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: Macaulay on 1950's Midwest Legal Realism

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 2016 Annual Meeting (June 2-5, 2016):
LSA Collaborative Research Network #28: Realist and Empirical Methods will be hosting several events at the Annual Meeting this year on June 2. There will be two paper sessions: “Courts’ Role in Handling and Making Social Knowledge” and “Empirical Perspectives on Education and Law.” In addition, there will be two roundtable sessions focusing on “Realist and Empirical Methods for Law” and “ Introducing New Books in Realist and Empirical Legal Methods." For those interested in becoming more involved in CRN activities, a business meeting will be held on June 3. For the full schedule and more details about each of these workshops, click here.

ILS Law and Society Graduate Fellows Program
The Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School is currently accepting applications for the ILS Law and Society Graduate Fellows Program, a program to support graduate students doing work in socio-legal studies at UW-Madison. The program is co-sponsored by the East Asian Legal Studies Center and the Global Legal Studies Center. Applications are due April 15, 2016. Visit the program webpage for information about eligibility, fellowship benefits and responsibilities, and application requirements.

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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