Here's to the Women!
The first few weeks of 1L year are extremely harried. There are a slew of welcome events, happy hours, chances to hang out with your small group, attempts to learn how to read cases, and extracurricular activities, not to mention trying to remember everyone’s names! It seems you are going 100 miles per minute. I know for me, I felt I was the only one who didn’t have my life together. I felt so alone until about the third week of school, when one of my favorite events occurs each year. As one of its community-building events, Yale Law Women throws a dinner for all women of the 1L class, plus all the female faculty and staff. Last year’s dinner was hosted by Professor Heather Gerken at her house. The 1L females peeled ourselves from the library to load the buses that shuttled us to Professor Gerken’s house. At her beautiful home, Yale Law Women had prepared a catered dinner for us. Faculty and staff milled among us as if one of us. Conversation flowed easily and it was the first time I remembered talking about something other than law school since arriving!
After everyone had eaten, we all gathered in the living room. Professor Gerken stood up and told us that the female faculty and staff were on hand to answer any questions we may have had -- no questions were off limits. At first we were timid, but pretty soon hands were shooting up as people asked questions from how to get over nervousness when being cold called to how to navigate the dating scene at Yale Law. Before long, the hundred or so women in the room were laughing together like old friends. The faculty and staff spoke anecdotally and honestly about their experiences as women in the legal field. It was the first time of the year I felt completely at ease in law school. I looked around the room and realized how lucky I was. Here I was sitting in the house of one of the nation’s leading experts on election law and voting rights, while professors and deans demystified the law school experience for me. Honestly, where else does this happen?