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Health Law at YLS

M.L., 1L

As a student with a relatively rare career interest in health law, it worried me that Yale, as a smaller school, didnít have an official set of faculty or programs.  However, it didnít take me long to realize that I had had nothing to worry about.
From my first day in New Haven, I found myself very involved with the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics (YJHPLE).  It surprised me that one of the premier health law journals in the country was so accessible to first-year students, but being at a small school opens up opportunities to be involved in projects that might be harder to find elsewhere.  As a member of the board now (and still in my first year of law school), I filter through the submissions that come in to our journal, select a few for more detailed review, and synthesize our teamís input as we reach a decision about which articles to publish.  Having access to and involvement in the fieldís most cutting-edge scholarship is an opportunity Iíve genuinely enjoyed, and being at Yale makes these opportunities available.  This level of involvement isnít unique to health law, either Ė thereís the Journal of Law and Humanities, or Law and Feminism, or any of a number of other journals which are always seeking student involvement.
Recently, YJHPLE and the Career Center have combined to sponsor a few health law career events.  This is one of the best examples of the flexibility and responsiveness of the YLS administration: despite not having an official department for health law, they helped student groups host events like these.  Just as importantly, itís wonderful to have the chance to tap into the YLS alumni network for such events Ė two prominent YLS alums gave a talk highlighting the importance and relevance of health law while discussing their career trajectories and helping us make contacts in the field.
I also learned quickly that law students are always in demand university-wide.  Faculty in other departments, like political science or epidemiology, often post flyers in the law school looking for law student research assistants.  If Yale Law doesnít have what youíre looking for, thereís a good chance that Yale University does somewhere.  Usually, law students have excellent access to any such opportunities. Because the law school has such a prominent place in the university, we rarely have to compete against other graduate students for these projects.
Finally, our visiting Health Law professor is enthusiastic and eager to spend time with students.  Largely again because of our small size, heís been able to devote his full attention to several research assistants, including overseeing a couple projects Iíve been doing on physician workforce issues and organ transplant issues.  Having that kind of one-on-one mentorship and attention is exactly why I came to YLS Ė and itís largely enabled by being at a small school.