Our Students - Profiles

John Bliss

Year: Advanced to Candidacy (ABD) - JSP

Email: jwb@berkeley.edu


JD 2010, UC Berkeley School of Law
BA 2004, Anthropology, Comparative History of Ideas, University of Washington


Sociology of Law
The Legal Profession
Legal Ethics
Professional Responsibility
Cause Lawyers
Legal Epistemology
Legal Consciousness
Personal Identity
Qualitative Methods


Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award 2014
Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Fellowship 2014
Jurisprudence and Social Policy Fellowship 2013–2014
UC Berkeley Dean’s Normative Time Fellowship 2012–2013
UC Berkeley Graduate Division Summer Grant 2012, 2013
Selznick Fellowship 2009–2010
Bonderman Independent Travel Fellowship 2003–2004
May Gates Leadership Fellowship 2002–2003
Evans Scholarship 2000–2004

Academic Experiences:

Sociology of Law 2014
Introduction to Legal Studies 2013
Chinese Law and Society 2012, 2013
Law, Self, and Society 2010, 2011
Theories of Law and Society 2011
Introduction to Quantitative Methods 2010

Law and Public Policy, Mills College 2013

Syracuse University
Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research 2014
Alameda County Department of Public Health, Researcher 2009 – 2011
Berkeley Law, Professor Jonathan Simon, Research Assistant 2010 – 2011
Berkeley Law, Professor Jeff Selbin, Research Assistant 2009 – 2010

Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities 2014
“Divided Selves: Identity Formation in Law School”
Law and Society Association 2014
“Divided Selves: A Qualitative Study of Law School Socialization.”
American Sociological Association 2014
“Role Distancing and Professional Identity in the Legal Profession”
ClassCrits VII, UC Davis School of Law
“Privilege, Identity, and Public Interest Drift in Law Schools”

Employment Experiences:

Alameda County Department of Public Health, Researcher 2009 – 2011
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Legal Intern, Asylum Practice 2007-2009
Legal Aid Society, Employment Law Center, Legal Intern 2007-2008
East Bay Community Law Center, Legal Intern, HIV Immigration Unit 2008

Dissertation Abstract:

Divided Selves: A Qualitatite Study of Law School Socialization

The literature on law school socialization offers compelling accounts of how learning to “think like a lawyer” transforms the law student into a new self who eschews context, emotions, politics, and morality. My dissertation takes this inquiry a step further by examining how deeply law students internalize their emerging professional roles and how deeply they internalize legal thinking/epistemology. Drawing on five years of interviews, ethnography, and a novel identity mapping technique, I posit a typology of the self that emerges from legal education. In each category of the typology I find an extraordinary degree of role distancing regarding fundamental aspects of the lawyer role. I conclude by raising the hypothesis that extreme role distancing is an intrinsic feature of the U.S. legal profession.