Q&A for Beginner Empiricists

Q&A for Beginner Empiricists

Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021 3:00 – 5:00 PM EST

Webinar Description:

The AALS Section on the Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession is bringing together a group of folks who have successfully conducted empirical work, some of whom had no prior training and knew little about how to do so before embarking on a research project, to share about their experiences with getting started and to give some general advice for those who are interested in starting down this path. We will then shift to small group discussions in break-out rooms to hear about attendees’ research interests and offer advice and support where possible. Pep talks and technical advice are sure to be included! Some of us may even have a cocktail, depending on proclivity and time zone.


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Swethaa Ballakrishnen, J.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen is a socio-legal scholar whose research examines the intersections between law, globalization and stratification from a critical feminist perspective. Particularly, across a range of sites and different levels of analysis, their work interrogates how law and legal institutions create, continue and counter different kinds of socio-economic inequalities. Ballakrishnen’s writing has appeared in, among other journals, Law and Society Review, Law and Social Inquiry, Fordham Law Review, International Journal of the Legal Profession, and the Journal of Professions and Organization. Their first book, Accidental Feminism was published in 2021 by Princeton University Press.


Publications: Click here to view a list of publications by Swethaa Ballakrishnen, J.D., Ph.D.




Anahid Gharakhanian, J.D., Vice Dean, Director of Externship Program, and Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills, Southwestern Law School

Following a number of years in practice, Anahid Gharakhanian joined Southwestern Law School in 2002, teaching Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills, and directing the school’s extensive Externship Program starting in 2005. She’s currently serving as one of the two Vice Deans (and also served as a Vice Dean from 2012 to 2016). Southwestern’s Board Chair, Charles Fairchild, has established an endowment in Anahid’s honor to recognize her contributions to his education and to Southwestern. The Anahid Gharakhanian Endowment supports three annual awards: Excellence in Teaching Award; Award for Outstanding Staff Service; and the Gharakhanian Scholarship.

Anahid is an active member of the Southern California Externships Consortium and has served as co-chair of AALS Externships group (spring 2019 to 2021). Over the years, she’s also worked closely with the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, recently on the Building A Better Bar project, as well as serving on the Foundations for Practice Advisory Committee.

Publications: Click here to view a list of publications by Anahid Gharakhanian, J.D.



Rachel Moran, J.D., Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

Rachel F. Moran is Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Irvine. Previously, she was the Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law and Dean Emerita at UCLA and the Robert D. and Leslie-Kay Raven Professor of Law at UC Berkeley. Moran is past President of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and currently serves on the Law and Society Association’s Board of Trustees and the Section on Empirical Study of Legal Education and the Legal Profession’s Executive Committee. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (ABF), a member of the American Law Institute, and a Fellow of UCLA’s Civil Rights Project. In 2012, President Obama appointed her to the Permanent Committee of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise. As the ABF’s inaugural Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law, Moran launched “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility” with Robert L. Nelson.

Publications: Click here to view a list of publications by Rachel Moran, J.D.



Melissa Weresh, J.D., Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law, Drake University Law School

Melissa Weresh is a Professor of Law at Drake University Law School and one of the brightest stars in the legal writing field. Professor Weresh has dedicated her twenty-year career to the study and teaching of legal writing. Professor Weresh has been a consistent leader and voice for the legal writing community.

Publications: Click here to view a list of publications by Melissa Weresh, J.D.




Amy Widman, J.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School

Amy Widman joined Rutgers Law School in 2019.  Previously, she was deputy director at the National Center for Access to Justice at Fordham Law School, where she helped to expand the Justice Index database. Before that, Professor Widman was an associate professor at Northern Illinois University College of Law. Over the years she has taught torts, administrative law, federal courts, legislation, policy advocacy, legal writing, and advanced writing seminars. Professor Widman’s scholarship focuses on access to civil justice and consumer protection.

Publications: Click here to view a list of publications by Amy Widman, J.D.