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 five attorneys, four staff, and two dogs working in offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, and in 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. Done that!
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.
On Friday, July 10, 2015 I successfully defended my thesis proposal at Northeastern University. My thesis proposal is titled, “Cell Phone Sites and Single Family Home Prices in Calabasas, California: Perceptions and Percentages.”
Here is a summary of my proposed and approved research:
In the proposed research, I have two principal aims. My first aim is to assess whether single family home prices, reflected in public arms-length buy-sell transactions in the studied city, are impacted positively or negatively, or not at all impacted, after the installation of a cell site near single family homes. By studying single family home sales price data, I will have a quantitative basis that will disclose whether a statistically significant sale price change may be observed and attributed to the installation of a nearby cell site. The second aim of this proposed study is to learn why cell site project opponents actively resist installations in and adjacent to single family residential areas. By approaching the question of cell site impacts on single family home prices both quantitatively and qualitatively, this project will test whether public perceptions are in line with changes, if any, in nearby single family home prices.
By successfully defending my thesis proposal, I have been promoted from doctoral student to doctoral candidate.
Life is good.
As a doctoral student conducting research, I will work under the supervision of a faculty member at Northeastern University who possesses a relevant doctorate and experience.
Normally, doctoral candidate supervisors–sometimes called principal investigators– are selected by the one of the program chairs. I, of course, have to be different. I want to control my own fate, at least to the extent possible in academia.
Given the nature of my proposed project, which will be heavy on stats and math, plus interview and survey techniques, I have approached a professor at NEU who has all of the requisite credentials to serve as my PI/supervisor. I already know him from the first year of doctoral program, and also know of his very supportive supervision style from a previous Cohort member (now a LP.D) who had the same supervisor a few years ago.
The professor has agreed to supervise me, subject to confirmation by the program chair. I put in that request yesterday. We’ll see if I get my first (and only) choice for my supervisor.
I’m still working on securing my required second reader, but I have a couple of strong candidates identified. I’ll reach out right after the holiday weekend.
[Updated 7/14/15] I now have a Principal Investigator and second reader assigned to me. The PI is not the person I suggested to the thesis chair, but he is someone of great intellectual and academic strength experienced with hedonic price modeling. My second reader is exactly the person I hoped would guide me. He’s a Ph.D and attorney, and his humor matches mine for dryness.
I’m on a long road, but I’ve reached the half-way point. I turned in my thesis proposal tonight. It was a struggle to keep to the page limit while still expressing the necessary elements, but I think I’ve accomplished my task.
I’ll hear back from the thesis supervisor in the next week or two.
I am relived. I am tired. I am happy.
A year ago 25 people came together as the initial members of Cohort VIII in the DLP program. A year later we’re down to 16 members. A group dropped out right after the program began, and we’ve lost 1 or 2 each quarter thereafter.
The members of my Cohort, without exception, are outstanding leaders in their own right, and truly quality individuals.
The survivors of our Cohort…and we certainly think of ourselves in that way…have drawn together to support each other through the program. We’ve become very close friends–much closer than I would have imagined just 12 months ago. We regularly communicate by text and email throughout each week. We celebrate our happy events, and join in mourning with our friends in those less-than-happy events.
The friends I have made over the past year are likely to remain my friends…and I, theirs…for life. I am very grateful that we have been thrown together into this melting pot.
My thesis proposal is due on July 1. I’ll announce it here once it’s formally accepted. I have great confidence that it will be accepted given that I’ve provided it to the thesis advisor in preliminary form, and I received very positive feedback about my research goals.
What’s my topic? Let’s just say that I plan to evaluate a law and policy area of wireless tower siting that commonly comes up in planning hearings. What? You think you know what I’ll be studying? Maybe you’re right, but maybe you’re not.
You’ll just have to wait and see.
…and all of us in Cohort VIII are just a wee-bit tired and cranky. It’s the usual: Overworked and under-loved. Or maybe it’s under-loved and overworked. Well, whatever. We’re all going to be much happier campers on June 30th.
(Updated June 30th: We ARE much happier campers, especially now that grades are out! jlk 6/30 @ 3:20 p.m. PDT)
It is hard to express how close I’ve become with the other surviving members of Cohort 8 over the last year. They are one and all quite exceptional people: smart, caring, involved, thoughtful, and funny (well, almost all of them are funny).
Many of us ‘Facebook’ each other; communicate by texts; SKYPE; and in other ways stay in touch on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.
I have made friends in this program that I expect will stand the test of the rest of my life, or theirs.