Who am I? Why this Blog?
I’m Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer.
In August 2016 I completed my Doctor of Law and Policy (LP.D) degree at Northeastern University in Boston. I received my doctoral hood in September 2016. I was a member in the 8th Cohort of that unique program.
I set up this blog at the suggestion of one of the LP.D program leaders whom I truly respect, Professor Neenah Estrella-Luna, Ph.D. Early in the LP.D program she strongly recommended that each Cohort member track their progress and stand up to the scrutiny of peers, just as we do when we publish or present papers.
I took Professor Estrella-Luna’s suggestion to heart, and this blog allowed me to chart my personal journey from a highly-educated lawyer and masters-level blob to highly-educated lawyer and doctoral-level researcher blob.
At least that was my initial goal…
In real life, I’m a practicing telecom law attorney licensed in California and New Mexico, as well as a radio frequency engineer. My law firm has six attorneys, two paralegals, and two dogs working in offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and at our covert office on a Southwest Airlines jet (minus the dogs).
I have earned the following academic degrees:
Associate of Science (AS) degree (honors) Los Angeles Trade Tech College. Los Angeles, California.
Juris Doctor (JD) degree (cum laude) Abraham Lincoln University School of Law. Los Angeles, California.
Masters of Law (LL.M) degree (with distinction) Strathclyde University. Glasgow, Scotland.
Doctor of Law and Policy (LP.D) Northeastern University. Boston, Massachusetts.
Having completed my Doctor of Law and Policy degree, just for fun I might go after a few more professional licenses.
My current goal is to become licensed as a Real Estate Broker in California.
I am personally accountable for my education and the work I put in to that education. Because of that, I’ve decided to be transparent about my grades, whether good or bad (but better good than bad).
Q1 – Summer 2014:
Law and Legal Reasoning 1
(LWP 6120) Grade: A
Law and Policy Concepts 1
(LWP 6401) Grade: A
(LWP 6424) Grade: A-
Q2 – Fall 2014:
Law and Legal Reasoning 2
(LWP 6121) Grade: A
Law and Policy Concepts 2
(LWP 6402) Grade: A-
(LWP 6423) Grade: A
Q3 – Winter 2015:
Law and Legal Reasoning 3
(LWP 6122) Grade: A
Law and Policy Concepts 3
(LWP 6403) Grade: A
(LWP 6420) Grade: A
Q4 – Spring 2015:
Law and Legal Reasoning 4
(LWP 6123) Grade: A
(LWP 6404) Grade: A
Economics for Policy Analysis
(LAW 6410) Grade: A-
Q5 – Summer 2015:
Methods & Theory Appl Research
(LWP6425) Grade: A
(LWP6431) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 1
(LWP6500) Grade: A
Q6 – Fall 2015:
Public Policy Theory & Practice 1
(LWP6450) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 2
(LWP 6501) Grade: A
Q7 – Winter 2016:
Public Policy Theory & Practice 2
(LWP6451) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 3
(LWP 6502) Grade: A
Q8 – Spring 2016:
Public Policy Theory & Practice 3
(LWP6452) Grade: A
Doctoral Research Design 4
(LWP 6503) Grade: A
July 2016: My final GPA after all program coursework is 3.958 on a 4 point scale. I can live with that.
I just learned that the Doctor of Law and Policy program will be expanding to NEU’s Seattle Campus starting next year. This is outstanding for a few reasons (off the top of my head).
First, this program will be far more accessible to mid-west and western students. They will be able to fly in to Seattle the morning of the first day of each monthly intensive meeting rather than having to fly in to Boston the night before. This will save something north of 20 hotel nights and two meals. Let’s see…20 saved hotel nights x $225 = $4,500ish saved plus 40 meals on the road x $20 = $800ish saved = north of $5,000 saved for mid-west and western students who elect to attend the Seattle section rather than the Boston section.
Second, and far more important in my mind, is that the opening of a second section allows for a broader cohort for the exchange of ideas and mutual support.
I am very excited to see how this second section plays out! I hope to support it in whatever way best serves the program.
Dear Cohort IX,
You have now completed your Doctor of Law and Policy studies at Northeastern University, and many of you have already defended your dissertations. The rest of you will do so shortly. On behalf of Cohort VIII, we congratulate every one of you.
Dear Cohort X,
Well, now you’re the seniors. You’ve already started your core writing, and there is an end in sight, albeit a bit blurred right now. Sit down, strap in, and drive forward. You can and will do it, and know that you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Dear Cohort XI,
You’ll soon be asking yourselves what you gotten yourselves into. That’s okay. You’ll figure it out by the end of this year. Hang in there. Enjoy the ride, if not the hard work needed to power the ride. In a few years you’ll realize just how important the program is for you professionally, and personally.
I strongly advise you to actively engage with the members of Cohort X. You’ll learn more, faster about the program from them than from any other source. Don’t isolate yourselves at mealtimes and break times. Sit at the tables with the members of Cohort X, ask them questions, and listen to their answers. You’ll be better off if you do.
To all of you in all three Cohorts, CONGRATULATIONS and full steam ahead!
Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer (Cohort VIII, ’16)
Today I post here a copy of a letter I sent to Professor Estrella-Luna. Some six months after defending my thesis and earning my doctorate in the Doctor of Law and Policy program at Northeastern University, I want to share with her why her teachings have made me a better policy maker and budding academic.
Feel free to metaphorically look over Professor Estrella-Luna’s shoulder and read my letter…
February 12, 2017
Neenah Estrella-Luna, PhD
Doctor of Law & Policy Program
College of Professional Studies
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Dear Professor Estrella-Luna:
It has been nearly six months since I defended my doctoral thesis before you and the other members of the examination committee. That is a great reason for me to reach out to you now to share with you some of my thoughts about you, your impact on me, and the DLP program.
When I entered the DLP program, I met you but didn’t quite know how to take you. Your clinical and critically honest assessment of each of us at that first Intensive Week entering the program was at once unexpected, enlightening, and—to be honest—a bit frightening. Yet, you made it clear from that very first contact that you expected us to excel if we were to achieve our goal to graduate from the program. You also made it equally clear that you would help and support us to reach that goal if we did our part to your very high but achievable expectations and standards.
Frankly, in all of my prior educational programs, whether undergraduate or graduate, I have never encountered a professor who published his or her expectations and goals as clearly and honestly as did you. All of us in Cohort VIII also learned that your clarity in expectations of and goals for each of us were coupled with your promise, on which you unwaveringly delivered, to support each of us to meet both.
You personally inspired me, and I can say with certainty all of the members of Cohort VIII, to push past our self-perceived limits to achieve the core goal of the DLP program. By this I do not mean earning the degree of Doctor of Law and Policy (although that was quite nice, thank you). Rather, I am talking about the program’s core goal of developing effective new policy entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and change agents. In my case, as someone with some prior public visibility in telecommunications law and policy, I know how I have already applied the many tools I learned in the program…tools you taught us…to help shift local, state and national telecom policy as it relates to a new regulatory framework for the deployment of the next generation of wireless facilities. In that regard, I am altogether much more effective today than I was the day I entered the DLP program.
Of all of the tools and elements I learned from you in the DLP program, I believe the most important, at least so far, has been for me to consciously apply critical thinking to enable me to connect seemingly disparate concepts to achieve important policy goals. Your multi-dimensional approach to problem identification and solving has helped me far better understand those who would otherwise be patent policy enemies and turn them into potential, if sometimes latent, policy allies. It has also made me, I hope, a better budding academic.
I often find myself inwardly smiling for a moment or two knowing that in real life I’m applying the policy tools you lead us to understand, respect, and own. In the end analysis, you are to me at the very center of the DLP program. You are the gravity chiefly responsible for drawing in, shaping and producing, and eventually flinging out fully-developed DLP program graduates who then may become their own policy gravity centers.
Warmly, your devoted policy disciple,
Dr. Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq., JD, LL.M, DLP
Member, NEU DLP Cohort VIII
PS: I hope you do not mind, but given your importance to me and the DLP program, I am going to post a copy of this letter at www.JonathanKramer.com, which has apparently become one of the more popular sites on Internet to learn about the DLP program. –jlk
I have the great privilege of being the mentor of Opéoluwa Sotonwa, a member of NEU Doctor of Law and Policy program. Opé is a member of Cohort X. He is an advocate for the deaf and hearing impaired in a position that can truly make a difference; an accomplished attorney; a published author; and a particularly thoughtful individual.
I just finished a call with Opé during which he described his own progress through the DLP program, and recent and upcoming events. Frankly, I’m a bit envious of my young squire.
Okay, first some background. The DLP program has never been static. It has continued to evolve in coursework, presentation, and faculty oversight over the past decade, arguably becoming something better with every passing year.
When I went through the program, which is taught in Boston, we spent two of our cohort “intensives” meetings in Washington D.C. The D.C. trips focused on visits with law and policy leaders, including a meeting with a U.S. Senator, visits to policy think tanks, a visit to the U.S. Supreme Court, seminars with national and international law and policy leaders, and the like.
Okay, why am I envious of Opé? Last month, during Cohort X’s visit to Washington D.C., they spent one-on-one quality time with Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. How cool is that! Reading the opinions then getting to Q&A with the man. What a highlight!
Coming up last this year–to continue to make me envious of Opé–is the Cohort’s planned trip to London, England. Heck, Cohort VIII never left the east coast, much less the continent.
Okay, I’m really happy for Opé and his mates in Cohort X. I have got to figure out some way to get invited by the DLP program leaders to lecture in London to the Cohort about international telecommunications policy, which was the subject of my LL.M from Strathclyde University in Glasgow. Perhaps they just need a chaperone.
I’m donning my thinking cap right now!
“Reflecting on the 2016 presidential election, UCLA political scientist Lynn Vavreck looks at the effectiveness of campaign ads, public policy scholar Theodore R. Johnson discusses the changing role of the black electorate, and University of California, Irvine, political scientist Michael Tesler examines the connection between economic anxiety and racial resentment. Moderated by Ian S. Masters, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and KPFK 90.7 FM radio host.”
I’ll be there. Will you?
All of us in Cohort 8 are incredibly happy on hearing the news that Dr. Rachel A. Meidl has been nominated by President Obama to serve a 5-year term as a Member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.
Dr. Meidl is an outstanding candidate, with a tremendous background that will make her an invaluable member on the Board.
I’m evaluating possible research avenues now that I have the Post-Doc world ahead of me. Given my thesis findings in Calabasas about community-wide perceptions regarding cell sites in neighborhoods, and the comments of my thesis review panel discussing my findings, I’m thinking about conducting a similar but more extensive and focused public opinion study in another one of the communities I work with in Southern California. It’s a community where new cell siting issues have been a particularly contentious and heated issue.
Like most cases in local government, those who show up to public meetings are often and commonly opposed to some issue or proposition. Those who feel that they are not affected (or even supportive) of the issue or proposition don’t typically attend public meetings. The result can be that a vocal minority can distort the perceptions of government decision makers leading to skewed decisions based on thin or no real evidence.
I’m not suggesting that a minority testifying against something at a public hearing is always wrong; only that a better basis for a community-impacting decisions by governments should be to base those decisions on broad community input, including those who don’t show up for meetings.
I’m really enjoying the time I’m spending mentoring a new member of the Doctor of Law and Policy program at Northeastern. It doesn’t take a lot of my time, and the GROI (Gratification Return on Investment) is exceptionally high.
Find someone to mentor in a field or endeavor you know and YOU will grow from the experience. So will your mentee.
Sean del Solar of the City of San Marcos, California has (so far) the best Facebook comment about my newly minted doctorate.
A Doctor, an Engineer and an Attorney walk into a bar. The bartender asks “What can I get you, Jonathan?”
Yup, I really like that one!