Previous Fellows

LAPA has hosted fellows since the 2000-2001 academic year. LAPA alumni come from many countries, many disciplines and many levels of seniority. All have shared a common commitment to the study of law and legal institutions. For more on our LAPA alumni, see the listing of fellows by cohort below. Each former LAPA fellow has her/his own "people page" on the site, reachable by link from the person's name in the cohort listings or from the People Archive.


fellows 2010-2011 Back row: Jennifer Bolton, Lawrence Solan, Janet McLean, Ruth Herz, Susan Longfield Karr, Tanya Hernandez, Steven Wilf, Harry Litman, Judi Rivkin. Front row: Anna Kirkland, Leslie Gerwin, Gordon Silverstein, Elizabeth Mertz, Kim Scheppele, Deborah Pearlst

Tanya K. Hernandez , Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
Susan Karr , Associate Research Scholar
Anna Kirkland , Visiting Associate Research Scholar
Elizabeth Mertz , Visiting Research Scholar, LAPA/Crane Fellow
Gordon Silverstein , Visiting Associate Research Scholar
Steven Wilf , Visiting Research Scholar

Susan Karr

Susan Karr is an associate member of the University of Chicago Human Rights Program and an Affiliate of the European University Institute, where she served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Max Weber Program and the Department of History and Civilization in 2008-2009. She received her Ph.D. in Early Modern European History from the University of Chicago (2008). Broadly trained as an Early Modernist, her research focuses on the intersection of humanism and political thought in sixteenth-century Italy, Germany, France, and England. Integrating social, political, legal, and intellectual history, Karr’s research explores how the introduction of philological, comparative, and historical methods to the teaching and interpretation of Roman law informed the centrality of ius gentium (universal customary law or the laws of peoples) within natural law and natural rights theories from the sixteenth century onwards. By focusing on lectures, treatises, orations and emblems, her research demonstrates how humanist jurists used the category of ius gentium—which they held was the source of the rights of individuals—to hold civil laws, and those who administered them, accountable to a higher criterion of justice. While at Princeton, she will continue to work on her manuscript, entitled, "On Justice and Right: The Moral Authority of Jus Gentium," which will explore the influence the sixteenth-century legal humanism on the so-called fathers of international law: Alberico Gentili (1552-1608) and Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). She will be the Mellon/LAPA Fellow in Law and the Humanities.

Anna Kirkland

Anna Kirkland is an associate professor of Women’s Studies and Political Science at the University of Michigan. She earned her J.D. (2001) and Ph.D. (Jurisprudence and Social Policy, 2003) from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has focused on the construction of the legal categories that receive civil rights protections in various jurisdictions of the United States as well as the ways in which ordinary people understand and negotiate their identities through the law. Her first book, Fat Rights: Dilemmas of Difference and Personhood, was published in 2008 by New York University Press. Professor Kirkland has also published work on fat acceptance advocates and their perceptions of law, fatness as disability, transgendered plaintiffs who win their cases, transgender discrimination as sex discrimination, and the moral, racial, gendered, and political features of the “obesogenic environment” account of population weight gains. With Michigan colleague Jonathan Metzl, Kirkland edited the forthcoming volume Against Health: Has Health Become the New Morality? (New York University Press, 2010). While at Princeton, she will work on a second book examining vaccination law, politics and activism. The new research focuses on the Autism Omnibus Proceedings before the federal vaccine compensation court, in which the Special Masters found that vaccines did not cause autism spectrum disorder in children. Kirkland is also studying movement opposition to the rulings, state-level vaccine controversies and regulation, and the interaction between vaccine safety advocates and policymakers at the federal level.

Elizabeth Mertz

Elizabeth Mertz is a member of the senior research faculty at the American Bar Foundation and John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School. She holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Duke University and a J.D. from Northwestern University. She is a Fellow of the American Anthropological Association. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of law and language, analyzed from an anthropological perspective. Mertz recently published a study of first-year law school education, The Language of Law School: Learning to “Think Like a Lawyer” (Oxford University Press, 2007), which was co winner of the Law & Society Association’s Herbert Jacob Book Prize. She currently serves as editor of the Political and Legal Anthropology Review, following many years as editor of Law & Social Inquiry. She also held leadership positions in the Law and Society Association. In addition to law and language, her interests include legal translation, family law, law and social science, the legal profession, and legal education. Together with other scholars, she is active in the New Legal Realism Project ( With Stewart Macaulay and Lawrence Friedman, she is co-editor of Law in Action: A Socio-Legal Reader (Foundation Press, 2007); she also edited The Role of Social Science in Law (Ashgate, 2008). Her current empirical research focuses on post-tenure law professors in the United States.

Gordon Silverstein

Gordon Silverstein is an assistant professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley where he teaches courses in American constitutional law, American political thought, comparative constitutionalism and the separation of powers. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is the author of Law’s Allure: How Law Shapes, Constrains, Saves and Kills Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2009) -- which has been awarded the C. Herman Pritchett Prize by the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association for the best book published in 2009 in the field of Law & Courts -- and he is the author of Imbalance of Powers: Constitutional Interpretation and the Making of American Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press, 1997).

After completing his undergraduate education at Cornell University, Silverstein worked as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal in New York and Hong Kong and the San Francisco Chronicle. Silverstein has published a number of articles on aspects of constitutional law and the separation of powers, and some of his work has been supported by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Prior to Berkeley, Silverstein taught at Dartmouth College, Rice University and the University of Minnesota and served as a program director for the New America Foundation in Washington, DC. In addition to continuing his research and writing on American foreign policy, law and the separation of powers, at Princeton Silverstein will focus on the comparative study of the emergence and entrenchment of judicial review.

Steven Wilf

Steven Wilf is the Joel Barlow Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut, where he was one of the founders of the Intellectual Property Program. He received both his Ph.D. in History from Yale University and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1995. He served as a law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit before joining the Connecticut faculty. A scholar whose research focuses upon intellectual property law, historical jurisprudence, and legal history, he seeks to explore the fundamental ways that the origins of legal processes effect normative outcomes. Numerous essays and a recent book, The Law Before the Law (Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), explore imaginative, often extra-official understandings of legalism. His latest book, Law’s Imagined Republic: Popular Politics and Criminal Justice in Revolutionary America, will be published this year by Cambridge University Press. He has been a visiting professor at Hebrew University, Jerusalem and DAAD guest professor at the Freie Universitat, Berlin. He also has held fellowships as John Carter Brown Fellow at Brown University, Fellow in Comparative Legal History at the University of Chicago, Samuel Golieb Fellow at the New York University Law School, and, most recently, Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem. At Princeton, Wilf will continue his current work on a book, under contract with Cambridge University Press, examining the history of United States intellectual property law from its beginnings to the present. He will be the Microsoft/LAPA Fellow in Law, Property and the Economic Organization of Society.