As I noted before, your year at The Yale Law School will be an altogether transformative experience (see Desperation through Transformation). However, even if, by the end of ten meerkaty months, you may well be a true Yalie, (J)diced and battered, you will still be somewhat of an alien to the JD community.
Combining these two traits you will have become a YALIEN.
(I took this selfie early this afternoon after another attack by the cookie monster. The Grand Cook-I-nquisitor had shoved so many cookies down my throat that, in lack of oxygen, I turned green. If you look more closely, you will also notice that I am wrestling with some cookies trying to make their way back up to where they came from.)
An episode that confirmed that – even after many meerkaty months – it is not always easy to connect to the busy JD-crowd occurred in the wake of another round in the NAME GAME: Pauli Murray, after whom one of the new residential colleges will be named, had been a proud recipient of a JSD (juridical science doctor) degree from The Yale Law School. This small fact stirred a storm of self-congratulation (another WALL candy storm) by some law school officials and students. After the tenth email celebrating YLS for its influential former student, one of the current JSD-candidates, annoyed by the self congratulatory tone, dared to challenge the WALL by asking what in the world this strange “S” in JSD stood for. It sure must have been a typing error. From all she knew, The Yale Law School only awarded JD and PhD degrees.
Hilariously enough, the implicit complaint about the invisibility of the graduate program in the eyes of many JD students didn’t stay unanswered, nor was anyone calling her bluff. Quite to the contrary, one JD, with the earnest eagerness of a choir boy, even did some research and sent around a link to Wikipedia explaining the JSD to be “an advanced research degree, equivalent to a PhD, mostly awarded to non-American raised lawyers”. This piece of research perfectly proved the point: Many JDs don’t take any notice of what else is going on in their law school. To them you will remain YALIENS.
This, however, will not be an actual problem for you. There will be enough LLM, JSD, and MSL students as well as visiting researchers sharing your fate, many of whom you will soon call your friends. This personal closeness is one of the great advantages of being at Yale: Your world-spanning post-LLM-network may not be as impressive as that of a Harvard graduate. However, by the end of the year you will have most certainly found a bustling group of true friends from all around the world. The intensity of the LLM experience at Yale (see YALE’S DRIVEN-NESS) also translates into the personal realm: With the same speed at which people (pre)tend to read here (see THE READING MYTH)
what were mere (Y)ALIENS will soon be your FRIENDS.