Law School Discussion

Yale Obsession

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #270 on: February 03, 2006, 01:00:28 PM »
There are many positive things to say about HLS. Su is right about the joint degree opportunities, particularly with respect to those wanting a Masters in Public Policy. If that is to your taste, then Harvard is absolutely optimal: HLS + the Kennedy School! And the large-school environment is conducive, like Su says, to ensuring that there will be people who share your interests/persuasions. HLS's size and stature also ensure that the campus is animated. There are always conferences, panels, visiting lecturers, etc. I'm sure the same is true at YLS, but given the size of HLS, comparatively I'd imagine that HLS has more frequent events and a wider range of them. And, of course, if business law is your thing, HLS will probably be a better place for you. And, somewhat juxtapositional, if you want to study critical legal theories, HLS has some really great people (Roberto Unger!). That latter consideration is in fact adding difficulty to my decision-making, though I doubt it will be enough to entice me to go to HLS over YLS.

Cambridge/Boston is also a really great place to live. It is an urban environment, so of course crime can occasionally be an issue. But it really isn't something to worry much about.

And if you are interested in normative ethics and value theory (I hate to get back to this  ;) ), Harvard's philosophy department is tops in that area. You could cross-register and take Christine Korsgaard's renowned course on Kant's ethical theory, for example. Or you could take T.M. Scanlon's courses in political philosophy. Or, if you are really gutsy, you could take a graduate-level seminar with Amartya Sen and Philippe Van Parijs on some cutting edge question of social justice or political philosophy, or the biannual seminar with Scanlon and Derek Parfit in which the work consists of reading the manuscript of Parfit's developing second book and discussing/challenging it.

fatcat

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #271 on: February 03, 2006, 02:05:02 PM »
Yeah, ok. I don't understand how people who get accepted to NHSoL can decide to go to that assembly plant in Cambridge instead, or for that matter, to the NYC schools. Seeing that kind of decision-making is enough to make one weep.

Riiighhhht...  I can actually think of a lot of reasons why someone would prefer the "assembly plant in Cambridge" or the NYC schools.  (Well, NYU anyway.  I kind of get the impression that Columbia is Harvard Lite, but they probably have specific stuff going for them as well).

Don't get me wrong, I'd prefer yale, but I don't think there's such a huge difference that there's only one answer for everyone.  And I for one am not going to be crying into my beer for not getting into Yale. I'm pretty sure my life won't be significantly the worse for it.

Clearly I am missing what Harvard's appeal is.

people who want to go out a lot and not constantly see the same people might want to go to boston -- it's a bigger city than new haven, and it's got dozens of colleges.  also, Y & S are supposedly alot like high school.  high school was fun and all, but it can get old seeing the same people every day and not having privacy.  then again, some say H is like high school too, but at least it's a bigger high school.

some people are the opposite of the Cheers crew -- they want to go where not everyone knows their name


and if you *do* want to go "where everybody knows your name," well, harvard can still satisfy that need: there's a cheers bar in boston.
see http://www.cheersboston.com/

 ;)  :D

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #272 on: February 03, 2006, 04:16:26 PM »
There are many positive things to say about Harvard. Su is right about the joint degree opportunities, particularly with respect to those wanting a Masters in Public Policy. If that is to your taste, then Harvard is absolutely optimal: HLS + the Kennedy School! And the large-school environment is conducive, like Su says, to ensuring that there will be people who share your interests/persuasions. HLS's size and stature also ensure that the campus is animated. There are always conferences, panels, visiting lecturers, etc. I'm sure the same is true at Yale, but given the size of Harvard, comparatively I'd imagine that Harvard has more frequent events and a wider range of them. And, of course, if business law is your thing, Harvard will probably be a better place for you. And, somewhat juxtapositional, if you want to study critical legal theories, Harvard has some really great people (Roberto Unger!). That latter consideration is in fact adding difficulty to my decision-making.

Cambridge/Boston is also a really great place to live. It is an urban environment, so of course crime can occasionally be an issue. But it really isn't something to worry much about.

And if you are interested in normative ethics and value theory (I hate to get back to this  ;) ), Harvard's philosophy department is tops in that area. You could cross-register and take Christine Korsgaard's renowned course on Kant's ethical theory, for example. Or you could take T.M. Scanlon's courses in political philosophy. Or, if you are really gutsy, you could take a graduate-level seminar with Amartya Sen and Philippe Van Parijs on some cutting edge question of social justice or political philosophy, or the biannual seminar with Scanlon and Derek Parfit in which the work consists of reading the manuscript of Parfit's developing second book and discussing/challenging it.


I think you have a point here in terms of cross-registering, learning more about business and crit theory, etc.  The problem is, because there are grades that matter and more rigid course requirements, you don't get to take as full advantage of those things.  It's just like at Stanford and at HLS now, I think, there is a Supreme Court Litigation clinic and it's a big selling point.  But...only 10-15 people or so a year even get to do it, and you can't do clinics as a 1L at most law schools.  You can take some crit theory 2L and 3L, but there's a good chance a lot of the things you want to take will conflict.  And even if they don't, you won't want to take on a huge courseload because that could negatively affect your grades and thus, your employment opportunities.

I've found myself overwhelmed with all of the things YLS has to offer.  Like you, there are some things about HLS that I wanted to take advantage of (i.e., Lani Guinier, Randall Kennedy, the Kennedy School.) But there is a ton going on here, and I'm thinking now that even if I'd gone to HLS I wouldn't really get to soak up all of that extra stuff.  Especially since I'd still be taking Civil Procedure and Torts and Contracts right now instead of Critical Theories of Law and the Law of Democracy.

I thought about the Boston as a better city thing a bit as well.  But the thing is, Boston is a city, but it's not a great city.  Of course this is a matter of personal taste.  If you really love Boston and you need to live closer to a city than we are to New York, go for it.  But if you just think, "Gee, I like cities more but not specifically Boston," don't give up Yale to go to HLS.  Just come to Yale and do what many students and some profs do: Be in New Haven on the days you have class and spend your weekends in New York.  NYC >>>>>>> Boston.

There's another thing to think about here too.  Law firm recruitment and other legal employment processes are stupid.  For some reason, they want people who go to Yale regardless of our supposed lack of blackletter training.  They honestly believe that YLSers are smart enough to pick things up on the job, though I'm not entirely convinced this is true.  It's not like anyone from HLS is going to have a hard time finding a job.  But there is more competition for a limited number of jobs, just 'cause you have all those smart people in the same place.  Maybe you aren't risk averse so this is not convincing to you, but it was definitely a factor in my decision that you cannot bank on being in the top 50% at HLS, no matter how smart you think you are.  You can bank on passing and even getting a good number of Honors at YLS.  It's a nice feeling and worth the sacrifice of 20 extra classes I probably won't be able to fit into my schedule anyway.

There are also lots of reading groups at YLS that help fill gaps in the curriculum.  For example, my crit theory group is one of them.  There's also one on Poverty and Opportunity, Migration, something about Latin America, etc. etc. etc.  A friend and I are thinking about doing something next term about Images of Law in Black Literature (or maybe just poetry; I'm not sure.)  There is sooo much flexibility, so you can just create things if they aren't offered.

A.

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #273 on: February 03, 2006, 04:55:09 PM »
There is sooo much flexibility, so you can just create things if they aren't offered.

Agreed with all of the above.  Just want to add that I was surprised at the number and breadth of the reading groups offered this semester, and, to my knowledge, they're open to anyone.  And today, our Property prof urged us at least 3 times to create a reading group (which he would advise) to explore oil, gas, and water rights (a really fascinating subject) more deeply.  A legal education at YLS really is meant to be tailored to your desires.

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #274 on: February 04, 2006, 09:41:03 AM »
There is sooo much flexibility, so you can just create things if they aren't offered.

Agreed with all of the above.  Just want to add that I was surprised at the number and breadth of the reading groups offered this semester, and, to my knowledge, they're open to anyone.  And today, our Property prof urged us at least 3 times to create a reading group (which he would advise) to explore oil, gas, and water rights (a really fascinating subject) more deeply.  A legal education at YLS really is meant to be tailored to your desires.

Alcibiades: I didn't realize that reading groups were so formalized. Are all reading groups advised by professors, and what is the typical role of an advisor? In what way are reading groups "offered"? Does the Law School put together a list of them for each semester?

TXcal

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #275 on: February 04, 2006, 09:52:20 AM »
 A friend and I are thinking about doing something next term about Images of Law in Black Literature (or maybe just poetry; I'm not sure.)  There is sooo much flexibility, so you can just create things if they aren't offered.
[/quote]

This is a great idea, Valentine--I'm so there!  Who were you thinking of asking to be the faculty advisor for the group? 

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #276 on: February 04, 2006, 11:29:53 AM »
A friend and I are thinking about doing something next term about Images of Law in Black Literature (or maybe just poetry; I'm not sure.)  There is sooo much flexibility, so you can just create things if they aren't offered.

This is a great idea, Valentine--I'm so there!  Who were you thinking of asking to be the faculty advisor for the group? 
[/quote]

Thanks! We haven't gotten that far yet, but would welcome your input.  lol,m we're really in the stages of thinking about what the name of the group should be!

There is sooo much flexibility, so you can just create things if they aren't offered.

Agreed with all of the above.  Just want to add that I was surprised at the number and breadth of the reading groups offered this semester, and, to my knowledge, they're open to anyone.  And today, our Property prof urged us at least 3 times to create a reading group (which he would advise) to explore oil, gas, and water rights (a really fascinating subject) more deeply.  A legal education at YLS really is meant to be tailored to your desires.

Alcibiades: I didn't realize that reading groups were so formalized. Are all reading groups advised by professors, and what is the typical advisorial role? In what way are reading groups "offered"? Does the Law School put together a list of them for each semester?

They are really not that formalized.  You have to get a faculty advisor and fill out a form with the registrar, along with a syllabus.  And then the registrar emails the list out to the student body so you can enroll for whichever ones you want, just like registering for any other class.  Lots of advisors are pretty hands-off, but it also depends on the professor and the subject of the reading group.


dw05

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #277 on: February 04, 2006, 01:54:02 PM »
Sorry to be the bearer of more widespread panic among the yale-obsessed, but the dings have started. 

Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #278 on: February 04, 2006, 03:06:50 PM »
Sorry to be the bearer of more widespread panic among the yale-obsessed, but the dings have started. 

oh my...

sorry dw.  harvard's not too bad of a consolation prize though  :)

dw05

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Re: Yale Obsession
« Reply #279 on: February 04, 2006, 03:31:31 PM »
Sorry to be the bearer of more widespread panic among the yale-obsessed, but the dings have started. 

oh my...

sorry dw.  harvard's not too bad of a consolation prize though  :)

thanks chombi.  i'm pretty happy to have harvard and a bunch of other great schools in the yes column, so i'm not taking it too hard.