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


Legal Education
Law and Identity
Chinese Law and Society
Pro Bono
Professional Responsibility
First-Generation Professionals
Sociology of Law
Legal Consciousness
Social Change
Racial Residential Segregation


Harvard Law School, Center on the Legal Profession, Resident Fellowship 2016-2017
Berkeley Empirical Legal Studies Fellowship 2014-15
Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award 2014
Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research Fellowship 2014
Jurisprudence and Social Policy Fellowship 2013–14
UC Berkeley Dean’s Normative Time Fellowship 2012–13
UC Berkeley Graduate Division Summer Grant 2012, 2013
Selznick Fellowship 2009–10
Bonderman Travel Fellowship 2003–04
May Gates Leadership Fellowship 2002–03
Evans (Full-Ride Undergraduate) Scholarship 2000–04

Academic Experiences:

Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, Program Participant 2014
Alameda County Department of Public Health, Researcher 2009–11
Berkeley Law, Professor Jonathan Simon, Research Assistant 2010–11
Berkeley Law, Professor Jeff Selbin, Research Assistant 2009–10

American Anthropological Association. Denver, CO. 2015.
____“Defining Drift: An Identity-Work Analysis of 'Public Interest Drift' in Law School.”
Stanford Program in Law and Society Conference for Junior Scholars. Palo Alto, CA. May 2015.
University of British Columbia Interdisciplinary Legal Studies Graduate Student Conference. Vancouver, BC. May 2015
____“Divided Selves: Professional Role Distancing among Law Students and New Lawyers.”
Law and Society Association. Seattle, WA. May 2015
____"Deconstructing Drift: Privilege and Public Interest Drift in Law School." Organizer and chair of panel, "Race and Privilege in Legal Education."
Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities. University of Virginia. 2014
____“Divided Selves: Alienation and Legal Consciousness among Law Students”
Law and Society Association. Minneapolis, MN. 2014
____“Divided Selves: A Qualitative Study of Law School Socialization.”
American Sociological Association. San Francisco, CA. 2014
____“Goffmanesque Role Distancing in the Legal Profession”
ClassCrits VII, UC Davis School of Law. 2014
____“Public Interest Drift in the Great Recession”
Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research. Syracuse University. 2014
____"Drift and Choice: 'Public-Interest Drift' in Lower-Tier and Upper-Tier Law Schools."
Invited lecture in Law and Public Policy. Mills College, Oakland, CA. 2013
____"Residential Segregation and Public Health Inequalities."

Employment Experiences:

Sociology of Law 2014
Introduction to Legal Studies 2013
Chinese Law and Society 2012, 2013, 2015 "Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor" award
Law, Self, and Society 2010, 2011
Theories of Law and Society 2011
Introduction to Quantitative Methods 2010

Alameda County Department of Public Health, Legal Intern and Researcher 2009–12
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Legal Intern, Asylum Practice 2007-09
Legal Aid Society, Employment Law Center, Legal Intern 2007-08
East Bay Community Law Center, Health and Immigration Unit, Legal Intern 2008

Dissertation Abstract:

The Dynamics of the Professional Self: Findings from Law School and Early Law Careers

The empirical literature on U.S. legal education suggests that learning to “think like a lawyer” requires students to bifurcate personal values and the professional self. Legal scholars perennially debate whether this bifurcation results in an alienated and “bleached out” professionalism or a relatively benign sacrifice of personal preferences in favor of the client-centered principle of “neutral partisanship.” This dissertation brings these normative and empirical perspectives into conversation through an exploratory microdynamic study of lawyers’ professional identity formation at an elite law school. Drawing on 153 longitudinal interviews, a novel identity mapping method, and ethnographic observations, I examine how law students conceive of their emerging professional selves relative to other roles in their lives, how these conceptions change over the course of legal education, and how this empirical analysis may alter normative debates on professional socialization.