Feb 14, 2019

3 Reasons Why Law Students Should Consider the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship

The Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship is a one-year, competitive fellowship program awarded to graduate students in a variety of fields including economics, law, political science, and public policy. The aim of this fellowship is to introduce students to the Austrian, Virginia, and Bloomington schools of political economy as academic foundations for pursuing contemporary policy analysis. 

Why should law students consider applying to the fellowship?

Being a law student can be incredibly stressful and typically comes with a hefty workload.  It’s not surprising that some law students might be hesitant to add more reading and responsibility. Still, I can say without a doubt that being a Frédéric Bastiat Fellow was worth it for three key reasons:

1. Research Skills and Opportunities

Much of the time in the classroom in law school is focused on the cases at hand in a particular course. Classes with papers were less common than exam-based courses and, as a result, opportunities to do independent research were rare. The Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship gave me the opportunity to work with a variety of scholars at Mercatus to conduct research and contribute to papers. But even without pursuing these additional opportunities, having the chance to engage in a different kind of study from your typical casebook was extremely beneficial to my own scholarly development.

2. Networking and Mentorship

Another key advantage of all of Mercatus’s fellowships is the access to and networking opportunities with Mercatus scholars, alumni, and other students. Having scholars beyond my professors to learn from and seek both career and scholastic advice from was extremely valuable. As the alumni network has grown, having people who had “been there, done that” was also an incredible resource as my time in law school came to a close. Additionally, I find myself bumping into members of my own cohort of fellows at a variety of conferences and events, and it is always nice to know someone in a variety of fields including medicine, urban planning, and social work when researching a new issue.

3. Interdisciplinary Conversations Matter

This interdisciplinary network reflects one of the other key benefits of the fellowship. Often in law school, it is easy to narrowly focus only on what the law says rather than all of the aspects that may be impacted by the law. Other disciplines provide key insights into understanding both cause and effect of lawyers and the law. Not only do interdisciplinary perspectives give you a new understanding and appreciation of the role lawyers play, but these interdisciplinary conversations can also help prepare law students to understand and explain the law and legal principles to non-lawyers as well.

Particularly for students that are looking for a career beyond the courtroom, the skills and knowledge gained from the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship can provide the perfect supplement to the traditional law school curriculum. The opportunities provided and the guidance and support of Mercatus’s Academic and Student Programs team extend beyond the yearlong program. It’s easy to get caught up in the checklist of classes, journals, and moot court, but for law students interested in a career in public policy applying to the Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship is worth adding to the list. 

The application deadline for the 2019-2020 Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship is March 15, 2019. Apply today!

Mercatus also has other fellowships for graduate students interested in political economy and public policy. Find out more by visiting students.mercatus.org

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