yale, Princeton for undergrad typically have a leg up on others for prestigious clerkships (there are a couple judges who are very snobby about backgrounds) and understand the game better. There is a massive inequality of information at YLS. But that's the case at every school, and I'm constantly surprised about how little many incredible students at schools like HLS and Columbia know about the preftige game. There are so few elite jobs out there, that the connections you make and information you get through back channels can make a huge difference in the most prestigious outcomes. If you know a bunch of 3Ls because you went to Harvard for undergrad together, then yes, you'll know a lot of information state school students might not have access to.

1. You absolutely do not have to have all H's to clerk for a Supreme Court Justice. There are a handful of liberal feeders that require all H's (though until this year, they've all hired in the summer after 1L year, so we're talking 4 or 5 Hs). Those would be Katzmann, Garland, Srinivasan, and Reinhardt when he was still alive. On the more conservative side: Wilkinson, Sutton, and Griffith strongly prefer all Hs at that point too. However, for the judges where you have to have all Hs, you really can't sneak by doing Law and Basketweaving and clinics. These judges often have 2 or more YLS clerks who know the joke courses, and try to avoid students who take them exclusively. For example, Garland traditionally hires the top student in Admin, or close to it. For firms, they do just want to see Hs, and you can and should take a couple freebies each semester to have a couple Hs on your transcript.

2. You do not need to become a research assistant to get a good clerkship. I know probably 50 people who clerked/will be clerking for very good judges. I'd say 10 of them used the professor they RAed for for their recommendation. Once again, until this year, most of the best clerkships are snapped up in May or June of 1L year. Most students will not have RAed by that point. It's more important to get really good grades, basically H+s, with the handful of professors who are known to be strong recommenders. I won't go into the names here, but there are a handful that hold the keys to the kingdom, and you don't have to RA for any of them to get their rec (besides one who famously requires students to work an insane amount for them). It's ridiculous that any of the professors will only hire RAs who went to Harvard/Yale for undergrad. This is a complete myth and I have no idea where it came from. There's one professor at the school who's known for being more elitist, but they have and do hire students from other backgrounds, if their views are in line with them. I do agree, it's always better to have a recommendation from someone who knows you and your work well and will really go to bat for you than the most famous professor.

3. I agree that the law review admissions process is a bit of a joke for a lot of reasons, and has no relation to merit. However, virtually all the major hirers know that at this point, and I have been told this by a number of hiring partners/appellate judges. Your clerkship will often be the real sign of where you were in your class. I would recommend some kind of journal experience, which is extremely easy to do at YLS, but it's not a huge deal in any kind of hiring. But yeah, it seems that Asians and Jewish students get completely screwed in YLJ admissions.

4. I absolutely agree that Wachtell cares about your undergrad a lot. Maybe W&C as well. However, I disagree with the rest. You do need at least one H to be assured of success in OCI. A handful of firms want to see more Hs, mainly W&C, WLRK, Cravath, Wilmerhale, S&C (D.C.), Susman, Boies, Gibson (D.C.) and Quinn. What gets you the job at the other firms is personality and showing them that you actually want to work in Biglaw. That is what YLS students have to overcome, because everyone assumes they just want the resume point before they jump ship for greener pastures. But basically no one strikes out, as the statistics CDO releases every year show. I know one person who struck out at OCI, and they were from an elite background, but explicitly said in interviews they wanted to be a professor. They also did a terrible job bidding, and only interviewed at boutiques and like 3 other super-selective firms with no safeties (I do think a lot of people mess up their bidding). I am from one or more of the disadvantaged groups you mentioned, and I got an offer from every firm I interviewed with but one. I also did not find it difficult to find ways to connect with the interviewers, but I am typically pretty good at that kind of thing. Maybe you graduated in or right after the recession, and things were different. But I'm very skeptical that there were multiple strike-outs of people with all Hs, who were not socially awkward (a lot of YLS students are socially inept - and being nice and personable with close friends does not always translate to doing that with interviewers), and genuinely wanted Biglaw. Because very little of that matches my experience.

As for your other notes, I pretty much agree with everything you said, though think you are entirely blowing YLJ out of proportion once again. Their connections are nothing compared to FedSoc or ACS, and YLS is the school where being on journal matters least.
Last edited by KissMyAxe on Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:03 am, edited 5 times in total.

User avatar
KissMyAxe

Bronze
Posts: 356
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:01 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby KissMyAxe » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:58 am

Wumbo wrote:as a student at HLS this is super interesting to read.
I'm curious about your emphasis on "non-ivy," as if most people at YLS came from an ivy. Is this true?


I feel like I answered or responded to the rest of your message in my previous one. But yes, I would say the vast majority of students at YLS have Ivy League backgrounds. I think it's a product of professors doing most of the admissions, and looking for students like themselves. As such, the typical YLS student went to a private, elite high school/boarding school, went to HYP for undergrad, maybe did a master's at Oxbridge or a PhD elsewhere, and then came to YLS. If I were to guess the makeup of my class (and this is only a guess), 50% attended one of HYP for undergrad, 30% attended another Ivy/Stanford/MIT/Duke/or elite private school (like Williams or Amherst), 5% attended a top international university (Oxford, McGill, Toronto), and the remaining 15% attended lower ranked/state schools.

DerKatze

New
Posts: 50
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:39 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby DerKatze » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:37 pm

KissMyAxe wrote:
Wumbo wrote:as a student at HLS this is super interesting to read.
I'm curious about your emphasis on "non-ivy," as if most people at YLS came from an ivy. Is this true?


I feel like I answered or responded to the rest of your message in my previous one. But yes, I would say the vast majority of students at YLS have Ivy League backgrounds. I think it's a product of professors doing most of the admissions, and looking for students like themselves. As such, the typical YLS student went to a private, elite high school/boarding school, went to HYP for undergrad, maybe did a master's at Oxbridge or a PhD elsewhere, and then came to YLS. If I were to guess the makeup of my class (and this is only a guess), 50% attended one of HYP for undergrad, 30% attended another Ivy/Stanford/MIT/Duke/or elite private school (like Williams or Amherst), 5% attended a top international university (Oxford, McGill, Toronto), and the remaining 15% attended lower ranked/state schools.


Hate to commandeer this thread, but I just curious. How much do you think extracurriculars matter for getting into Y? Particularly from highly ranked public schools (i.e. Mich, UCLA, UVA). And what kind of extracurriculars carry the most weight? Too late for me to change anything based on what you say, but I'd like to know where I stand.

SamuelDanforth

Bronze
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:05 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby SamuelDanforth » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:42 pm

KissMyAxe wrote: As such, the typical YLS student went to a private, elite high school/boarding school, went to HYP for undergrad, maybe did a master's at Oxbridge or a PhD elsewhere, and then came to YLS. If I were to guess the makeup of my class (and this is only a guess), 50% attended one of HYP for undergrad, 30% attended another Ivy/Stanford/MIT/Duke/or elite private school (like Williams or Amherst), 5% attended a top international university (Oxford, McGill, Toronto), and the remaining 15% attended lower ranked/state schools.


I agree with alot of your first comment, but not this one. We have the actual numbers on this. The 2018-2019 bulletin indicates that as of Fall 2017, the law school had 54 students who attended Harvard, 27 who attended Princeton, and 85 who attended Yale. So roughly 165/637. That's a high percentage, but it's nowhere near 50%.

https://bulletin.yale.edu/sites/default ... 8-2019.pdf

I would also guess that less than 25% of YLS students went to a private high school. And less than 5% went to a boarding school - I can really only think of three students in total out of people I know.

User avatar
KissMyAxe

Bronze
Posts: 356
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:01 pm

Re: Keys to succeeding at YLS

Postby KissMyAxe » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:50 am

DerKatze wrote:
KissMyAxe wrote:
Wumbo wrote:as a student at HLS this is super interesting to read.
I'm curious about your emphasis on "non-ivy," as if most people at YLS came from an ivy. Is this true?


I feel like I answered or responded to the rest of your message in my previous one. But yes, I would say the vast majority of students at YLS have Ivy League backgrounds. I think it's a product of professors doing most of the admissions, and looking for students like themselves. As such, the typical YLS student went to a private, elite high school/boarding school, went to HYP for undergrad, maybe did a master's at Oxbridge or a PhD elsewhere, and then came to YLS. If I were to guess the makeup of my class (and this is only a guess), 50% attended one of HYP for undergrad, 30% attended another Ivy/Stanford/MIT/Duke/or elite private school (like Williams or Amherst), 5% attended a top international university (Oxford, McGill, Toronto), and the remaining 15% attended lower ranked/state schools.


Hate to commandeer this thread, but I just curious. How much do you think extracurriculars matter for getting into Y? Particularly from highly ranked public schools (i.e. Mich, UCLA, UVA). And what kind of extracurriculars carry the most weight? Too late for me to change anything based on what you say, but I'd like to know where I stand.


That's perfectly fine. I'm happy to help. I think when you're dealing with such a tiny class of students out of a massive application pool, softs do matter a lot. I believe there's a reason that YLS students always talk about how amazing their classmates are, because everyone has some amazing backstory or thing they did. It's definitely possible to get in without incredible softs if you have very strong numbers (3.9+,175+) and great recommendations/essays. However, I think it becomes more of an uphill battle.

Well, there are some definite softs that carry a lot of weight at every school. The major scholarships, being a veteran, being an olympian, being a successful published author, founding a nonprofit or startup, having a well-respected PhD, those are super softs, and they all can help you outplay your numbers. For last year's class, 17 admits had a Rhodes/Marshall/Truman/Fulbright, 8 were veterans, and 57 had graduate degrees.

But you don't have to have any of those things. While 10% of students have one of those fancy scholarships, 90% don't. Years ago, when I used to help many, many applicants on here, I always told them that everyone is unique and can tell a story. Your job is just to bring that story out, show them why you're unique, and why you'd be an interesting addition to the class. If you look at the entering class profiles of each year, you're going to see some very unique things. In the student body now, YLS has a bluegrass musician, an ice cream truck operator, a Catholic priest, a Bollywood Fusion Dancer, a competitive slam poet, a pro snowboarder, a professional interpreter, a bellydancer, a world-class swimmer, the inventor of a medical drone system, a coach in the Special Olympics, 2 competitive weight lifters, 2 competitive chess players, and someone who hiked the Appalachian Trail. These are all very different things YLS admissions thought were interesting enough to include in their blurb. You definitely have something in your background that makes you unique, and your application should bring that forward.


SamuelDanforth wrote:I agree with alot of your first comment, but not this one. We have the actual numbers on this. The 2018-2019 bulletin indicates that as of Fall 2017, the law school had 54 students who attended Harvard, 27 who attended Princeton, and 85 who attended Yale. So roughly 165/637. That's a high percentage, but it's nowhere near 50%.

https://bulletin.yale.edu/sites/default ... 8-2019.pdf

I would also guess that less than 25% of YLS students went to a private high school. And less than 5% went to a boarding school - I can really only think of three students in total out of people I know.


I didn't say anything about the institution's population as a whole, because I only guessed at my own class' numbers. I am aware that the administration was very concerned with my class' lack of diversity. It's possible that they were also concerned about educational diversity and sought to fix that the next year. It may not be as dire as my admitted guessing pointed to. However, I spent about 45 minutes playing with the numbers. Taking these numbers as accurate, we've got:

268/637 Ivy League Undergrad (I'd assume there's more if you take into accounts Masters and PhD students)
452/637 Once you add in top 15 liberal arts schools and schools like Stanford, Duke, MIT, etc.

And that's compared to 84/637 who attended a state or lower ranked private university (and I'm being generous and counting Berkeley, Michigan, UNC, and UVA - who represent almost half of that, and have student bodies with backgrounds closer to a Stanford than to a typical state university).

So even agreeing that my numbers were off, YLS still has 26% of students from HYP, more than 70% of the student body from super elite undergrads, and only ~10% from state or comparable schools. If we take out those four very elite state schools, less than 50 students remain in the entire student body, or roughly 7%.

And we can agree to disagree on your last point. I sat down and listed them and can think of almost 20 students who went to a boarding school off the top of my head. And I think you are WAY off on private schools. Maybe it's your social group, but I think (and the student representative survey issued a few years back corroborates) that more than 50% of students attended a private high school.



Return to “Forum for Law School Students?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 14 guests