Katharina Isabel Schmidt

Katharina Isabel Schmidt is a first-year J.S.D. candidate at the Yale Law School. Before coming to New Haven in 2012, she obtained a joint LL.B/Baccalaureus Legum degree in German and English Law, graduating from both University College London and the University of Cologne in 2010. During this time she worked for the German Foreign Office as well as several international law firms, specializing on IP, regulation and antitrust law. She was also a finalist in the Telders International Law Moot Court Competition 2010. In 2010/2011, Ms. Schmidt went on to read for the BCL at the University of Oxford, where she focused on jurisprudence and legal philosophy. During this time, she also did research for the Max Planck Institute for International and Comparative Private Law. After working as a research and teaching assistant at the University of Cologne for a year, Ms. Schmidt went on to pursue an LL.M degree at the Yale Law School where she focused on legal history, comparative law and private law theory. Ms. Schmidt has publications forthcoming in journals on both sides of the Atlantic. She was also accepted to present her work at conferences in Germany, Israel, the UK and the US.

Fields of Academic Interest & Dissertation Project
The preliminary title of Ms. Schmidt’s doctoral dissertation is Towards a More ‘Realistic’ Jurisprudence: Facticity, Normativity and the Turn to ‘Life’ in Early 20th Century German and American Legal Thought. As part of her project, she sets out to shed some much-needed light on the question why ‘realist’ or ‘anti-formalist’ ideas captured the imagination of American jurists but never really became part of mainstream German legal thought. For this purpose, she will engage in a comparative-historical analysis of American Legal Realism and the German Free Law Movement (Freirechtsbewegung). More generally, Ms. Schmidt seeks to explain why German and American legal thought ultimately adopted diverging responses to the practical and theoretical challenges of modernity, despite being driven by similar concerns and ideas. As such, Ms. Schmidt also hopes to connect her work to broader currents in 20th century trans-Atlantic intellectual history, philosophy and political theory.

In addition, Ms. Schmidt’s research and teaching interests include: Contract Law, Tort Law, Comparative Law, Modern American Legal Thought, European Union Law, Constitutional Theory, Private Law Theory, Anglo-American Legal History, European Legal History, Legal Theory & Philosophy, Legal Sociology & Anthropology, Critical Perspectives on Legal Education & the Legal Profession.

Doctoral Committee
Professor James Q. Whitman (Supervisor), Professor John Fabian Witt (Reader), Professor Paul W. Kahn (Reader), Professor Dieter Grimm (Reader)

LL.M, Yale Law School, 2013
BCL, University of Oxford, 2011
Baccalaureus Legum, University of Cologne, 2010
LL.B, University College London, 2010

Contact Information
Katharina Isabel Schmidt
Yale Law School
P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06511