The Envelope Please…

by Allison Gorsuch ’15

Every year, Yale Law Women nominate faculty and staff members who have gone above and beyond in their contributions to student life here at Yale Law School. From these nominations, the student body votes a winner for both the Yale Law Women Faculty Excellence Award and the Yale Law Women Staff Excellence Award.   Both nominated and winning faculty members receive accolades for engaging classroom discussion, supporting students in and out of the classroom, and for using the YLW Speak Up! guidelines to encourage equitable classroom participation. Nominated and winning staff members often receive recognition for their indispensible wisdom, tireless support of various student activities, and simply being a friendly, positive force in the law school halls.

This year was no different. Professor Roberta Romano won the Faculty Excellence Award for her engaging classroom teaching and exuberant support of students interested in corporate law. In an unprecedented move, The Entire Law Library Staff won the Staff Excellence Award in recognition of their unparalleled communal work this year to engage students in the life of the law library, from starting the student library advisory council to offering homemade baked goods during exams.

2014 YLW Award Ceremonies
2014 YLW Award Ceremonies

In addition, the Yale Law Women Executive Board awarded the third YLW Leadership Award to Adrien Weibgen, class of 2014. With this award, YLW honored Adrien’s contributions to furthering the mission of YLW like welcoming 1Ls with a diversity training, circulating a compiled guide of tips called “Yale Law Secrets” to the student body, and promoting healthy dialogue about race, gender, class, and other important issues at the law school.

2014 YLW Award Ceremonies
2014 YLW Award Ceremonies

We couldn’t be prouder to honor our winners this year for their dedication to improving student life here at YLS through great teaching, crucial support, and dedicated advocacy to equality. Keep an eye out next year to catch a faculty member or staff member going above and beyond – and maybe it will be their name in the winning envelope!

Women’s Campaign School Scholarship

We are thrilled to share with you the exciting news that Yale Law Women is launching a scholarship to enable current students to attend the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.

Nearly a century after being given the franchise, women make up only 20% of the Senate and 18.2% of the House. These disparities are troubling, but they don’t have to persist. Last year, Yale Law Women launched an effort to inspire and support more women students at YLS to consider careers in politics. We created a speaker series, called Women in Politics, to offer women students insight into the challenges and rewards of a political career, to provide practical advice, and to draw the attention of all students to the underrepresentation of women in politics and the valuable perspectives that female elected officials bring to our nation’s public policy.

Yet we want to do more than just introduce current students to women alumnae. We want to connect them with opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills to run for office and advance their careers in public service. And so, Yale Law Women, in partnership with the Yale Law School Development Office, is seeking to raise $10,000 to send YLS students to the Women’s Campaign School at Yale. The Women’s Campaign School is a non-partisan political campaign-training program. Over five intense and immersive days, women learn about campaign structure, polling, fundraising, media relations, crisis communication, ethics, and grassroots volunteer management, among other topics. The experience culminates in a mock campaign presentation. You can read more about WCS at

Jessica Samuels, a current 2L and Chair of the Yale Law Women Board, attended the Women’s Campaign School last summer, and had this to say: “The experience was transformative. It inspired me to consider running, and provided practical information about how to set up and execute a successful campaign. WCS also connected me to a network of women with similar aspirations. This is truly a unique opportunity to encourage and equip women to run for (and win!) elected office.”

We would love for you to join us in making this very special opportunity possible for YLS women students. Should you wish to contribute, click here. Please mark the gift designation as “Unrestricted,” and enter “For Yale Law Women/Women’s Campaign School” in the comments box.

If you have any questions about the logistics of giving, please contact Eric Stoddard, Director of the Yale Law School Fund, at or (203) 432-6082.

Gretchen Rubin visits YLS

YLW was thrilled and honored to welcome a very distinguished alumna back to the halls of 127 Wall Street last week: Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book The Happiness Project. During a lunch event cosponsored by YLW and the Yale Law Journal, Gretchen spoke candidly to a room packed with law students, staff, and administrators about her time at Yale Law School and her decision to leave the law and pursue a career in writing.

Gretchen’s decision to give up her bar membership and become an author may have been particularly surprisingly to some, given the dazzling success she had during her brief stint as a law student and lawyer. She was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal and after law school landed a coveted clerkship with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In fact, it was during her clerkship that Gretchen realized that she really wanted to be a writer. At the YLW/YLJ event she recounted noticing that the other Supreme Court clerks always wanted to talk about the law and pending cases and chose to spend their spare time reading articles in law journals—whereas Gretchen spent the little free time she had researching her first book.

Gretchen suggested that the lesson of her experience is to “do what you do.” In other words, if you’re not sure what you should be doing with your career, pay attention to what you do in your spare time. What are you drawn to when you have a few moments to yourself? Chances are good that those activities make you happy, and that incorporating those activities or ways of being in the world into your future career would make you happier, too.

Learn more about Gretchen and The Happiness Project on her website.

YLW presents Speak Up to the NYU Law Women Summit

Yale Law Women was thrilled to present our Speak Up report to the NYU Law Women Summit on February 28, 2014.  Lauren Hartz, YLS ’14 and former Chair of Yale Law Women, discussed the context, methodology, findings, and recommendations of Speak Up during the afternoon panel entitled “Translating Success from the Classroom to the Conference Room.”  Lauren was joined by Irene Dorzback, Associate Dean of New York University School of Law; Barbara Becker, Chair of the Diversity Committee at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, Professor of Law at NYU Law and the Faculty Director of the Academic Careers Program; and Sarah Olson, Chief Diversity Officer of Sidley Austin.  After Lauren’s presentation, the panelists offered their thoughts on gender dynamics in legal education, and how women’s experiences affect their professional careers years down the road.  The panelists expressed concern at the continued gender disparities in law firms and legal academia—especially in top positions—but were hopeful that continued awareness-raising, cultural change, and programming for men and women alike will lead to exciting progress for our generation of lawyers.

Also during the panel, Professor Marotta-Wurgler mentioned that she had presented at a Yale Law Women workshop a few years ago, and she noted that workshopping a paper with a group of women was transformative for her academic career.  She commented that as a legal academic, she is often completely surrounded by men, and that engaging with a group of women law students was a unique and empowering experience.

You can watch a recording of the panel here.  Lauren’s presentation begins around 17:00, and Professor Marotta-Wurgler’s comments about participating in a YLW workshop begin around 35:00.

Thank you to NYU Law Women for inviting YLW to present Speak Up!