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YLS Hoedown and Other Events You’d Never Expect in Law School


R.I., 3L

I walked into the YLS courtyard and was greeted with a bluegrass band and a loud voice booming, “Swing your partner!” Dozens of YLS students filled the courtyard for the first ever YLS Hoedown. Regardless of experience or ability level (I have zero rhythm), anyone could participate and learn the basics of contra dance. Those who were not so adventurous could watch, listen to the music, and enjoy free food and beverages.

The Hoedown was made possible by the Zelia and Oscar Ruebhausen/Debevoise & Plimpton Student Fund, an incredible YLS resource that awards grants to students or student organizations that have a new proposed activity, idea, or initiative that represents “an incremental support for students’ intellectual activity, social motivation, or creative interest” or supports “productive interaction among the students and the Yale Law School faculty.” It has not disappointed. When I first saw the e-mail for a two-hour class on “Law and Finger Painting” my 1L year, I thought it must be a joke. A week later, student masterpieces from the class were adorning the hallway outside the dining room. In addition to Finger Painting and the Hoedown, the fund has recently sponsored a wealth of other amazing events, most of which one would never associate with law school.

Last year the fund sponsored two events near and dear to my heart (and taste buds): Contempt of Cork: Perspectives from the Wine World and the International Food Festival. Students were able to take a wine class from a world renowned Sommelier, who also happened to be a YLS grad. In addition to learning the finer distinctions between wines, the class also covered the “how to not look like a fool at your law firm dinner” basics, which I put to good use last summer. The International Food Festival featured cuisine from around the world made by YLS students. The menu included tasty dishes from Italy, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Hungary, and more!

Another favorite event of mine made possible by the fund was the Student-to-Student Conversation Series. Different YLS students who had done amazing things before law school, such being Special Assistant to the President's Special Envoy to Sudan or President Bush’s speechwriter, talked about their experiences and answered questions. One of the best things about YLS is that your classmates are some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. This series really showcased the range of experiences people bring to YLS and allowed a forum to discuss them.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!