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Here's what you'll study

Broadcast ImageThe confluence of politics and the media exerts pressure on the judiciary process, creating new responsibilities and concerns for the courts and legal decision-makers. Examine the conflicting demands for judicial impartiality and political ideology and you'll find a compelling lesson in the most fundamental principles of the law. Explore the influence of politics and media on judicial independence from municipal courts all the way to the Supreme Court and you'll discover the nuances of law in the modern world.

IJPM is a first-of-its-kind academic institute and is celebrating its fifth year devoted to the interdisciplinary study of complex issues at the intersection of law, politics, and the media. Through a collaborative effort among the Syracuse University College of Law, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, a unique program has been developed that will expand your view of the law - today and the future. The curriculum delivers a compelling blend of law, political science, public administration, history, media and communications.

The institute sponsors special lectures, conferences & symposia designed to foster discussion and debate among legal scholars, sitting judges, working journalists, and some of the leading thinkers in the country -- and you're invited to attend.

» Here are some of the challenging subjects you'll study

» Course syllabus, meetings & events 

Five Years of IJPM Success

Led by IJPM Director, Keith J. Bybee, an interdisciplinary certificate program was developed that provides SU College of Law students front row seats to the activities that have occured since fall of 2006.

Lectures, Symposia and Conferences:
There have been over 30 lectures by visiting speakers on topics ranging from the propriety of partisan judicial elections to the portrayal of courts on Law & Order SVU. IJPM has organized nine separate symposia featuring a variety of academics and practitioners. And staged two major conferences:

  • "Law and Media," co-sponsored with the Federal Judicial Center, the government agency for the federal courts. The conference brought 50 federal judges to campus to hear presentations by faculty, journalists, and jurists (we plan to organize conferences with the Federal Judicial Center in the future).
  • "Creators vs. Consumers: The Rhetoric, Reality, and Reformation of Intellectual Property Law and Policy," a conference that featured 16 speakers from the bench, the bar, the press, interest groups, and the legal academy.
Watch the lectures series videos here.

We seek ways to publish work and have organized and edited a volume of essays as well as two law review symposia:
  • Bench Press: The Collision of Courts, Politics, and the Media (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007).
  • "Creators vs. Consumers: The Rhetoric, Reality and Reformation of Intellectual Property Law and Policy," Syracuse Law Review (2008): 427-546.
  • "The Importance of Judicial Appearances: A Symposium on Law, Politics, and the Media," Syracuse Law Review (2009): 361-469.
IJPM also manages the "Law, Politics, and Media" book series at Stanford University Press. The most recent volume will be published this fall: What's Law Got to Do With It? What Judges Do, Why They Do It, and What's at Stake, edited by Charles Gardner Geyh. IJPM edits a subject-matter journal, Law, Politics, and the Media eJournal, on the Social Science Research Network. Over 100 issues have been produced since the journal's launch in 2009.

Here's where you'll spend a lot of your time

There are significant advantages to tackling your law degree in an environment that's integrated into a major university. Here are some of the places you'll be spending your time as you pursue your studies. In your spare time? Well, there's plenty of excitement to find here as well.

College of Law  

Syracuse University College of Law: A rich tradition in law & interdisciplinary law studies.


Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University: National leader in public affairs, political science & international relations.

Newhouse   S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University: One of the nation's most prestigious communications schools. 
College of Law

College of Law



Keith Bybee

Here's someone you might learn from

Professor Keith Bybee

Professor Bybee focuses his work on the study of law, politics and the media. He is a prolific scholar who not only has published three books and a wide variety of articles and commentary, but who also truly enjoys his time in the classroom. He is deeply committed to helping students understand how policy making and the press affect (and are affected by) the courts and the judicial process.

Learn more about Professor Bybee>>

CBSNews.com's Outside Voices: Keith Bybee On The Media's Role In Selecting Impartial Justices>>

Listen to Professor Keith Bybee discuss his latest book on WNYC>>

Bert Kaufman

Meet Bert Kaufman L'07, an IJPM alum

"Not only did I want an academic experience that crossed disciplines, I wanted one that stood at the intersection of my degrees in the College of Law, Newhouse, and Maxwell. It is important that law students get perspective from beyond the law school. When we started IJPM I had a unique opportunity to engage with the best minds from all three schools to create a program that did exactly that. I graduated knowing that through IJPM I got the most out of the joint degree programs and my experience at the College of Law."

Read more on Bert's IJPM experience>>

My Experience at IJPM

Not only did I want an academic experience that crossed disciplines, I wanted one that stood at the intersection of my degrees in the College of Law, Newhouse, and Maxwell. It is important that law students get perspective from beyond the law school. When we started IJPM I had a unique opportunity to engage with the best minds from all three schools to create a program that did exactly that. I graduated knowing that through IJPM I got the most out of the joint degree programs and my experience at the College of Law.

My Relationship With The Faculty

IJPM allowed me to develop close relationships with accomplished faculty members from Newhouse, Maxwell and the College of Law that went beyond a classroom lecture, or a test score, towards creating a new and innovative kind of academic experience. These faculty were some of my biggest validators when it came time to look for my first job, and four years later, they all remain great resources for advice, ideas and personal development.

On The Role of IJPM

IJPM's reach extends well beyond the University Hill. In just a few short years, IJPM has engaged with many of the country¿s most respected jurists, journalists, academics and lawyers. It will always fill a critical market void for cutting analysis and scholarship that recognizes as its centerpiece the interplay among the judiciary, politics, and media. It is the only platform that I know of to foster this kind of work.

On Your Career

It's important to go into law school having an idea of what you want to do when you get out. For some, it's going to work at a big law firm, for others, the government or a non-profit might be the endgame, and some people might go in thinking a law degree will be useful no matter what, even if they don't want a traditional practice. I clerked in federal court for a year after I graduated. It was amazing to work backstage in our federal judiciary. IJPM didn't make me a better legal writer. It didn't give me the law I needed to know to help my judge make decisions, but my experience there set me apart from other applicants and it gave me a very important perspective as a law clerk to help me better consider the consequences of judicial decision-making.

Here's what's happening at IJPM now

In the emerging study of law, politics and media, IJPM is right at the center of the conversation. In fact, in many cases, we're creating the conversation. And, our leaders on the national stage are the same decorated faculty members that you'll be learning from:

Pulitzer Prize winner and IJPM Faculty Fellow, David Cay Johnston, joined the Reuters team in July as a weekly News & Insight columnist his features target tax and accounting professionals. He will also be a regular contributor on the Reuters wire. Mr. Johnston has 13 years of experience with the New York Times and won his Pulitzer Prize by uncovering tax loopholes in the U.S. tax code.

IJPM Director Keith Bybee receives grant from Social Science Research Council. The Shar'ia, Laws of War, and Post-Conflict Justice Project, is an interdisciplinary venture designed to raise the visibility of the important rapport between Islamic and international law. The objective of this project is to advance the public discourse on how these two concepts can work together, as well as provide a resource for researchers, students, media professionals, and practitioners (from the US aid, diplomatic, military, and NGO communities) to learn from one another, develop networks of understanding, and create new projects.

IJPM Faculty Fellow, Amy Bach receives Echoing Green grant to fund her groundbreaking approach to identifying deficiencies in the criminal court system. The Judicial Outcomes Center will evaluate local criminal systems on a court by court basis, rank them using a number of factors, including recidivism and crime reduction, and assist the courts in correcting the deficiencies. Currently there is no comprehensive system to inform the public of the efficacy of its local justice system and Ms. Bach's innovative vision for creating better local courts will lead the way.

Aliza Milner, an IJPM Faculty Fellow has published a new book through Lexis. This book can be used as a text for "clerking" or as a desk reference. Among the topics covered are a general introduction into the world of clerking, instructions for writing appellate court briefs, a thorough discussion of drafting for trial courts, as well as insight for drafting opinions in both the majority and the minority. This is a must have for any current or potential judicial clerk.

IJPM Director Keith Bybee's "U.S. Public Perception of the Judiciary: Mixed Law and Politics" in Jurist. Bybee discusses the role of judges in the healthcare debate with a focus on the partisanship in the process.

Bybee, IJPM Director featured as Guest Blogger on "Political Bookworm". Keith Bybee's piece "Politics or Impartiality in the Courtroom?" was recently featured on the Washington Post's blog "Political Bookworm."  The post discussed the ongoing tensions between impartiality and politics that surround public perceptions of courts and judges.

Here's what our recent grads think about IJPM

"IJPM was a critical feature for me in choosing Syracuse Law. The incredible faculty involved with IJPM continually go the extra mile to incorporate the three perspectives - Law, Politics and the Media - into the curriculum. The exposure to Maxwell and Newhouse graduate students provided invaluable perspective that I would not have ordinarily had if not for IJPM."

Justin Howland, L'11
Williamston, Michigan