PUBLISHED:January 16, 2015

5 Questions for SJD candidate Daniel Ribeiro

Daniel Ribeiro

Ribeiro of Brazil is a 2009 graduate of Duke’s international LLM program who has returned to pursue an SJD, the highest degree the Law School offers.


1. What did you do before coming back to Duke Law?

I worked as the head of the environmental division of the Ministério Público of the State of Rio de Janeiro, a governmental oversight agency in charge of investigating and prosecuting crimes and reviewing/controlling public policy by gathering and analyzing data and, when necessary, filing civil lawsuits against the executive branch. I also coordinated an environmental law and policy clinic at FGV School of Law in Rio.

2. Why did you choose Duke Law for your SJD?

After I graduated from the LLM program, I came across the scholarship of Professor Jonathan Wiener. The lessons I learned from him were very influential to my work back in Brazil.  For the SJD, I wanted to work under his academic supervision and with Professor Mathew Adler, who was a new faculty member.  Together, they are the leading scholars in my field of research (law and economics of regulatory policy).  In addition, Duke has top schools in business, public policy, and environmental studies where I planned to take courses and expand my interdisciplinary view of the law.  Finally, I enjoy the quality of life of Durham/Chapel Hill with its unbeatable low living costs.  Since my family came with me, I knew that they would enjoy their time in this amazing region of the U.S.  Coming back was my first choice.

3. What advice would you give to prospective students wanting to study environmental law in the U.S.?

It is one of the best decisions you will ever make in your life. Environmental law is a fascinating door into an interdisciplinary view and practice of law, in which different areas of knowledge meet to challenge the traditional views of statutory interpretation. Following the historical tradition of the 1970s environmental movement and the resulting legal revolution that followed, the U.S. is a country where environmental law is being constantly reinvented. 

4. What are your plans after completing the SJD program?

I plan to teach and do research on law and economics with an applied focus on policy design and control. I also plan to conduct experiments and empirical analysis in developing countries (including Brazil), jointly with Duke’s research centers and faculty.

5. Aside from the academics, what do you like about Duke and its surroundings?

It has a wonderful atmosphere. You feel constantly welcomed by the faculty and inspired to push your limits. In addition, nothing beats the forests, the nice weather of North Carolina, and Carrboro Music Festival. 

– Pedro Soares ‘15