Friday, April 01, 2011

Yale Law School to Re-Brand as “YLS”

By Mike Dorf

In a move that has set the blawgosphere abuzz, last week Yale Law School made it official: The institution will henceforth be known simply as “YLS.”

At a press conference announcing the re-branding, Deputy Dean Tracey Meares invoked high-profile books on non-legal subjects by YLS professors like Stephen Carter, Jed Rubenfeld, and Amy Chua as part of the justification for the new moniker.  “L could just as easily stand for ‘literary’ . . . or ‘ludicrous,’” Meares said.

Citing the need to appeal to “today’s applicants, who were raised on initials--from JLo to ARod,” Associate Dean for Admissions Asha Rangappa said she thought the change was a good idea.

Despite the enthusiasm from faculty and administrators, the move has garnered mixed reviews from students, especially the five of them considering careers as practicing lawyers.  “I could see dropping the word ‘law,’” admitted 1L David Fortenbaugh.  “I mean that was practically false advertising.  But why drop Yale?”

Dean Robert Post nonetheless defended the change.  “Other prominent institutions have also moved to acronym-only identification,” Post explained.  “National Public Radio is NPR.  The American Association of Retired Persons is AARP.  And Kentucky Fried Chicken is just KFC.  If it works for KFC, it will work for YLS.”

When asked whether he thought Kentucky Fried Chicken was an appropriate comparator for Yale Law School, Post corrected this interviewer.  “You mean YLS,” he interrupted.  “If we had any business law faculty, they could explain to you why this is a brilliant marketing move.”

Most American law schools appear to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards what Stanford Dean Larry Kramer dubbed “the YLS experiment.”  But one school stood out as an exception.  In a forceful if bizarre video posted on his Facebook page, New York University Law School Dean Richard Revesz looks intensely into the camera and states: “I have news for the wannabes in New Haven.  We got there first.  NYU has been known by three letters for decades.  And we’re not going to rest on our laurels.  From now on, the NYU Law School will be represented by an unpronounceable glyph.  Suck on that, YLS.”


The Counterfactualist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
heathu said...

Happy AFD, everybody!

michael a. livingston said...

You know it took me a while to realize what the date was, is this really any stranger than California paying a consultant to change its name to UC-Berkeley?

Unknown said...

nice work mr. dorf

Michael C. Dorf said...

It appears I'm not the only blogger up to mischief today. See

Carl T. Bogus said...

Nice April Fool's prank, but it does make one ponder real rebrandings. Governor Dummer Academy, the oldest prep school in the US, felt that it had been done in by a movie, and changed its name to Governor's Academy. Beaver College, felth that it had been done in by...whatever, and changed its name to Arcadia College. The law school formerly known as Boalt Hall now exclusively calls itself Berkeley. And the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University now insists upon being called the Harvard Kennedy School. We'll put aside all the names of donors inserted into the middle of law school names, which might be considered a form of reverse rebranding (getting paid to take a worse name). I'm not sure Mike's idea for rebranding YLS makes less sense than some of the real-world examples. After all, people do tend to confuse the academic institution with the padlock manufacturer.

Neil H. Buchanan said...

One of the most inexplicable re-brandings is "The Ohio State University."

But that misses the point. Mike's real achievement here is in mocking the Yale faculty's ... shall we say ... "eccentricities," most recently including one faculty member's celebration of emotional child abuse.

Derek said...

Ack, I totally fell for that.

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