Degree Programs

What Alumni/ae Do with their Joint-Degrees

While at Emory, joint degree candidates participate in CSLR research projects and public forums, pursue their own research and internship programs, and engage in a number of social and academic events with other joint degree candidates. Some joint degree alumni/ae choose to practice law with large or small firms, with local, state, and federal governments, or with any number of public interest groups in America and abroad. Others pursue ordained ministry or work within the structure of various religious organizations. Several join non-profit agencies, non-governmental organizations, and human rights or religious freedom advocacy groups. A number work in prison fellowship organizations, social welfare ministries, mediation and arbitration centers, and more. The choice of career depends as much upon a candidates own individual interests and talents as it does upon the job market. The degree programs provide flexibility for students to experiment with their interests and to tailor a program suited to their long-term professional aspirations.

 

Stories from our Graduates

Amos Davis, JD-MTS, 2010

Davis seeks what is beyond most people’s limits. Looking for more than a traditional undergraduate degree could offer, he created his own major at the University of Virginia (in philosophical theology), then studied and taught oversees.  Still thirsting for knowledge, he signed up for the MTS degree program at Candler and planned to pursue a PhD. His MTS course work led him to sign up for a popular cross-listed course at Emory Law --  CSLR Director John Witte Jr.’s  “History of Church-State Relations in the West” – and then he knew what he must conquer next -- a joint degree in law and religion.

"Theology -- broadly construed -- offers the individual the motivational impetus for engaging in moral behavior.  Law, then, is how we as a society collectively codify those overlapping moral viewpoints on which the majority of us agree,” Davis said. “The CSLR allowed me to combine the theoretical study of ethics and morality with the practical study of how to implement those theoretical viewpoints in a pluralistic society."

Davis excelled in the dual degree program. He was awarded a full tuition merit-based scholarship to Candler, a public service grant from Emory Law's Public Interest Committee, the American Trial Lawyers Medal for Excellence in Advocacy, an appointment to the national Order of Barristers, the Pro Bono Publico Medal for Public Service, the Herman Dooyeweerd Prize in Law and Religion, and the Eliza Ellison Prize for Leadership in Law and Religion.

After taking the Louisiana Bar exam, Davis will begin a federal clerkship with the Honorable Kenneth Hoyt of the Southern District of Texas in Houston.  Ever striving, some day he would like to become a professor in the field of law and religion. 

 

 

Trevor Pinkerton, JD-MTS, 2010

Pinkerton looks at life through a wide angled lens.  He understands that it is important not to limit himself to a specific study, but rather to expand his focus.  Pinkerton heard about the CSLR’s joint degree program after being accepted to Emory Law.  “I chose to pursue the joint degree because I’ve always enjoyed reading and studying theology on my own,” said Pinkerton, a 2006 graduate of Rice University. “I knew that if I wanted to practice law, the opportunity to study theology in an academic environment would not present itself again for a very long time, if at all.”

He found it helpful to explore personal beliefs as well as measure beliefs to the well-formulated arguments of others.   “The best thing about the program was getting to work with people as knowledgeable, kind, and encouraging as Professors John Witte and Frank Alexander. They took special care to see that we were getting the most out of the joint degree and really made a place for us between the law and theology schools.” 

Pinkerton fondly remembers one semester taking courses on New Testament, Christian Ethics, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bankruptcy, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Accounting -- all at the same time.   “It allowed me to grasp the many overlaps in content and structure between law and theology, two subjects that modern society often views as opposed, or at least unrelated, to one another.

Pinkerton received the Savage-Lebey Scholarship in Law and Religion, the Herman Dooyeweerd Prize for Excellence in Law and Religion, and graduated with honors. After the Texas Bar exam, he will join the Houston corporate transactions group at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP.

 

 

Crystal Stevens, JD-MTS, 2010

Stevens’ exceptional interest in her studies has propelled her to things she’d never before considered -- applying to the CSLR’s joint degree program and then tackling a challenging elective -- Biblical Hebrew -- during her final year.  

“The combination of law and religion has been perfect for me and my interests. But I know that it wasn't just the unique blend of the disciplines of law and religion that made my experience so worthwhile. At the CSLR, my colleagues inspired me, the staff supported me, and my professors treated me as their peers.  I'm convinced that although there should be more like it, the CSLR is impossible to duplicate because of the leadership of our faculty and staff.”

A professor at the University of Virginia encouraged Stevens to apply to the CSLR after she became   intrigued by the reading in her religious studies courses.  After graduating from UVA in 2006, she had her pick of several top law schools and chose Emory, never questioning whether or not it was the right decision. 

Stevens came to Emory with a Georgia Law scholarship and MTS Grant and was one of two Black Law Students Association 1L scholarship recipients.  Upon graduation, she received the Herman Dooyeweerd Prize in Law and Religion. She will join the Atlanta firm of Swift, Currie, McGhee and Hiers as an associate in the fall. She hopes to engage her MTS degree there by developing a non-profit law practice area.  But her desire to study is still alive -- she plans to return to the CSLR to pursue the new SJD in Law and Religion.

 

 

Stephen Weyer, JD-MTS, 2010

Weyer finished his undergraduate degree in 2002 at Emory University and then headed for the real world. Two growing seasons at an organic farm in New Jersey and three years as the director of outreach at a Manhattan church drove him back to school. He applied to Emory Law after overseeing a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, two food pantries, and several other programs for impoverished persons.

CSLR reached out to Weyer and eventually he signed up for a joint degree. “It took two full years of half-in, half-out posturing before I jumped in all the way,” he said. “What I most enjoyed was the collegial and supportive community, where the students and professors took a great interest in one another.  It was good to find a small community of like-minded scholars with which I could feel at home.”

While at Emory, Weyer received numerous awards and scholarships. He was a recipient of the Robert W. Woodruff Scholarship at Emory Law and the MTS Scholarship at Candler.  He also was awarded the A. James Elliott Community Service Award, Pro Bono Publico Medal, Herman Dooyeweerd Prize in Law and Religion, Savage-Lebey Award for Excellence in Law and Religion Studies, Jack Boozer Fellowship in Servant Leadership, and the University of Georgia School of Law, Working in Public Interest Student Achievement Award.

After completing the New York Bar exam, Weyer hopes to find a position with the government or a non-profit organization.

 

 

"I'm fascinated by how the law almost unconsciously inherits and adopts its norms from religious thinking and how it can then turn around and influence religion by pushing back on boundaries."

–Mark Aaron Goldfeder
LLM 2012 and SJD 2013

–Brian Green
JD/MTS 2011

"I chose to pursue a joint degree because I wanted to understand what justice could and should mean from both the practical side (law) but also the theoretical side (religion and ethics). This taught me to ask the questions necessary to help someone but also to listen to what the person really wants and needs--vital skills for my work in public interest law."

–Jennifer Williams
JD/MTS 2012