1L Fellowships: Empirical Legal Studies

Work alongside faculty conducting empirical research to advance social science and understanding of the respects in which laws influence behavior.

Eligibility: Eligible applicants must be preparing to enter his or her first year in the J.D. Program at the University of Oregon School of Law. Fellows are selected on the basis of academic merit and demonstrated interest in empirical research. Some preference is given to applicants with a quantitative or social science background. Students with skills in web design or computer programming can also be an asset in helping design websites to disseminate the research and explain it in novel ways.

Award amount: $4,250.00 credited toward tuition ($2,125.00 credited at the beginning of Fall semester, and $2,125.00 credited at the beginning of the Spring semester)

Fellowship projects: Empirical Legal Studies 1L Fellows work with a faculty advisor to support the research with respect to one of the following project areas:

  • Anti-Discrimination Law, Policy, and Procedure. The general goal of the Equal Protection Clause, Title VII, and other similar laws is to prevent bias against individuals based on their race, ethnicity, gender or membership in other protected categories. However, the laws are not written or interpreted in ways that recognize the current understanding of what causes discrimination or how best to resolve it. Fellows in this area will work on projects that use social-scientific theory and methods to identify situations in the legal system and related contexts (e.g., mediation, the-school-to-prison pipeline) where discrimination is most likely to occur and propose and test practical interventions to reduce or eliminate the effects of bias in them.
  • Advertising and Commercial Speech. Advertising is protected under the Constitution as commercial speech. However, false and misleading speech is not protected. These research projects assess whether and how advertising misleads consumers of that advertising. It also examines the extent to which better regulation of false and misleading advertising can improve the accuracy of statements made in advertising.
  • Employment Law Practice. Much of employment law is implemented by and through employers. In other words, employers change their internal practices to adapt to changing laws. But are employer practices in fact improving outcomes for employees as the law intends? For example are employer practices intended to reduce discrimination and harassment in fact improving employment opportunities for disadvantaged groups?
  • Public Perceptions of Attorneys. The archetype of the gladiator-lawyer who fights his/her battles in court is largely out of step with how most lawyers resolve their cases. But do lawyers still project themselves that way in their advertising? Or do they present themselves instead as good negotiators, who will obtain favorable settlements for their clients? This line of research examines the content and messaging in attorney advertising, and its influence on public perceptions of attorneys.

How to Apply: Submit a statement of interest and a resume. Your statement of interest should be 250 to 750 words in length and describe your knowledge of, experience and/or interest in the topics described above, or in quantitative research. This research tends to be well-suited to students who are very detail oriented. To the extent you have a background in statistical analysis, science, social science, computer programming, or web design, please discuss that background. 
You should also describe your current interests and long-term goals and why you would be a good match for the 1L Fellowship Program. Your name (as stated on your application for admission) must be included on your statement of interest. Email your statement of interest and resume to the Admissions Office (admissions@law.uoregon.edu). Alternatively, you may mail your essay to:

University of Oregon School of Law
Admissions Office
1221 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403-1221

Fellowship applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and continue until the fellowships are filled. Applications for Fellowships may be submitted at the time you submit your application for law school. All candidates will be notified when the process has been completed.