Over 1,200 Yale Law School alumni — among them Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 and other renowned politicians and lawyers — and their families descended on New Haven for a reunion celebration over the weekend.
Although all Law School alumni were invited, the weekend’s events focused on those who graduated between five and 60 years ago. The events, which took place from Oct. 20 to Oct. 22, included class meals, panel discussions and various receptions organized by student groups. The alumni association gave its annual merit award to Myron Thompson ’69 LAW ’72, a United States district judge in Alabama who received national recognition in 2014 when he ruled a state law unconstitutional on the grounds that it would have severely restricted access to abortions.
“It was a terrific reunion weekend at the Law School,” said Larry Sorkin LAW ’67, who helped organize the event. “Our class was celebrating its 50th reunion, and almost half of our classmates came back for the reunion. It was a great opportunity to catch up and reconnect with classmates.”
The occasion was full of festivities, culminating in the 85th birthday celebration of Guido Calabresi ’53 LAW ’58, who served as dean of the law school from 1985 to 1994. Alumni sang happy birthday to Calabresi, who Sorkin described as the “dean of Yale Law School deans.”
“The kindness and affection of old and current students and of all my colleagues was unbelievable,” Calabresi told the News. “I am just now coming down to earth.”
The all-star group of alumni that arrived on campus while undergraduates were away on fall break included author and attorney Alan Dershowitz LAW ’62 and U.S. Senator Cory Booker LAW ’97. A cohort from the class of 1967, including former Senator Joe Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67, former Colorado Congressman David Skaggs LAW ’67, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey LAW ’67 and political commentator Jeff Greenfield LAW ’67, participated in panel discussions focused on civil rights and international law.
According to the Yale Law School Director of Communications Janet Conroy, Clinton spent several hours on Saturday catching up with alumni from the class of 1972, with whom she started law school. It was not the first time that the former secretary of state has returned to New Haven. In 2013, Clinton gave a speech in Woolsey Hall after receiving the alumni association’s award of merit, recalling how her experiences at Yale shaped her lifelong passion for child welfare.
Thompson, the recipient of this year’s award, served as the first black assistant attorney general for Alabama from 1972 to 1974. In September 1980, Thompson was nominated by then U.S President Jimmy Carter to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and was confirmed by the Senate shortly thereafter.
Toni Davis LAW ’92, associate dean of alumni affairs, said the school was “especially pleased” to honor Thompson with the award.
Linda Greenhouse LAW ’78, a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter and a Yale lecturer in law, told the News that it was clear from an alumni lunch she attended that Thompson was a popular choice.
“The award of merit to Judge Myron Thompson was exceptionally well deserved,” said Greenhouse, who received the same award in 2007. “He represents the very best of the American judiciary in terms of intelligence, integrity and courage.”
Previous recipients of the award include former Law School dean Eugene Rostow LAW ’37 and former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73.
Jingyi Cui | firstname.lastname@example.org