Thinking Outside the Box after Graduate School

A discussion with Paul Frymer and Kim Lane Scheppele

Mon, 11/10/2008
4:30-6 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall
Event Category: 
Special Event
Graduate Students

Thinking outside the box? By this, we mean contemplating careers other than teaching in the field in which you're getting your PhD. The options for law-engaged graduate students are actually more numerous than this. Because legal studies is on the way to becoming a discipline of its own, it is increasingly difficult to tell in which field a law-engaged scholar has her/his PhD when doing law-related work. It is, therefore, relatively easy to move among political science, sociology, history and anthropology, among other fields. There are also an increasing number of legal studies departments, law and society programs, criminology schools and other interdisciplinary venues for law-related work. If you have a law degree, you might consider the law school teaching market. There are specialized post-docs and fellowships for people in our field as well. And, increasingly, there is an international market in law-related fields.

Join Paul Frymer and Kim Lane Scheppele for a conversation in this week's LEGS seminar about thinking outside the box as you contemplate your future careers. Both Paul and Kim have had hybrid academic careers, where switching universities has also meant switching disciplines of primary affiliation.

Paul Frymer has a PhD in political science and he has a law degree as well. At the start of his career, he went out on the AALS job market for jobs in law schools as well on as the academic market in multiple fields. He landed in one of the most creative sociology departments in the country at the University of California at San Diego. That is a wonderful department in part because they just hire smart people regardless of the field of PhD and, as a result, it is one of the most interdisciplinary sociology departments in the country. After a year as a LAPA fellow, Paul then moved to the University of Santa Cruz to become the director of the legal studies program there. This year, he joined the Princeton faculty -- this time with tenure in the politics department.

Kim Scheppele finished a PhD in sociology, then was hired by Michigan's political science department, where she spent 12 years of her career. At that point, she went to the University of Pennsylvania Law School as a full-time law professor for nine years. At Princeton, her appointments are in the Woodrow Wilson School and the Center for Human Values - but as of last spring in the sociology department as well. Along the way, she was the founding chair of the gender studies department at Central European University in Budapest and she taught in the Ethnic and Minority Studies Department at the Eotvos Lorand Tudomanyegyetem (otherwise known as the University of Budapest). Next year, she'll be a visiting professor at the Yale Law School.

Please join us for a conversation about careers and ways to think differently about your options!