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LSA Early Career Workshop 2009

Call for Apllications

The Law and Society Association is pleased to announce the first Early Career Workshop to be held May 26-27, immediately preceding the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association in Denver, Colorado, USA. We invite applications from scholars in the early stage of their careers (first three years of initial appointment or in a post doc) in any field whose scholarly interests include sociolegal studies. The Association strongly encourages applications from scholars who have not participated in LSA meetings before, in addition to scholars who have participated one or many times before.

The Early Career Workshop encourages new faculty to move their research and writing toward law-and-society topics and encourages people who are already comfortable with one methodological approach to consider others. For those trained as lawyers, social science may seem a bit daunting. For those trained in one social science, other methodologies from other fields may seem foreign. But for all concerned, it might be useful to know these other methods. In this Early Career Workshop, we will help people to make transitions to new kinds of law-related work with a focus on questions of methodology. As a result, we will ask: How do law-and-society scholars do their work? And how can newcomers to the field increase their methodological range?

This workshop will offer insight into three different streams of research methodology and will allow participants to start to come to grips with methods that they have not tried before. The three streams are:

n formal modeling and quantitative approaches -- focusing on countable and quantifiable elements of legal phenomena

n ethnographic/qualitative methods -- focusing on experience-based methods of observation and interviewing

n historical/textual analysis -- focusing on the analysis of documents, from archives to cases

The sessions within each stream will consider questions like:

  • how can new researchers in the field find appropriate data to analyze?
  • what are the key strengths and limitations of particular methods?
  • how would researchers learn more about how to use the particular approach?
  • what are the specific issues that arise in adapting these generic methods to legal settings?

In addition, participants will be asked to submit a current working paper or project description in advance of the workshop and will be given individual feedback from faculty in individual meetings (with one or two faculty) during the workshop. The workshop will be structured to allow for informal discussion and networking over meals and during breaks.

This year’s planning committee is co-chaired by Tom Baker (University of Pennsylvania) and Kim Lane Scheppele (Princeton University) and include s Richard Brooks (Yale University), Malcolm Feeley (University of California, Berkeley), Alexandra Huneeus (University of Wisconsin), Sally Merry (New York University), Lisa Miller (Rutgers University), Sara Parikh (Leo J. Shapiro & Assoc.), and Vicki Schultz (Yale University).

Twenty scholars will be selected to participate in the Workshop. Applications must be received by February 15, 2009. Applications should contain the following four items:

1. cover sheet, which can be downloaded here,

2. current CV,

3. 1-2 page letter describing research and teaching interests, and

4. 2 page description of a current research project.

These documents should be combined in into a single file, in the order listed above, named for the applicant as follows: “LASTNAME_FIRSTNAME_ECW.file-type” File type should be .doc, .wpd, or .pdf. Send the file as an attachment in an email to

Participants should plan travel to arrive on Monday, May 25th. For those not reimbursed by their home institution, LSA will offer up to $500 toward the costs of travel and two nights’ accommodations. If you have questions about the submission format please get in touch with Lissa Ganter, tel. 413-545-4617.
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