I struck an interest in legal corruption while taking an American Legal History course with Professor Bernard Hibbitts. While talking the course, there were common themes of corruption throughout the legal history of America, and I felt that there was a lot of research to be done that hadn’t yet been paid much attention to. I knew Professor Hibbitts would be the ideal mentor for such a topic, considering his in-depth knowledge of American legal history, as well as his recognition of the flaws of the American legal system. I first approached him to discuss a possible BPhil, but the idea of the CURF seemed like a terrific starting point to a longer period of research on similar and corresponding topics.
My advice to a student seeking research would be to discuss any research they may be interested in pursuing with people in their field of interest. I spoke about it with the TA in the American legal history course before discussing it with my mentor. He gave valuable insight on where to start, how to write a proposal, and how to approach my possible mentor. I also would suggest being bold in a topic of choice. Choose something that could use research and make sure they find it compelling. I have found great enjoyment reading and writing about legal corruption, and it is also a topic that many seemed afraid to dive into. I also would recommend taking a course on some sort of research, research methods, or writing research papers. These courses provide a great foundational framework that can provide the confidence necessary to have meaningful research.
Short term, I am pursuing legal internship as well as further legal research. This project has allowed me to kickstart the idea of professional legal research as well as published papers in my field. I know that this may not be the term in which I become a published researcher, but this project has allowed me to become a far better researcher and better thinker in general.
Long term, I would like to go to law school and become a lawyer. It may seem counterintuitive to research all of the flaws of a field I am pursuing a profession in, but understanding these flaws can assist me greatly in helping other and being a better lawyer and person. This research also helps me think and analyze critically, which is a crucial skill for any legal profession.