For nearly 200 years, a Yale Law School education has served as an all-purpose thinking degree, training students to lead in a remarkable range of sectors. Now the school is building upon its storied history to empower the next generation of mission-driven leaders with the launch of The Joseph C. Tsai Leadership Program at Yale Law School.
“Yale Law School has always been imbued with a restless spirit, and change is built into our institutional DNA. The Tsai Leadership Program enables us to preserve our core educational model while building a curriculum for the next century,” said Heather K. Gerken, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale Law School. “Amid a devastating pandemic, with vitally important issues like racial inequality and climate change demanding urgent action, The Tsai Leadership Program aims to equip every student with the skills required to address the most vexing global challenges. By lighting up the many career paths available to our students and connecting them to our incredible alumni community, we will help ensure a level playing field for every member of our extraordinarily diverse student body, meeting all of our students where they are, and getting them to where they want to be.”
The Tsai Leadership Program opens a new chapter for the institution by bringing together leading experts to prepare students for traditional legal practice and the many nontraditional paths that Yale Law School graduates pursue. The Program also provides support to build new courses, ensuring Yale Law students are numerate as well as literate, savvy about technological change, and deeply steeped in ethics. Coursework spans accounting, corporate finance, statistics, ethics, and emerging issues related to technological change, big data, and globalization. Students hone professional skills through specialized intensives and workshops. They also benefit from mentors-in-residence to advise on the many avenues available to graduates of Yale Law School. Curricular and extracurricular programming combine to enhance the school’s foundational curriculum and career assistance resources, supporting students’ pursuit of legal careers as well as nontraditional careers in the public and private sector.
“The Tsai Leadership Program will help us build on our best traditions even as we reinvent them in order to train every student for their last job, not just their first. We hope it will support a new generation of changemakers, equipping them to meet the challenges to come while carrying forward the highest ideals of the Law School.”
—Dean Heather K. Gerken
The Tsai Leadership Program was created through a partnership between the Law School and a remarkable group of dedicated alumni who have chosen to invest in the next generation of talented leaders, enabling students to chart their own unique course and make a positive impact on society no matter what career path they choose.
“We are deeply grateful to Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, Gene and Carol Ludwig, Michael and Alexa Chae, and all of our dedicated program founders, each of whom exemplifies what it means to be a leader today and has chosen to make a bold investment in the leaders of tomorrow,” said Gerken.
“In my experience, leadership is a learned skill that requires patience, humility, and a healthy dose of self-awareness,” said program founder and philanthropist Joseph C. Tsai ’90, who is Executive Vice Chairman and co-founder of Alibaba Group. “This leadership program introduces a framework for talented, mission-driven students to leave their mark on the world, while also affording space for them to define their own style of leadership. I am honored to give back to an institution that represents the confluence of experiences that shaped who I am, and to empower others to find their path to a meaningful career.”
The Tsai Leadership Program is buttressed by the creation of the Carol and Gene Ludwig Program in Public Sector Leadership and the Michael S. and Alexa B. Chae Initiative in Private Sector Leadership, which provide tailored programming and fellowship opportunities for students who want to pursue nontraditional careers and leadership roles in the public and private sectors.
The Ludwig Program helps prepare students for careers in government, nonprofits, and other institutions focused on serving the public. Advised by Cristina Rodríguez ’00, the Leighton Homer Surbeck Professor of Law, and Jacob Hacker, the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, students gain the training they need to make empirically grounded, practical, and principled decisions. The program is designed to guide students as they develop the judgment, analysis, and competencies necessary for rewarding public service-oriented careers.
Program founder Gene Ludwig ’73, former Comptroller of the Currency and Chair of the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity (LISEP), said his own passion for service drove him to found this important new program. “Serving our country and its people, particularly those in need, is one of the most rewarding and important professional experiences we can have, and we need to give our most talented young people a clear path to do so successfully and with compassion,” said Ludwig. “This one-of-a-kind law school program is designed to give YLS graduates the specialized policy and technical skills to serve effectively in government or other venues where they can make a powerful, positive difference for their fellow citizens.”
The Chae Initiative in Private Sector Leadership offers focused educational and professional development to Yale Law School students who wish to pursue leadership roles in business, finance, investing, management consulting, and entrepreneurship. Faculty Director and Professor of Law John Morley ’06 oversees the initiative, which seeks to develop wide-ranging thinkers who can address complex business challenges with a cross-disciplinary skill set.
“A Yale law degree is a versatile thinking and problem-solving degree and represents a crucial foundation for so many business leadership roles,” said founder Michael S. Chae ’97, Senior Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer of Blackstone, the global investment firm. “The Chae Initiative provides students with a strong and practical grounding in business and financial skills and prepares them to engage in effective and ethical decision-making in a global business environment.”
The launch of the Tsai Leadership Program pushes forward a vision of leadership that is fueled by ideas and innovation, grounded in service, and infused with principle and purpose.
“The Tsai Leadership Program will help us build on our best traditions even as we reinvent them in order to train every student for their last job, not just their first.” said Gerken. “We hope it will support a new generation of changemakers, equipping them to meet the challenges to come while carrying forward the highest ideals of the Law School.”
For more information on The Tsai Leadership Program at Yale Law School, visit law.yale.edu/leadership.