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Launching the program

In 2006, with the support of Chancellor Nick Zeppos (then Provost), Joni Hersch and W. Kip Viscusi moved from Harvard Law School to Vanderbilt to launch a new Ph.D. program that would focus on integrating the study of economics with the study of law. The Ph.D. Program in Law and Economics at Vanderbilt was the first Ph.D. program to be administratively based in a law school. Designed by Professors Hersch and Viscusi, together with economics professor Kathryn H. Anderson, the program offers 11 new and innovative courses specifically developed for this Ph.D. program. The program's field design requires students to fully integrate law and economics in specialized areas of interest.

Growth and graduates

Professor Paige Marta Skiba joined the law and economics faculty in Fall 2007. Sharon A. Shewmake joined the program as Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Fall 2010 and stayed at Vanderbilt for three years. The program's first graduate, Jennifer Bennett Shinall, was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Law and Economics in 2013-2014 and joined the law and economics faculty in Fall 2014. The program's third graduate, Caroline Cecot, was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar in Law and Economics in 2014-2015.

The first cohort of students entered in Fall 2007, and the program has graduated ten joint-degree students: Jennifer Bennett Shinall (2012), Jinghui Lim (2013), Caroline Cecot (2014), Blair Druhan Bullock (2015), Jacob P. Byl (2015), Benjamin J. McMichael (2015), Samuel M. Miller (2015), Elissa Philip Gentry (2016), Henri Rautonen (2016), and Jean Y. Xiao (2017).

We currently have nine students in residence in the dual-degree program, ranging from year one to year six.

Highlights of student achievement, 2007-present

  • 30 Vanderbilt Scholastic Excellence Awards for outstanding performance in a single J.D. course
  • 11 students held editorial positions on the Vanderbilt Law Review
  • 7 senior editorial positions on the Vanderbilt Law Review (4 senior articles editors, 1 executive editor, 1 senior En Banc editor, 1 Articles Editor)
  • 8 judicial clerkships secured in the U.S. Court of Appeals
  • 1 judicial clerkship secured in a U.S. District Court
  • 5 postdoctoral research fellowships secured
  • 1 legal fellow position secured
  • 2 Myron Penn Laughlin Awards for excellence in a published Note in the Vanderbilt Law Review
  • 2 students tied for the Archie B. Martin Memorial Prize for the highest GPA in the first year of J.D. study
  • 1 Robert F. Jackson Memorial Prize for the highest GPA in the first two years of J.D. study
  • 1 Burton Award for Distinguished Writing by The Burton Foundation
  • 1 Morgan Prize for most outstanding piece of student writing published in the Vanderbilt Law Review
  • 1 winner of the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Endangered Species Writing Competition
  • 2 American Bar Association Janet D. Steiger Fellowship recipients
  • 2 Assistant Professor of Law positions secured
  • 1 American Antitrust Institute's Best Antitrust and Buyer Power Article Award
  • 1 Graduate Student Award for the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany