Most of you are aware of Yale Law School’s reputation as one of the world’s premier educational institutions. You’re familiar with some of our amazing faculty, our reputation for cutting-edge legal scholarship, our leadership role in the legal community, and the high quality of life we afford our students. However, little known outside of the Yale Law School community, we hold another, unofficial distinction as the world’s most expensive all-you-can-eat buffet.
Let me explain how this unique buffet works. Our diners, let’s call them “students,” pay us a one-time door charge, we’ll refer to this as “tuition,” for eight months of non-stop feasting, known by some as an “academic year,” at our restaurant, “Yale Law School” in the vernacular. The price for this one-of-a-kind dining experience: $42,000.
Our buffet mainly consists of four stations: talks and workshops, student organization meetings, social gatherings, and “The Table of Plenty.” Talks and Workshops
Food is a recurring theme at the School’s many talks, workshops, and colloquia. Most events scheduled close to noon will provide lunch. Evening events will frequently include dinner or be followed by a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and drinks. A quick look at the calendar and my email shows at least 15 events in the past week that served food. Participate in heated discussions on current events or analyze the most recent theories in constitutional law while enjoying bagels with Barak or coffee with Kofi.
Cuisine most likely to be served: pizza, sandwiches, and wraps.
Student Organization Meetings
After filling up on all of those meals at the talks and workshops, it’s doubtful you’ll be hungry. However, in case you missed a meal or are still finding yourself a bit peckish, the student organizations are around to fill the void – in your stomach. Most student orgs meet weekly, usually in the evening. They feature stimulating conversation, opportunities to catch up with classmates who share your same interests, and ample quantities of food. Since most students belong to several orgs, it’s easy to see how these meetings can provide dinner all week long.
Cuisine most likely to be served: pizza, Thai, and Indian.
At some point in the term, you’re going to get tired of pizza (blasphemous in New Haven), wraps, Thai, and Indian. Thankfully, the School hosts purely social gatherings on a regular basis with slightly different cuisine than you’ll find at the talks, workshops, and student org meetings. For example, each Friday the Dean’s Office sponsors happy hour in the Dining Hall with free food, wine, and beer. The menu changes each week, but you’ll often find items like spicy buffalo wings, cheese and vegetable trays, and clam chowder. The Student Affairs Office also sponsors three or four events each term with really nice food. This term they hosted a gelato party with real Italian gelato, a wine and cheese tasting led by a local importer of fine wines and cheeses, and a sushi night during which 2400 pieces of sushi and sashimi were eaten (inhaled?) in 30 minutes.
Cuisine most likely to be served: nicer than you’re going to get at a talk, workshop, or org meeting.
The Table of Plenty
Some of you may be familiar with The Table. The Table is a nondescript, wooden table situated in the center of the School’s main hallway. Located at the building’s main architectural nexus, it’s –the– meeting spot for the Law School community. At lunch, and especially at dinner, The Table also becomes the central repository for much of the food remaining from the many talks, workshops, and student org meetings. Even if you didn’t attend one of these events, or didn’t like what they were serving, you can usually find a meal waiting for you at The Table.
Cuisine most likely to be served: leftovers. Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
Not included in the four “buffet stations” above are other occasions for feasting. Pub crawls, dinners with faculty at their homes, and homemade baked goods during exam period are some of the more notable opportunities. One of our first-year students blogs about his buffet experiences in our Student Perspectives Blog.
Although not a piece of advice offered by our Financial Aid Office, enterprising students find ways to make the most of their buffet privileges. It is quite easy for a student to eat almost all of his or her meals during the week at the Law School, dramatically reducing the food component of a standard student budget. So, when that tuition bill arrives in your e-mail, remember that $42,000 a year is not only buying you a world-class legal education, it’s your check for the most expensive buffet on the planet.
I have been out of school for several years and am concerned about my recommendations. While I will be able to secure a recommendation from my employer, I also have some recommendations from my undergraduate work filed with a credential service. Because these recommendations speak more to my academic ability and performance, would it be wise to include one from my undergraduate years, even though they are several years old?
YES. In fact, I would strongly advise you to include at least TWO academic recommendations, if at all possible. And if you have the option of submitting a third work reference or a third academic reference (note that we only require two, so I emphasize the word OPTION), I would go with the latter.
As I noted in a previous post
, we have a fairly unusual admissions process, which is faculty-driven. Yale Law School is an academically rigorous place to begin with, but given that we have professors making the bulk of admissions decisions on top of that, recommendations which speak to your academic ability will carry the most weight and influence in your application. In other words, professors care most about what other (surprise!) professors have to say about you.
In fact, in my experience, work references -- though they don't hurt -- don't add much to your application, either. That's not to say that your work experiences don't matter -- they do. But the value of most work experience comes in what you gleaned from it and how it has impacted your perspective and goals, and that's something that comes through best in your personal statement or 250-word essay.
This may go against the grain of what your prelaw advisors/"How to Get Into Law School" book/well-intentioned but underinformed friends and family tell you: namely, that you should try to give references that show that you are "well-rounded," and so having one from each area of your life -- college, work, volunteer -- is the best way to go. This may very well be true for other law schools. But the honest truth is that all else being equal, an applicant who has two or more academic references that attest to the fact that s/he is an intellectual superstar -- particularly across different disciplines relevant to law, like history, political science, economics, humanities, etc. -- will have an advantage over another applicant who only has one recommendation which speaks to academic strengths and another that says that s/he was a great team player.
Keep in mind that it is the detail provided in the reference, and not the grade that you received in the class, that matters most. This is a little hard to control since you will (if you are wise) waive your right to read the recommendation. But know that even a detailed reference from a TA who can give specific examples of your superior analytical ability, your writing, and the insights you were able to make into the subject material is preferable to a general, perfunctory reference from a big-name prof who gave you an A but can't remember what you look like. And someone who has worked with you over a period of time -- for example, a senior thesis advisor -- who can talk about a particular topic you've explored, the depth of your research, and the cogency of your argument, is an ideal recommender.
Some of you may have been out of school for a while and did not have an undergraduate credential service like C.L. If you really don't have someone who can write a strong academic reference for you, the next best thing is to get a work reference that speaks to the kinds of things I mentioned above: writing, analytical ability, logical reasoning (those sound weirdly familiar from another part of your application...). The closer this is to the legal world, the better (e.g., a judge or lawyer), but other employers can give the same kinds of information.
And if you are currently in school and planning to take time off before applying to law school, take the opportunity to approach your professors NOW, while your brilliance is still fresh in their minds, and get their references filed with LSAC
(with which you can get an account for five years). That way, when you finally do apply, your academic references will be only a mouse click away!
Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
268 College Street
If you’re looking for a movie-like, dimly lit lounge to kick
back with a cigar and glass of whiskey on the rocks, The Owl Shop is the place
for you! Not one of those packed bars
with scantily clad teenagers with fake IDs, The Owl Shop has a slightly older,
more law school/young professionals kind of crowd. And yes, you can smoke your cigar or
cigarette or pipe of choice indoors (a plus for some of you during those New Haven winters).
Complete with couches and lounge chairs, you can
people-watch as others strut on down to more clubby venues; you can even play a
game of chess! The music was mellow and jazzy
and the service was good. It was nice
not having to push my way to the bar through hordes of inebriated people.
Now, it’s possible that my affection for The Owl Shop is
partly due to the fact that I had also gone to The Playwright that same weekend
– and the two couldn’t be any more different.
Crowds of sweaty people bumping into you on the dance
Average age of 21?
People sloshing beer all over you? Check.
Disco ball and ear-splitting hip-hop music? Check.
Don’t get me wrong … I enjoy hip-hop and dancing and perhaps
there was even a day when The Playwright would have been my type of scene. But that day is not today, tomorrow, next
month, or next year. Today’s
recommendation is The Owl Shop!