Background: I am originally from Greece and had studied and worked in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands before enrolling in the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. During the last few years before coming to Penn, I had served a Defense Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague.
SJD program: Dissertation title: An Interpretative Theory of Customary International Law in a Networked International Legal Community; advisor: Professor William Burke-White; date of graduation: August 2016.
Impact of SJD program in your career: As someone on an academic career trajectory planning to be marketable in both the US and Europe, the program provided me with the best tools available to traverse these academic markets successfully. Prior to my current employment as a tenure-track professor in the US, I had spent two years as a tenure-track professor at Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. My SJD at Penn was singlehandedly the vehicle for my success in the very competitive legal academic markets.
What makes the SJD program at Penn unique: Unsurprisingly, Penn is all about community and that’s what made my experience there so special. I made lifelong friends and established a network of peers that has always been extremely supportive and encouraging along the way.
Advice to SJD candidates: My advice to those who want to pursue an SJD is to engage in this process backwards. Start with where you would like to be professionally - geographically, academically, personally - in four to five years from now and work your way back from there. Ask recent graduates and mentors who have followed a similar path what the key milestones were to their success, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Everyone at Penn wants you to succeed!