‘Abandoning the Vanity of Lawyers’: Some Advice for New Law PhDs

Anglia_Ruskin_LogoI was very pleased yesterday to go to Cambridge and give the first of a new series of lectures to PhD students in Anglia Ruskin University. Over the year, the lecture series will bring a number of┬áscholars to the University to speak to PhD students about particular research topics, ideally tailored for the audience. As the inaugural speaker in the series I had plenty of liberty in how I approached it, and so I thought I would reflect on the ten years of my research career (since I started my PhD in 2005). In doing so, I realised that a key lesson I have learned is that there is value in abandoning the vanity of lawyers: law is not always the answer. What I mean by that is a narrow field of enquiry that focuses only on doctrinal law without taking into account the context in which it operates and perspectives from cognate disciplines that will help us to understand the content, (in)adequacies and operation of law (e.g. political science, international relations, sociology, philosophy/political theory, and psychology) can be limited and limiting. Continue reading “‘Abandoning the Vanity of Lawyers’: Some Advice for New Law PhDs”