Yale Law School Modernizes Legal Studies Curriculum with New Tsai Leadership Program


Last Wednesday, Yale Law School announced a new program that will expand opportunities for its graduates to be better equipped to meet the global challenges of the 21st century.

Contributing journalist

Lukas Flippo, editor-in-chief

Yale Law School opened a new chapter in its educational framework last Wednesday with the launch of the Joseph C. Tsai Leadership Program, which will train students in real-world leadership in the private and public sectors.

New program aims to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century through a combination of new courses and professional development opportunities. The program was made possible by donations from the alumni of Joseph Tsai ’86 LAW ’90, Clara Wu Tsai, Eugene Ludwig LAW ’73, Carol Ludwig, Michael Chae LAW ’97 and Alexa Bator Chae LAW ’97. The amount of donations was not disclosed. The Comprehensive Leadership Program has two streams, the Chae Initiative and the Ludwig Program, which prepare students for leadership in the private and public sectors, respectively.

“While our basic model does not change, the Tsai Leadership Program will allow us to build on this legacy to expand and modernize the curriculum for the 21st century, infusing the law school with strong professional training opportunities. and harness the power of our extraordinary alumni. community, ”Heather Gerken, dean of Yale Law School, wrote to News. “Our goal is to train all of our students for their last job, not just their first. We want to ensure that our graduates are high-caliber thinkers prepared for the practical and moral decisions they will face, no matter what career path they choose.

Gerken explained that this program is the result of many conversations she has had with alumni on trips across the country. She said law school alumni recognize that our changing society now demands that graduates have a broader professional knowledge and skill base than they can get from “traditional legal education. “.

Alumni who have funded this program with their donations have led successful careers in their respective fields. Tsai is the co-founder and executive vice president of the Alibaba group and Chae is currently the chief financial officer of the Blackstone group.

Gerken said the law school already has an “inaugural course list” offered this year and is actively hiring staff for the program.

The curriculum for the program was jointly developed by Gerken and the law school, and voted on by the law school. The Law School Leadership Advisory Council, a group that includes Tsai, Ludwig, Chae and 20 other law school alumni, were available as a “thinking partner” as Gerken and law school professors developed the program, according to the website advice. Gerken stressed that the Council is “not a governance body”.

“Curriculum decisions have always rested with the faculty and will always be with the faculty,” Gerken wrote. “In keeping with our tradition, all courses, including those supported by the leadership program, must be voted on by the faculty. “

The Tsai Leadership Program provides resources to enhance the skills of students and prepare them to be “agents of change” in their various career paths, said Gerken. Building on the traditions of the law school, Gerken said the program will help ensure graduates know how to tackle contemporary and future technological challenges.

Law professor John Morley ’06 said the program will enhance students’ “non-legal leadership skills” through one-on-one academic and professional advice, as well as aspects of alumni mentoring.

“We have a simple model: teach our students to question everything,” Gerken wrote. “Make sure they think in rigorous analytical and ethical terms. Allow them to pursue an extraordinarily broad set of career paths. We believe that our core model, combined with this innovative new program, will provide all law students with an opportunity that is not available anywhere else.

New courses in numeracy, ethical decision-making, and organizational leadership will strengthen students’ problem-solving skills and work experiences. Additionally, a new Mentors-in-Residence program, digital community platform, networking opportunities, boot camps and workshops will build lasting bonds between students and graduates, depending on the program. website.

The Ludwig program prepares students for careers in public service institutions such as government and nonprofit organizations, according to its website.

“The civic sector is critical to address, and sadly, all the more so given what we’ve seen in this country in terms of the decline in the well-being of low- and moderate-income Americans over the past 70 to 80 years. “said Ludwig. . “And this is something that we are going to have to reverse to continue to have a civil society… I hope that the new generation of people, thanks to this program, will be better prepared than me to enter the public service.

Ludwig said that, in his experience, the law school approaches the future well-being of civil society with “the right questions” and “with a wide range of thoughts on leadership”. He added that this approach, which will be reinforced by the Tsai leadership program, “is a special combination of Yale” defined by “academic experience and rigor to be able to affect issues in a positive way.”

While the Ludwig program hopes to increase and strengthen leadership in the public sector, the Chae Initiative largely focuses on the private sector. According to his website, the initiative aims to equip students with the skills to face modern day dilemmas and prepare them for careers in fields such as business, finance, consulting and entrepreneurship.

“A law degree from Yale is a versatile reflection and problem-solving degree and represents a crucial foundation for many business leadership roles,” Chae said in a law school. Press release. “The Chae Initiative provides students with a solid and practical foundation in business and financial skills and prepares them to engage in effective and ethical decision-making in a global business environment.”

According to Morley, the Tsai Leadership Program will make Yale unique among law schools given Yale Law School’s ability to combine the experience of former mentors whose achievements are “unparalleled in law universities.”

According to Morley, a committee of current law school faculty members are able to suggest potential instructors for the program outside of the law school. These instructors would then go through the regular law school review process for all instructors in the program, he added.

“The program brings top academics and world-renowned experts to New Haven to provide students with the intellectual framework, job skills and foundational skills they need to solve the problems of the future,” Gerken wrote. “We don’t want to push our students down one career path or another. We want to shed light on the many paths available to them, giving them all the means to forge their own paths and to have a positive impact on society.

Tsai’s other recent donations to the University have helped fund the Tsai Lacrosse Field House and the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale.

Correction, November 10, this article has been updated to more accurately reflect the role of the Law School Leadership Advisory Council.


Eda Aker is a freshman at Timothy Dwight College.


Kevin E. Boling

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