10 Things You Didn’t Know About Yale Law School

Yale Law School is widely considered the top law school in the United States and it is located in New Haven, Connecticut. It has an extremely selective admissions process because of its small size, and it is one of the most prestigious educational establishments in the country. Although this law school is well known, there are many facts that people do not know about this university. Here are ten interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Yale Law School.

1. The Original Yale Law School Was Founded in the Early 1800s

Originally, Yale Law School was called New Haven Law School and it was founded in the early 1800s. At that time, people learned law by becoming an apprentice at a lawyer’s office. Seth Staples unofficially founded the law school when he began training students. Not only did he have a lawyer’s office, but he also had an exceptional library that supported his teaching.

2. The Law School Affiliated with Yale University From the 1820s to the 1840s

Gradually, the New Haven Law School affiliated with nearby Yale University. This affiliation took place between the 1820s and the 1840s. In 1842, law students began receiving their degrees from Yale University

3. The First Full-Time Dean Was Appointed in 1873

Francis Wayland III was the first full-time Dean of Yale Law School and he was appointed in 1873. He held this position for 30 years until he retired in 1903. He died the following year.

4. Heather K. Gerken Was Appointed as the Dean in 2017

In 2017, Heather K. Gerken was appointed as the Dean and the Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School. In her role as a professor, she teaches election law. She also runs the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project. She was not a student of Yale Law School herself as she studied at Princeton University and then the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

5. There Are Over One Million Print Volumes in the Lillian Goldman Law Library

The Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School is one of the largest law libraries in the United States as it has more than one million print volumes. The library also provides unparalleled access to both domestic and international law databases.

6. Their Students Are Diverse

The class of 2021 has 204 students and the diversity of these students reflects society today. 48 percent of the students are women and 46 percent are students of color. 27 percent of the cohort are first-generation professionals, while nine percent are the first member of their family to attend college.

7. Students Come from Far and Wide

Not only do students from across the United States attend Yale Law School, but they also come from international destinations. The class of 2021 come from 36 states in the United States as well as from other countries. They have attended 77 different undergraduate institutions, they have collectively lived in 63 different countries, and they can speak 28 different languages between them.

8. Two United States Presidents Are Yale Law School Alumni

There are many alumni of Yale Law School who have pursued a career in politics and who have held a position in the United States government. Most, notably, there are two alumni who went on to become Presidents of the United States. The first was Gerald Ford who graduated from Yale in 1941. He was the President from 1974 to 1977. The second was Bill Clinton, who graduated in 1973. He was the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001.

9. Yale Law School Offers a Wide Range of Study Options

The university offers more than 180 courses and there are various opportunities for independent research and writing. There are 30 clinics available and approximately 75 percent of the students take these clinics. Programs include J.D., L.L.M., J.S.D., Ph.D., and M.S.L. There is also a range of joint degrees available. These include J.D.-M.B.A., J.D.-Ph.D., and J.D.-M.A.

10. Three International Presidents Are Also United States Alumni

There are also three presidents of other countries who are alumni of Yale Law School. Most recently, Peter Mutharika, the President of the Republic of Malawi since 2014, graduated from Yale Law School. In 1949, the 5th President of Germany, Karl Carstens graduated from this university. Jose P. Laurel, the 3rd President of the Philippines from 1943 to 1945, graduated from Yale Law School in 1920.


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