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 Studying Social Science Ethics

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

News and Events

Law and Society Association 2015 Annual Meeting- May 28-31, 2015
The next Law and Society Association Annual Meeting will be held in Seattle, WA from May 28- 31, 2015. The theme of this year’s meeting is “Law’s Promise and Law’s Pathos in the Global North and Global South.” LSA Collaborative Research Network #28: Realist and Empirical Methods will be hosting a paper session on Friday, May 29. The workshop, “Paper, Practice, Power, and Numbers”, will feature presentations that explore the relationship between legal doctrine and practice. The panel will examine how judges perform law and how they invent fictional characters to protect real people. Additionally, panelists will discuss the complex task of incorporating empirical approaches of New Legal Realism into legal education outside of the United States. For more details about the workshop, click here.

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. Click here for pictures from the event.

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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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