The (Nearly) Forgotten Early Empirical Legal Research

28 Pages Posted: 2 Jul 2009

Date Written: June 26, 2009


The modern empirical legal studies movement has well-known antecedents in the law and society and law and economics traditions of the latter half of the 20th century. Less well known is the body of empirical research on legal phenomena from the period prior to World War II. This paper considers that earlier work with discussions of what accounts for the burst of such research in the 1920s and 30s, methodological and funding issues confronting that research, why the research seemed to come to an end in the latter part of the 1930s (to begin to reappear in the 1950s), and some of the continuities in findings between that research and more recent empirical research on law.

Keywords: Early Empirical Legal Studies, legal history, civil litigation

Suggested Citation

Kritzer, Herbert M., The (Nearly) Forgotten Early Empirical Legal Research (June 26, 2009). Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-26, Available at SSRN: or

Herbert M. Kritzer (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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