Graduate Programs in Legal Studies at Princeton

Mon, 02/25/2008
4:30-6 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall

Instead of having one of you present a paper, we have another item on our agenda -- graduate programs in legal studies at Princeton. Please come for a preliminary conversation on what LAPA can do to improve graduate education at Princeton. There are a few proposals LAPA is currently working on:

1. A graduate certificate program in legal studies, so that students in PhD programs can take an interdisciplinary set of courses in law to complete one of their "field" requirements in their home department.

Why do this? Intellectually, law-related work in many disciplines increasingly draws on the work of other disciplines for sustenance. Anthropologists often use history; political scientists use sociology; literary critics use philosophy -- and all vice versa -- and with many other sorts of combinations. It's a good idea for students concentrating on law to be able to see what is going on in other fields where law is also studied. In addition, there are increasingly many academic jobs out there in legal studies departments, law and society programs, criminology department and -- of course -- even law schools. Students with interdisciplinary training may emerge as stronger candidates in these interdisciplinary settings.

What do we need to know from you?

How should we set up such a program? Are there departmental barriers that you can see? Are there particular ways such a program can be structured to benefit your program of study in particular?

2. A PhD program in the Woodrow Wilson School, so that students who have JDs and want to go into law-school teaching and/or high-level policy work can get doctoral-level training in a policy-related field.

Why do this? Last year, 60% of the entry-level hires at the top 20 law schools had some form of PhD or other (DPhil, SJD, PhD). But often disciplinary PhDs take too long, are too disconnected from the sort of work that law professors do and pull away from topics that would be of most interest to law schools. A PhD in public policy (with a concentration in environmental policy, international relations, health policy, security studies, development, behavioral psychology, economic policy, American politics or other fields that WWS is particularly strong in) would be a good degree with which to get a law school teaching job.

What do we need from you?

While none of you are in this program now, can you see the value of it? How would it have to be structured to be attractive from a grad student's viewpoint?

In addition, come to discuss the programs LAPA helps to administer: The new MPP program that the Woodrow Wilson School is launching this year for students who have recently finished law school so that they can combine law and policy; and the joint MPA/JD program.