Penn Undergraduate Law Journal: How did you come to teach at Penn Law?
Kermit Roosevelt: Well, I was always interested in teaching, from when I was in college and was trying to decide actually whether to go into philosophy graduate school or go to law school. In both of those cases, I was thinking about teaching and my parents talked me into going to law school. Because, they said it’s a faster path into teaching. Because, it takes you longer to get a PhD than a JD and it’s easier to get a teaching job in a law school than a Philosophy Department. Which I think is true. And if you do get that job, they'll pay you better and you’ll be working on issues that affect people’s lives, that people care about, that are socially relevant. And if you don’t get a job, you’ll have a degree that’s worth something. Whereas, if you get your philosophy PhD and you don’t get that philosophy teaching job your philosophy PhD isn’t opening up a lot of other doors for you. So, I was always interested in teaching and what that meant really was that while I was in law school, I was writing a lot of papers in trying to publish.
When I got to the school it was actually a bit of an adjustment. Because I was trying to approach it like philosophy graduate school and law has different concerns than philosophy. So, my first year of Law School, I was very unhappy and I was going to drop out and go get a philosophy PhD instead or maybe do a joint degree or something like that. But I actually took the GRE and I applied to graduate schools. I was accepted and I was going to fill out my leave of absence form at my law school but then I slept too late and missed the deadline on a Friday and that weekend I went out and met some girl and decided I would stay. In some ways my life turned on a random twist at that moment but it was all for the best I think.