New Legal Realism: Empirical Law and Society



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

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Follow our group of New Legal Realists who post on everything from law to the latest in jazz. Visit our blog to refresh your understanding of law-and-society research, empirical perspectives on law, and realism old and new.
Current Topic: Mertz on "Reality" and Justice

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

News and Events

Jerome Hall Postdoctoral Fellowship at Indiana University-Bloomington
The Indiana University Center for Law, Society, and Culture will appoint two post-doctoral fellows for the 2015-16 academic year. Scholars of law, the humanities, or social sciences working in the field of sociolegal studies are invited to apply. Fellows will devote a full academic year to research and writing in furtherance of a major scholarly project. For more information about how to apply, please visit the Center for Law, Society, and Culture page. Application deadline is Friday, February 6.

Third Annual Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Workshop at AALS
January 4-5, 2015, Washington, DC
The Association of American Law Schools will be offering a two day workshop on qualitative and mixed research methods to study law. This year's presentation will have an emphasis on designing and implementing interview studies. Click here for more details about the workshop and here for the full AALS conference program.

New Legal Realism 10th Anniversary Conference
Scholars gathered at the University of California, Irvine on August 29-30, 2014 for the New Legal Realism 10th Anniversary Conference. The theme of the meeting was "Future Directions for Legal Empiricism." See the program for more information about the conference panels and speakers.

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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

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