A Note on the Law School’s Architecture
The Sterling Law Building, which houses the Law School, occupies one city block at the heart of Yale University in downtown New Haven. Constructed in 1929-31, Yale Law School was modeled on the English Inns of Court. The Law School is built in the Collegiate Gothic style. It is embellished inside and out with stone sculptures, wood carvings, and stained glass medallions that focus on symbols of law and justice. These include the main characters in legal dramas (judges, lawyers, defendants, etc.), scenes of adjudication and punishment, famous legal figures from cultures around the world (ranging from King Solomon and Confucius to Charlemagne), and famous legal scholars.
1.) Start in the Admissions Office – The Admissions Office is located in Room 175-179, which is in the Ruttenberg Hall wing (133 Wall Street). Please stop by to sign-in. You are welcome to pick up a Viewbook containing information about admissions and YLS, as well as specific subject-area brochures, outside the door to the Admissions Office.
2.) Courtyard – Exit the Admissions Office, turn left, go down a short flight of stairs, and go out the door to the Law School Courtyard. Students, faculty, and staff use the Courtyard to study, meet, and relax. Many events, including YLS community picnics and occasionally classes, are held in the Courtyard. YLS students have more opportunities than you might expect of the average law student to study in the sunlight and smell the flowers because of the School’s less competitive grading policy. Traditional letter grades are not used, and the School computes neither class rank nor GPA.
3.) “The Table” – Enter the main Law School building through the double doors located in the middle of the covered walkway. Go up a short flight of stairs to the Main Hallway and you’ll find The Table, a central meeting place for the YLS community. This is a great place to talk to students about their Law School experience.
4.) Classrooms – To the right of The Table is Room 127, the Law School’s largest classroom. Many Law School events and lectures are held here. Smaller seminar rooms can be found directly behind the Student Lounge (described below). Wireless internet and electrical outlets are available at every seat in the Law School.
5.) Seminar Rooms – Proceed past the Registrar’s Office and turn left. This hallway contains many of the seminar rooms where first-term “small groups” meet. Each year, YLS offers about 35 seminars of fewer than 20 students.
6.) Student Lounge – Continue halfway down this hallway and on your left is the Student Lounge, another gathering place, where a big screen TV is available for viewing major events (Presidential debates, World Series, etc.). Next to the Student Lounge is the Alumni Reading Room, where students find a quiet space to read and relax between classes. The Alumni Reading Room has portraits of notable YLS alums, including former President Clinton and President and Justice Taft.
7.) Lillian Goldman Law Library – Walk through the Student Lounge back to the Main Hallway and go up the stairs to the 3rd floor to the Law School library’s main entrance. The library has six levels and houses one of the world’s finest collections of printed legal materials. The main reading room where many students have carrels is an impressive space dominated by large Gothic windows with stained glass medallions.
8.) Levinson Auditorium – Go back down the stairs to the Main Hallway and turn left. At the end of the Main Hallway on the right is the Levinson Auditorium, where many of the larger Law School programs and events take place. It has hosted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and philosopher Jurgen Habermas, as well as the final round of the Moot Court competition and Law Revue, the end-of-year student parody show.
9.) Dining Hall – At the end of the Main Hallway turn left and at the end of the hall (you will pass the signs for the public restrooms on your right) is the Law School’s Dining Hall. The Dining Hall is generally open weekdays from 8am to 7pm but closes at 3:30pm on Fridays. Hot meals, drinks, and snacks are available à la carte. This is another great place to talk to current Law School students.
Touring Yale University:
Yale University’s Visitor Information Center (149 Elm Street) runs daily walking tours of the Yale Campus that last about an hour and twenty minutes. Tours depart from the Center at 10:30am and 2pm on weekdays and at 1:30pm on weekends. These tours are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Visitor Information Center at (203) 432-2300 or visit their website at www.yale.edu/visitor.
• If you are visiting on a weekend, administrative offices including the Admissions Office and the Registrar will be closed.
• Public restrooms are available next to the Dining Hall (restrooms are on the lower level).