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Student Organizations and Journals, and Student Participation in Administration

Student Organizations and Journals

The Alliance for Diversity, an umbrella organization for all affinity groups, focuses on presenting a united coalition on measures of diversity advocacy, such as more diverse faculty hiring; better diversity outcomes with regard to journal admissions, clerkships, and postgraduate career paths; and a stated focus on fostering diversity and inclusion as Yale Law School values. The alliance also serves a social function by organizing cross-affinity-group social events, to help build community spirit among students of color.

The Yale Law School Chapter of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy aims to revitalize and transform the legal debate by restoring to a central place in American law the fundamental principles of respect for human dignity, protection of individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice.

The Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) supports the interests of students of Asian Pacific American and Native American descent and raises awareness of challenges facing minorities in the law. APALSA has historically shared strong ties with the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) and continues to serve as a community for students of Native American descent through the APALSA-NALSA alliance. APALSA also collaborates extensively with the South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA).

The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP) uses its remote representation model—originally developed to represent families while detained—to represent families in immigration courts nationwide. ASAP focuses on regions with few or no legal aid lawyers, using innovative methods and harnessing the talent of law student volunteers to scale efforts and expand pro bono capacity.

Barristers’ Union (see Thomas Swan Barristers’ Union).

The Black Law Students Association (BLSA), which is concerned with issues affecting members of the African diaspora, advances the interests of its members and the broader black community.

The Capital Assistance Project (CAP) matches YLS students with public defenders from around the country to provide research support for capital defense work. CAP also raises public awareness about death penalty and indigent defense related issues.

The Catholic Law Students Association (CLSA) promotes vigorous discussion of and growth in the Catholic faith at Yale Law School. The association meets regularly and sponsors social events, social justice projects, academic speakers, and devotional practices. The association also connects with other Catholic communities at Yale, including the St. Thomas More chaplaincy and Catholic student groups.

The J. Reuben Clark Law Society serves members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and others interested in participating in its discussions and activities.

First Generation Professionals (FGP) seeks to provide a safe and welcoming space for Yale Law School students who are the first in their families to pursue a professional degree—primarily serving those who come from low-income, working class, or non-white-collar backgrounds—to discuss and assist each other with their concerns as they navigate the environment of Yale Law School. Additionally, FGP advocates for policies that better meet the needs of its members and seeks to foster a broader conversation about class at Yale Law School.

The Green Haven Prison Project brings law students and inmates together for a seminar on legal and political issues concerning prisons.

Habeas Chorus is Yale Law School’s coed a cappella singing group.

The Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides start-up money for projects that protect the legal rights or interests of inadequately represented groups. It funds innovative projects that may have difficulty obtaining money from other sources due to the subject matter of the project or the approach taken by the project.

The International Community @ YLS, formerly Yale International Law Students Association (iYLS), is a group for all international students across all academic programs at Yale Law School. The group provides programming centered on career planning, immigration advocacy, and community building.

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a student-run organization with chapters at Yale Law School, New York University Law School, and Boalt School of Law at Berkeley working to improve the plight of international refugees. It was founded by students in the summer of 2008. IRAP’s mission is to facilitate the resettlement of refugees from abroad, improve U.S. policy toward the refugee crisis, and ease the transition of newly resettled refugees to American life.

The Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA) promotes the academic, professional, and political interests of Latina/o students at Yale Law School.

The Lowenstein Human Rights Project matches small teams of students with human rights organizations, other public interest NGOs, and governments to work on specific research, writing, and advocacy projects concerning human rights issues. The Lowenstein Project regularly works with leading U.S.-based human rights organizations as well as smaller organizations headquartered in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project is a collaborative teaching program that sends law students into local public high schools to teach Constitutional Law. Participants in this student-run organization also have the opportunity to coach their students in a national moot court competition in Philadelphia, the first round of which is run by the Yale chapter in New Haven.

The Mental Health Alliance is a newly formed student group that promotes mental health awareness, education, and advocacy at the Law School.

The Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association (MENALSA) provides a forum for engaging the Yale Law School community on the legal, political, social, and cultural realities of the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East, with particular focus on issues of discrimination, equality, citizenship, and human rights. It also serves as an institutional home and social network for law students of Middle Eastern and North African background or with an interest in the region.

The Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals is a competition in which each participant writes an extensive appellate brief and presents an appellate oral argument on a case scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA) serves as a vehicle for gathering Muslims and others interested in learning about Islamic legal issues and issues of concern to Muslims and other minorities.

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is dedicated to the need for basic change in the structure of our political and economic system.

The Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) supports the interests of students of Native American descent and works to advance and advocate for legal and cultural issues affecting Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and American Indian Nations. NALSA is a member of the APALSA-NALSA alliance.

YLS OutLaws is an organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members of the Law School community.

The Petey Greene Project envisions a world in which all incarcerated people have access to high-quality academic programs and all people recognize their stake in supporting education in correctional facilities. Tutors will work in classes that are equivalent to grades 1–4, grades 5–8, and grades 9–12. The ultimate aim is to prepare prisoners to achieve their GED.

Project for Law and Education at Yale (PLEY) brings together law students (some former teachers, some not) who are passionate about public school reform in the United States. The organization sponsors a reading group, brings in guest speakers, and organizes other events devoted to education policy and the law.

Public Interest Volunteer Opportunities (PIVO) is a student organization at Yale Law School that matches all types of public interest organizations in need of pro bono assistance with Yale law students who want to work on important issues and build legal experience.

The Rebellious Lawyering Conference (RebLaw) is an annual, student-run conference that brings together practitioners, law students, and community activists to discuss progressive approaches to law and social change.

The Society of Committed and/or Older, Wiser Law Students (SCOWLS), formerly ALSSO and OWLS, is a group that caters to the social, academic, and other needs of those who have serious commitments that fall outside class.

The South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA) is an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of and engagement with South Asian American and South Asian cultural, legal, political, and social justice issues.

ThinkDifferent is an association of students who have learned to thrive with nontraditional learning styles or learning impairments. It is committed to providing a supportive, collaborative environment that helps students develop new and innovative ways to thrive in law school.

The Thomas Swan Barristers’ Union organizes an annual intramural mock trial competition and sponsors a national trial advocacy team.

The Temporary Restraining Order Project (TRO Project) staffs an office at the courthouse to assist individuals seeking temporary restraining orders.

The Yale Animal Law Society (a.k.a. Student Animal Legal Defense Fund) works to reduce animal suffering by fostering a community of concerned students, advocating for anti-cruelty legislation, providing resources on animal law, and reaching out to the wider Law School community.

The Yale Entertainment and Sports Law Association (YESLA) is an organization for law students interested in pursuing careers in sports or entertainment law.

The Yale Environmental Law Association (YELA) aims to build on Yale Law School’s legacy as an important center for groundbreaking environmental thinking by drawing attention to all aspects of environmental law and related fields. It supports YLS community events, speakers and reading groups, and opportunities to connect and collaborate with other campus groups, and it promotes sustainability in the use of Law School facilities. YELA places special emphasis on the interdisciplinary, multifaceted character of environmental law and its relevance to a wide range of legal and policy issues.

The Yale Federalist Society (FedSoc) is a group of conservative and libertarian law students dedicated to fostering discussion of and debate on issues of law and public policy.

The Yale Food Law Society (FoodSoc) is a nonpartisan community that promotes the study of and engagement with food and agriculture law and policy. FoodSoc advocates an approach that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable. Food work brings together scholars, activists, policy makers, and professionals, and the society represents students directly interested in the food system as well as those interested in how food law touches and concerns their primary area(s) of interest in the law.

The Yale Health Law and Policy Society (YHeLPS) creates interdisciplinary opportunities for students to learn about health law and policy by hosting speaker events, providing career support to students for summer and postgraduation jobs, and developing experiential learning opportunities that will enable students to actively participate in the field.

Yale Human Rights & Development Law Journal provides a broad range of perspectives on issues at the intersection of human rights and development. The journal is edited by students and advised by members of the Law School faculty.

The Yale Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA) hosts Shabbat and holiday meals, arranges discussions on topics of Jewish and legal interest, and sponsors action in the public interest.

The Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics is an interdisciplinary journal whose staff members come from all of Yale’s graduate and professional schools. The journal publishes pieces on many topics, ranging from civil rights enforcement in health care delivery to bioterrorism.

The Yale Journal of International Law contains articles and comments written by scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and students on a wide range of topics in public and private international law. Published twice a year, the journal is a primary forum for the discussion and analysis of contemporary international legal problems.

The Yale Journal of Law and Feminism publishes works concerning a broad range of legal issues as they pertain to gender, sexuality, or feminist theory.

The Yale Journal of Law & Technology offers its readers a cutting-edge, dynamic environment in which to acquire and produce knowledge about the interface between law and technology. The journal publishes scholarly articles, incisive think pieces, and lectures and written pieces by guests of the Law & Technology Society as well as other scholars and professionals.

The Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities explores the intersections among law, the humanities, and the humanistic social sciences. It is a biannual publication edited by students from the Law School and several graduate departments in the University, and advised by a board of distinguished scholars.

The Yale Journal on Regulation is a national forum for legal, political, and economic analysis of current issues in regulatory policy.

The Yale Law & Business Society (YLBS) is an organization dedicated to promoting the interaction among law, policy, and business.

The Yale Law & Policy Review publishes pieces on a wide range of issues at the intersection of law and policy, including affirmative action, campaign finance reform, urban policing, education policy, and the war on terrorism.

The Yale Law & Technology Society (TechSoc) is a nonpartisan organization that fosters Yale’s growing community, debate, and scholarship at the intersection of law and technology.

The Yale Law Christian Fellowship (YLCF) is a student-led, nondenominational organization formed to encourage spiritual growth in the Law School community.

The Yale Law Democrats connects students with progressive campaigns, politicians, and policy projects. Its mission is to bring exceptional speakers to campus and connect students with government jobs and other Democrats across the country.

The Yale Law Journal is one of the nation’s leading legal periodicals. The Journal publishes articles, essays, and book reviews by legal faculty and other professionals, as well as student notes and comments. An editorial board of second- and third-year students manages and produces eight issues of the Journal per year. The Journal’s online YLJ forum features original essays on timely and novel legal developments as well as responses to articles from the print Journal.

The Yale Law National Security Group (NSG) helps to foster a nonpartisan community of students focused on national security and international affairs by hosting experts and practitioners in the field and conducting events designed to deepen students’ knowledge of and exposure to national security issues.

The Yale Law Republicans promotes conservative values, explores and discusses Republican Party philosophies, and conducts political outreach.

The annual Yale Law Revue is a collection of satirical songs, skits, and vignettes, written, staged, and performed by law students.

Yale Law Social Entrepreneurs (YLSE) encourages students to get involved in the emerging field of social entrepreneurship and to think critically and constructively about how both for-profit and nonprofit initiatives can drive social change and contribute to society.

Yale Law Students for Life (YLSL) is a nonpartisan, nonreligious organization dedicated to promoting the dignity of human life at every stage: to raise awareness of practices that threaten human life; to engage in thoughtful discussion of such practices as embryo-destructive research, abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty; to provide a forum for discussion of how a variety of human life issues relate to the law; and to advocate for policies that affirm and protect human life.

Yale Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) educates, organizes, and supports law students to ensure that a new generation of advocates will be prepared to protect and expand reproductive rights as basic civil and human rights. The focus is not on debating the merits of the pro-choice position but rather the exploration of how to advance women’s reproductive rights in the most effective way.

The Yale Law Veterans Association is a nonpartisan group seeking to promote discussion on military and national security issues that affect the Yale community.

Yale Law Women (YLW) aims to advance the status of women at Yale Law School and in the legal profession at large. Its programming gives women access to resources, professional development opportunities, mentorship, and a supportive community that will assist them in pursuing their professional and personal goals.

The Yale Political Law Society (YPLS) provides a nonpartisan forum for students interested in learning about the growing field of political law. YPLS sponsors speaker events, conferences, reading groups, and other programming on issues including voting rights, redistricting, campaign finance, lobbying, and governmental ethics. It also helps interested students who wish to form connections with election law organizations and consider careers in the field.

The Yale Project for Civil Rights draws attention to the legal practitioners who craft litigation strategies to overcome discrimination through the courts.

The Yale Society of International Law aims to provide a comprehensive platform for YLS students to pursue their academic and professional interests in international affairs and international law.

Students may list student organization events in the online Calendar of Events (https://law.yale.edu/calendar).

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Student Participation in Administration

Students participate in the administration of the Law School as follows:

  • 1. There are eleven elected representatives of the student body—three from each J.D. class, one representing the LL.M. and M.S.L. classes, and one representing the J.S.D. class—entitled to be present at Faculty meetings and to participate fully in the deliberation of the Faculty during these meetings, although the student representatives do not vote.* Meetings of the Faculty typically are convened to address academic policy matters. Meetings of other governing bodies of the Law School—such as the Governing Board and the Expanded Governing Board, which consist of tenured, tenure-track, and clinical faculty and deans—are often devoted to faculty hiring matters, and student representatives do not participate in those meetings.
  • 2. Student representatives are elected for a term of one academic year, commencing with the beginning of the fall term. Representatives for the second- and third-year classes are elected during the spring of the academic year preceding their term of office. Representatives for the first-year and graduate classes are elected at the beginning of the fall term of the academic year for which they will serve. Elections for all classes are held under the auspices of the student representatives in office at the time of the election.
  • 3. The elected student representatives, and other students selected by appropriate procedures, participate in the work of standing committees of the Faculty and, where appropriate, in the work of ad hoc committees. The form and nature of such participation depend upon the character of the work of each committee. All elected student representatives serve on committees.
  • 4. Yale Law School invites students to share any concerns they might have about the Law School’s curriculum, particularly any issues that directly implicate the School’s compliance with the ABA’s Accreditation Standards. Students having such a concern should submit the concern, in writing, to the associate dean for student affairs, who will work with the appropriate administrator to address the issue. The associate dean for student affairs, or another associate dean, as appropriate, will keep a record of all submissions and their resolutions.
*This entitlement is subject to the limitation that on occasion the faculty may feel it necessary to convene as Faculty in Executive Session. In such an event the dean will, to the extent deemed appropriate, advise the student representatives of the holding of the executive session in advance and invite the student representatives to present to the faculty their views on the subject under consideration; under any circumstances student representatives will be advised of the holding of such meeting promptly thereafter. It is, however, the purpose and expectation of the student body and of the faculty that the academic policy business of the School will normally be conducted in meetings in which student representatives participate.

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Student Feedback Regarding ABA Standards

Yale Law School is an ABA-accredited law school and is subject to the ABA Standards for Approval of Law Schools. The ABA Standards are available at www.americanbar.org/groups/legal_education/resources/standards.html.

Any current Yale Law School student who wishes to bring a formal complaint against the Law School alleging a significant problem that directly implicates the School’s program of legal education and its compliance with the ABA Standards should submit the complaint, signed and in writing, to the associate dean of student affairs, the associate dean for academic affairs, or if appropriate another of the Law School’s associate or assistant deans.

The complaint should identify the ABA Standard(s) in question and describe the issue with enough specificity to enable the appropriate Law School associate dean, assistant dean, or other senior administrator to identify and, as appropriate, investigate and respond to the merits of the complaint. The complaint should include the student’s University-provided yale.edu e-mail address, telephone number, and street/mailing address to allow further communication about the matter.

The associate dean or assistant dean who receives the complaint will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within fourteen (14) business days, via a message sent to the complaining student’s University-provided yale.edu e-mail address.

Within thirty (30) days of acknowledgment of receipt of the complaint, the associate dean or assistant dean who received the complaint, or if appropriate another of the Law School’s senior administrators, will either meet with the complaining student or respond to the merits of the complaint in writing. The complaining student will either receive a substantive response to the complaint or information about what steps (if any) are being taken by the Law School to address or further investigate the merits of the complaint. If the matter requires further investigation, then within fourteen (14) business days of the investigation’s conclusion, the complaining student will receive either a substantive response to the complaint or information about what steps (if any) are being taken by the Law School to address the merits of the complaint.

Within ten (10) business days of receipt of either a substantive response or information about what steps (if any) are being taken by the Law School to address the merits of the complaint, a complaining student may appeal any decision or course of action regarding the initial complaint to the dean of the Law School. The dean’s decision(s) regarding any appeal will be final.

At the discretion of the dean, the procedures detailed above and associated time constraints may be postponed during times when the Law School is in recess until the following regular session of the Law School.

The Office of Student Affairs and the Dean’s Office will keep the original complaint and a summary of the response/investigation, appeal, and final disposition of the complaint for a period of eight years from the date of final resolution of the complaint.

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