The ELS Blog is pleased to welcome Laura Hatcher as this week's guest blogger. Laura is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Southern Illinois University. She received her Ph.D. in 2002 from University of Massachusetts--Amherst and thereafter served as a postgraduate fellow in Law and Public Policy at Brown University and as Visiting Professor at Wisconsin. Laura's dissertation was entitled, "Conservative Cause Advocacy: The Multiple Sites of Conservative Legal Ideology." Her subsequent research and publications continue to explore the relationship between ideology and conservative cause lawyering.
Laura got my attention at the 2006 Law & Society Annual Meeting when she presented her provocative work-in-progress, "What IS the Federalist Society? Legal Expertise and Ideological Production in the Legal Profession." Apparently, existing typologies for interest groups do not adequately explain the rapid growth and activities of the Federalist Society. And as many law students and law professor know, the Federalist Society plays an important, but often opaque, role in allocating many prestigious federal clerkship. In turn, these clerkships open doors into coveted positions in government, law firms, academia, think tanks and business. To unravel this definitional problem, Laura has set up a research design that includes interviews and observational fieldwork. I look forward to reading about this project and others during the coming week.