Thursday, July 7, 2016

Amanda Shanor ’09, PhD candidate

I decided that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. at Yale Law School because I wanted to be a law professor, and I thought there was no better place in the world intellectually or socially to learn how to do that. Our faculty is world class. My colleagues are terrific. There’s just no better place that’s passionate about ideas that can really teach you and intellectually enrich you like this place is.

So, we have this course on intellectual history and law, and that really, for me, kind of expanded how I understood where I was situated within scholarly life and where I might be able to take my ideas. But also, as part of the Ph.D. program, you can take courses, both in the Law School and in the greater University, and that has been helpful and expanding as well. But you can also take more individual—I don’t know, “courses” is not the right word exactly. It’s like, tutorials. So I had the opportunity to have coffee every week with Robert Post and talk about the constitution. There’s very few things that are more special than that or more helpful to thinking through the big ideas that I’m struggling with.

I think one terrific thing about the Yale Law Ph.D. in Law program is that it is very integrated into the broader life of the university, and Yale University, of course, is a world-class institution, but it also means that you have the opportunity to teach and take classes in other parts of the University, to do research if you want to, and interact with and go to workshops in other parts of the University, which, if you’re interested in interdisciplinary things, is quite expanding. I actually had the opportunity to both take classes in the University, in the Graduate School, and also to co-teach a course here in the Law School that was cross-listed with the University, which means that I got to interact with students even beyond our terrific JD students. I think that really expanded the way that I thought about my own research in ways that were really terrific.

I think if you’re considering law teaching, particularly law teaching at an American university, the best place you could possible be is Yale Law School. You will get so much more attention, you will have so much of a richer intellectual life, and you’ll be so much more integrated into the intellectual life of the community in a way that will be far more expanding for you than any other program that I think is available today.

A student perspective on the PhD in Law program and graduate programs at Yale Law School.