Event Planning

From small gatherings and guest speakers to student travel and student-led conferences, reference the information below for all event-related planning.

Please read all the policies for planning a successful event. Students and student organizations must provide appropriate notice as outlined and receive confirmation of room reservation approval before proceeding with planning or publicizing any event.

Before planning any event, consider co-sponsoring the event with other student groups, centers, or departments to help ensure your event has sufficient resources and attracts strong attendance.

  • Calendar

    Event Conflict Checking
    Events must be added to the YLS Events Calendar and OSA Yale-Connect Calendar at least one week in advance. Before finalizing your date and time, review the YLS Events Calendar, YLS Academic Calendar, and Chaplains Multifaith Calendar to avoid scheduling conflicts. Review planned events in YaleConnect before scheduling new events. In order to check for conflicts, add YLS OSA and YLS Events tags to the events search in YaleConnect. Then, add these same tags when creating the new event so other groups can plan accordingly. Building Services must approve your reservation before you move forward with planning or publicizing your event.

    Classrooms in SLB may not be reserved during reading and exam periods. Students can only reserve space for study breaks and small social gatherings during this time, not speaker/panel events. Please refer to the YLS Academic Calendar for dates.

    Student events generally cannot be held during the Admitted Students Program in the spring. Please reach out to the Admissions Office (admissions.law@yale.edu) to discuss further if needed.

    Submitting to Calendar
    Submit details to the YLS Events Calendar here or create your event on YaleConnect through your group's portal. To have the event loaded into the YLS Events Calendar, you must "tag" your event as "YLS Website". If you make updates to your event in YaleConnect, please email publicaffairs.law@yale.edu to have it updated on the YLS Events Calendar.

  • Room Reservation Requirements

    Request a room reservation using the Law School's room reservation system at least one week prior to the event. Please provide as much notice as possible. You must receive written confirmation that your request is approved before proceeding with any promotion or planning the event. Please note: space is not guaranteed.

    Student organizations cannot reserve rooms for members outside the Yale Law School community or initiatives not sponsored by the Law School.

    Events are by default open to the Yale Law School community only unless otherwise specified. If students plan to open their events to the Yale community, they should have an RSVP process to have an accurate count on how many people are coming.

    Events cannot be open to the public and press without prior approval from The Office of Public Affairs and Building Services as this requires additional staffing and security considerations. Requests must be submitted at least two weeks in advance to be considered.

    Designated communal spaces at the Law School can only be reserved when available and if the event adheres to all University and Law School policies.

    To inquire about reserving non-classroom spaces, contact Associate Dean Mike Thompson (mike.thompson@yale.edu). Sterling Law Building: Dining Hall, SLB Courtyard Baker Hall: Baker Courtyard, Baker 140 (Student Lounge)

    Students seeking to use Yale Law School property for non-academic social group events, including in the Courtyard, must receive advance permission from the Office of Student Affairs and secure space with Associate Dean Mike Thompson ahead of time. Per the alcohol policy (outlined below), the consumption of alcohol on school grounds is prohibited, unless provided by the school and served by a TIPS-licensed bartender.

  • Events with Speakers

    Speaker names are required at the time of reservation. Without the speaker's name at the time of the request, the room reservation will be conditionally confirmed until the speaker's name is provided. Failure to provide the name of the speaker(s) at least one week prior to the event will result in the cancellation of the room reservation request. At the time of reservation, student organizers should also know whom the event is open to and be able to list all sponsors for the event. This information is required on the YLS Events Calendar. All students should also read the free expression and political activity section before planning events.

  • Ordering Tables/Chairs

    1. Request for tables and chairs should be emailed to OSA (osa@yale.edu) and Building Services (law.buildingservices@yale.edeu). Student must include the quantity of tables and chairs, the date, the time, and the location of the event in the email request for tables and chairs. *For events hosted on campus, space reservations must be approved by Dean Mike Thompson (mike.thompson@yale.edu) before requesting tables and chairs.
    2. Building Services will obtain a quote for the order and send to OSA and the student group.
    3. Student will submit a Student Group Purchase Request form to OSA and Building Services with the total cost listed on the quote.
    4. Once received, Building Services will place the order. Orders are final and cannot be altered.
    5. Building Services will send OSA the final invoice and OSA will process payment. Direct Vendor Invoice Requests are not needed for transactions made through YLS.
  • Accessibility

    Please ensure that you consider the accessibility needs of panelists and attendees from the outset of your planning. Event publicity must include the following statement: If you or an event attendee requires disability-related accommodations, please contact [Event organizer or OSA or Student Accessibility Services] in advance of the event.

    Details for planning an accessible event can be found in the Accessibility section of this handbook. Contact OSA (osa@yale.edu) or Student Accessibility Services (sas@yale.edu) with specific questions.

  • Vendor Contracts

    Students and student organizations are not permitted to sign anything on behalf of Yale. If a vendor/speaker requires a signature for a service agreement, contract, or payment, a YaleConnect Contract Submission form must be submitted to OSA. A W-9 for all individuals and businesses and a Certificate of Insurance (COI) for all venues will be required for documentation with form submission. OSA will work with the YLS Business Office and Yale Procurement Office to review and sign the contract. Please ensure you submit this form as soon as possible (at least 2-3 weeks in advance) to complete this process.

  • Food

    Please ensure that food will meet students' dietary needs. You can collect dietary needs from students when creating an event in your YaleConnect portal as students register. Be sure to consider the following dietary restrictions when planning an event: Dairy free, Gluten free, Halal, Kosher, Nut allergies, Pescatarian, Vegan, Vegetarian.

    Requests to use the Dining Hall for student group events need to be approved by Building Services. Once approved, the student group must contact Yale Catering to request services if the event requires use of the Dining Hall commercial kitchen.

    If food vendors require a contract for their services, submit a YaleConnect Contract Request form and allow 2-3 weeks for review.

    Inform Building Services (law.buildingservices@yale.edu) if food will be served at student group events as custodial coverage must be scheduled in advance.

    RSVP's and registration for student group events is recommended to minimize excess ordering and food waste.

    Food must be removed immediately following the event and placed in the student lounge with only the necessary plates, napkins, and utensils.

    When choosing vendors for food delivery at student group events, consider using locally owned businesses. Food vendors must provide plates, cups, napkins, and utensils.

  • Alcohol Policy

    The minimum drinking age in CT is 21. Individuals must be able to show proof of age by presenting a government-issued, photo identification in order to be served alcohol at a YLS event.

    For students that are 21 years and older, we recognize our students to be responsible adults that are free to make their own choices on the use and consumption of alcohol. While the policy outlined below only pertains to alcohol in relation to school funding and resources, all students should carefully consider the impact of their choice to consume alcoholic beverages. If you suspect that you, or another student, is endangering themselves with their decisions around alcohol or other drugs, please know there are resources available to offer help and support.

    All students organizing events sponsored by Yale Law School that provide alcoholic beverages are required to adhere to the Yale University regulations, in addition to the following YLS-specific policies:

    For the purpose of this policy, "alcohol" and "alcoholic beverages" refer only to beer and wine. Seltzers, sake, juices and other canned cocktail drinks are acceptable, assuming there is not more than 5% alcohol content per 12oz.

    No hard alcohol or liquor (regardless of alcohol percentage) will be covered by Yale funding. If any hard alcohol or liquor is purchased, even if by mistake, the charges will be the responsibility of the student(s) organizing the event. The school is entitled to and will seek reimbursement from students if school resources are used to purchase hard alcohol or liquor. Violation of the policy on hard alcohol and liquor and/or a student's failure to reimburse the school for purchases of hard alcohol and liquor will be documented. Infractions may affect the organization's status and future funding eligibility, as well as may result in discipline for the student(s) purchasing hard alcohol or liquor with YLS resources.

    There is a two-drink maximum for alcoholic beverages per attendee, per day. A "drink" is defined as 5 oz of wine/sake or 12oz of beer or seltzer/canned beverages. "Day" is identified by the event start time and is defined by 12:00am-11:59pm. Student organizers will not receive reimbursements for purchase overages.

    Calculations based on two-drinks per day, per attendee should be made by student organizers and utilized when determining how much alcohol to purchase.

    When serving alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages and ample food must be made available to all guests. Per University policy, if food runs out, alcohol service must cease.

    If the event is held on campus, alcohol must be served by a TIPS-licensed bartender or Yale University-approved caterer.

    If the event is held off campus, at a public venue, it must be hosted at a location with a liquor permit and liability insurance. If the event is at a private location, then only the liability insurance is required.

  • Audio-Visual

    For any event with audio/visual needs, you must submit a comprehensive audio-visual request form that provides an hour-by-hour breakdown of requirements.

    For conferences, organizers should submit this form at least one month before the event and be sure to include each room's requirements (type and number of microphones, multimedia requests, recording requirements, etc). Additionally, conference organizers need to schedule a mandatory, in-person audio-visual meeting with AV (av.law@yale.edu) to determine support needs.

    For any YLS event, audio/visual equipment used outside of normal YLS business hours requires an on-site support person to be in attendance at the event. Review more information about audio/visual fees here.

    Requesting paid AV services for events: 1. Request for paid AV support should be emailed to OSA (osa@yale.edu) and IT (law.av@yale.edu). Student must include the paid IT support needed (editing recordings, IT staffing after hours), the date, the time, and the location of the event in the email request. *For events hosted on campus, space reservations must requested through Room Reservations before requesting AV support. 2. IT will outline a quote for the order and send to OSA and the student group. 3. Student will submit a Student Group Purchase Request form to OSA and IT with the total cost listed on the quote. 4. IT will send OSA the final invoice and OSA will process payment through the student group's COA. *Direct Vendor Invoice Requests are not needed for transactions made through YLS.

    Any video recordings require the collection of a release form from each speaker in advance of recording. The Audio/Video Release form should be completed, signed, and returned to the Office of Public Affairs (publicaffairs.law@yale.edu). If the event is being recorded, be sure to share that information with all attendees before recording begins.

    Video recordings that will be posted on a public-facing YLS platform (such as the YLS website or Vimeo channel) require ADA captioning, at the expense of event organizers. Zoom auto-captioning does not meet ADA requirements. Captioning takes four business days to produce, after editing/branding is complete. Resources for closed caption services are available here.

  • Virtual Events

    If organizing an event by Zoom, please review Zoom Best Practices to support your planning.

    Never share links for Zoom meetings publicly. Access links should only be shared with registered participants. You may also choose to only share the link just before the event in order to minimize any chance of that link being shared more widely.

    OSA has webinar keys that can allow for secure events up to 500 participants. Contact OSA (osa@yale.edu) if you would like your event to be in webinar format and we can offer you temporary access to the OSA Zoom account.

  • Career-Related Events

    When planning a career-related event, first consider the programs offered by the Career Development Office (CDO) and make efforts to provide career programs on distinct topics that provide insight beyond CDO's core curriculum. Reach out to CDO at cdo.law@yale.edu to communicate your career-related event or program plans so CDO can help avoid conflicts of time, content, and speakers.

    Core CDO Programming Topics: resume and cover letter advice; interviewing advice; preparing for and participating in CDO's interview programs (VIP, PIIP, and WIP); Student Public Interest Career Fair; Law Firm Practice Area Forum; Judicial Clerkship Program series (resources, application components, 3L and alumni perspectives); financial support for public interest jobs; YLS public interest fellowship information.

    CDO can assist with: brainstorming topics and speakers and providing background information about previous similar events; suggesting student groups with which to partner for increased impact; advertising the event through CDO weekly emails and Yale Connect; receiving RSVPs, securing a room, and ordering food.

    Co-sponsoring Career Events with CDO: CDO welcomes the opportunity to financially support student organization career events through co-sponsorship. Events co-sponsored by CDO must be open to all YLS students. CDO can financially support speaker travel and event catering, although for events with private sector speakers, it is the expectation that the speaker's employer will cover speaker travel costs. Please email the CDO counselor whose focus area aligns with the program, or cdo.law@yale.edu.

  • Conference Planning

    Student-Led Conference Proposals
    All student-led conferences hosted by YLS students or student groups must have prior approval by OSA. Any students interested in hosting a conference should submit a proposal during the application period in the spring term of the academic year prior to the conference. A committee of YLS administrators and staff review the proposals and OSA shares decisions to support funding, dates, and space considerations for all student-led conferences for the following academic year.

    Conference Finances
    Conference organizers are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date budget spreadsheet with budgeted and actual revenue and expenses. If conference organizers plan to make solicitations to firms, companies, or other Yale programs, please review the fundraising policies and procedures section of the YLS Student Handbook. Remember to acknowledge co-sponsors (including funds, organizations, and student groups that contributed to the conference) in all publicity materials. If conferences are collecting registration fees, OSA recommends using the EPay platform. Please contact OSA (osa@yale.edu) at least 3 weeks in advance of opening registration to set-up this platform.

    Review requirements in "Audio-Visual" section above.

    Conference Website
    Conference organizers will need to create a portal in YaleConnect to publish a public-facing website for registrants. If student-led conference groups would like a YaleConnect page set up, please contact osa@yale.edu. Registrants should be able to include any dietary restrictions, shirt sizes, etc. in their registration. YaleConnect will create a unique QR code for each registrant to use when they check in to the conference. If requiring registration fees, see conference finances for more information.

    Speaker Documentation
    Conference speakers invited to YLS must sign a Speaker Agreement form. Complete pages 1&2 and send to the speaker to complete the Artist section and Guest Speaker section before returning to OSA (osa@yale.edu). Additionally, each speaker requesting payment will need to submit an invoice and W-9. You can upload these documents into the Direct Vendor Invoice form.

  • Alumni Engagement

    If students or student groups would like to communicate with alumni to fundraise, facilitate mentorship programs, or invite a speaker to YLS, please email the Alumni Engagement & Development Office (AED) at alumni.law@yale.edu and copy OSA (osa@yale.edu) to streamline communication and support this outreach.

  • Yale Programs for Children & Youth

    Registering an event
    Student groups that offer programs for children and youth under 18 years of age must register their event with the Committee for Programs for Children and Youth, which will review and approve programs and provide guidance on health and safety issues, insurance, legal compliance, and other concerns. The Committee includes representatives from the Office of the Provost, Athletics, Yale's museums, New Haven and State Affairs, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and the Office of the General Counsel, and its purpose is to help run your programs in a way that protects your participants and you.

    An on-line form for registering your program, health and safety guidelines, examples of useful forms, and other resources are listed on the Yale Programs for Children and Youth website. Please complete this form if you have primary responsibility for organizing a program that will include persons (other than Yale College students) under the age of 18. This form must be submitted at least 60 days before your program begins. Continuing programs must re-register annually. The Committee on Programs for Children and Youth will notify you by e-mail if permission for your program has been approved or denied or if further information is required. Please email youth.programs@yale.edu if you have questions about this form.

    Additional Resources
    The Policy on Health and Safety of Children and Youth sets out basic requirements for registration, training, the adoption of program guidelines, and similar matters. The Policy on Reporting Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect explains your responsibility under Connecticut law and Yale policy to report suspected abuse to the proper authorities.