As a Fulbright Student from the United Kingdom, I pursued a Master of Laws degree at Harvard Law School; in my LL.M. research, I investigated the utility of a functionalist approach to private law, and how this U.S.-based approach to legal research can be useful for better understanding UK private law theory. This involves developing my knowledge of law and economics, both institutional and situational economics and efficiency theory, and applying this and other theories of private law, including a remedies-focused approach, to the UK laws of contract and restitution so that a fuller theoretical picture may be developed. I hope to take this research and knowledge back to the UK and further the study of Law and Economics, along with a functionalist approach to private law, at all levels of legal scholarship and teaching.
Outside of my studies, I have been trying to put the Fulbright aim of promoting mutual understanding into action: I gave a presentation to a local community group in Cambridge, MA, about my home country of Northern Ireland, the wider issue UK regional divides, and the legal and political issues surrounding these. I also enjoyed discussing my home country during a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my Fulbright host family, during which we (as a multicultural group from over five countries) discussed our varying cultural experiences. Furthermore, I have been involved in a number of community projects, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in Cambridge during which I participated in making bookmarks for literacy projects and cards for veterans and seniors, and the Annual Harvard Meal Packing event to provide meals for some of the poorest areas of Massachusetts. This was a great opportunity to talk about the Fulbright project with local people from Cambridge who had come together for the day of service. I have also participated in statewide sporting events, through my sport of archery, as I have attended a number of competitions in Massachusetts, at which I enjoy discussing my experiences in the U.S. and the UK with other competitors.
During the rest of my time as a Fulbrighter, I thoroughly enjoyed the Fulbright Enrichment Seminar on ‘Civic Engagement’ in Pittsburgh and having further opportunities to travel within the U.S.
I hope to one day publish some of my research combining the United States and UK legal cultures.