After three years now at Yale Law School, I can confidently say that Alumni Weekend is my favorite part of the fall here. Alumni Weekend, naturally, is the annual reunion for YLS alums, bringing around 500 people every year to the school. While any alum from any year is welcome to come, reunion years in multiples of five are particularly encouraged to attend the many special events planned for them. This year brought everyone from the Class of 2007 to the Class of 1947 (!) to campus. During the weekend, alums participate in numerous educational panels covering various themes and developments in the law – and this year was a particularly special year because two events featured Justice Ginsburg, who spoke on equal protection generally and gender equality specifically. Beyond the panels, alums participate in several breakfasts, brunches, dinners, and lunches with all alums, alums just in their class, and even specifically with students.
As you can guess from that last sentence (and from the fact that, though still a student, Alumni Weekend is my favorite part of the fall), Alumni Weekend is not just about alumni. Students can get involved as well. They’re encouraged to attend the various educational panels (so I myself, along with many other classmates, were fortunate to hear Justice Ginsburg speak). They’re also encouraged to attend Breakfast Connections, through which current students are paired with alumni in their areas of interest. Through this program, I’ve gotten to meet several interesting alums, such as one alum who had served as an arbitrator for the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL. Finally, with the halls and classrooms bustling with alums for two days, interactions with students will just happen naturally. I’ve now at least three times introduced myself to a famous alum without recognizing it – and, let me tell you, hearing someone respond to “So what do you now?” with “I’m a U.S. Senator” is somewhat embarrassing (although we had a good laugh about it). This year, I also got to sing karaoke with the Class of 1972, who specifically requested a karaoke DJ for their reunion dinner. Incidentally, at that same dinner, I also met a federal judge who offered to help me if/when I decided to attempt entering the academic job market, given that he knew numerous faculty at the universities in my desired geographic region.
So what’s the moral of this story? One, YLS alums go on to do wonderful things in the world, both in their careers and, more broadly, their lives. That’s easy enough to see on paper – but law school (regardless of where one goes) can be a stressful, insular place, and it sure helps to be reminded that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Two, YLS alums care about other YLS alums – both current and future. They tend to look out for each other, case in point being the numerous offers of help I’ve received in the last three years. For all of these reasons, Alumni Weekend is my favorite part of YLS fall, and I can hardly wait to be back for my own 5-year reunion – and maybe even my 65th.