New Legal Realism: Empirical Law and Society







Seeking to develop a rigorous, genuinely interdisciplinary approach to the empirical study of law.

NLR Conversations

Stewart Macaulay and Elizabeth Mertz lead a group of New Legal Realists who post on everything from law to the latest in jazz. Visit our blog to refresh your understanding of Jerome Frank, to hear why law needs anthropology’s kind of empiricism, to get an update on Duke Ellington, and more...
Current Topic: Translating Social Science for Public Policy: Response to Kristof

From law on the books to law in action From law on the books to law in action

News and Events

Special Issue in Memory of Jane Larson
The Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, and Society has published a special issue in memory of Jane Larson. It includes essays by Michelle Oberman, Cynthia Grant Bowman, and Martha E. Ertman with a preface by Gerald Torres and an introduction by Elizabeth Mertz. Also, don't miss articles building on the tradition of Larson's scholarship: "'Facts are Stubborn Things:' Irregular Housing in the Texas Colonias" by Guadalupe T. Luna and "Burma Just Around the Corner: When U.S. Corporations Employ Refugees by Christyne J. Vachon.
See the Readings page for more on Larson's work.

Law and Society Association 2014 Annual Meeting- Minneapolis, MN, May 29-June 1, 2014
For information about attending, please click here . Also, stayed tuned for information about the CRN28 meeting.

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About NLR

The New Legal Realism Project (NLR) promotes rigorous and genuinely interdisciplinary scholarship on law in action, building from the law-and-society tradition. Law professors and lawyers often turn to social science research for help in resolving legal problems, but they usually do so without much social science training or expertise. On the other hand, social scientists who study legal issues can fail to appreciate the distinctive requirements of law and policy, resulting in failed attempts to apply social science to "real world" problems. NLR focuses on developing better, more sophisticated translations between law and social science. This is especially important as law increasingly turns to social science for guidance in dealing with crucial legal and policy issues. Sloppy or inaccurate interdisciplinary translation on these issues can have serious social effects.

NLR FAQ: How do I join NLR?

Answer: Like the "old" legal realism, the New Legal Realism is open to all who wish to participate. Our conversations take place in journals and books and working papers, at conferences and colloquia freely organized by interested scholars. We welcome news on New Legal Realism projects. Email us at

Reading Corner

Resources and Links