From Lawyer to Grad Student?
July 31, 2012 7:30 AM Subscribe
Can you tell me about legal anthropology? Am I foolish to leave a secure career to pursue it?
posted by sallybrown to Work & Money (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
After two years as a litigator, I have realized law is not the field for me. However, I continue to be fascinated by the way people talk about
the law; how the framing of legal questions impacts legal decision-making; and how the way the larger public discusses and interprets legal decisions influences judges and juries.
From some poking around, I see that the relevant field of study appears to be "legal anthropology." I have never taken an anthropology course. (I did major in cultural studies and wrote my thesis on how portrayals of the legal process in media impact U.S. court decisions.) The largest thing giving me pause is that I would have to leave a very high paying job (albeit one I dislike) to return to student loan land, and in a cutthroat field (academia). Another is that the major focus in this field appears to be developing nations and human rights work in other countries, and I am primarily interested in the American legal system. A third is I would be pressing restart on my career in my late twenties and so would be in my mid-thirties by the time I finished a PhD.
Does anyone have experience with this field? How is it regarded within the anthropology community? I plan to read any books I can find on the subject and perhaps ask to audit a related class; should I be doing something else? (I've seen this question
, but I'm hoping for additional information.)