The New Old Legal Realism

42 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2010 Last revised: 25 Dec 2014

See all articles by Tracey E. George

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School

G. Mitu Gulati

Duke University School of Law

Ann McGinley

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Date Written: July 30, 2010

Abstract

Do the decisions of appellate courts matter in the real world? The American judicial system, legal education, and academic scholarship are premised on the view that they do. The authors want to reexamine this question by taking the approach advocated by the original Legal Realists. The current project seeks to add to our knowledge of the relevance of case law by focusing on an area that has received little examination: how pronouncements about employment discrimination law by appellate courts translate into understandings and behavior at the ground level. As our lens, we use evidence of how people talk about the relevance of changes in the law. This new Old Legal Realist perspective suggests that social and economic factors play a more important role than case law in outcomes on the ground. Cases cannot have an impact, if the local social and economic variables are not aligned in a fashion that allows the impact to occur.

Keywords: courts, legal realism, Jesperson

Suggested Citation

George, Tracey E. and Gulati, Gaurang Mitu and McGinley, Ann, The New Old Legal Realism (July 30, 2010). UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1647179 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1647179

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Gaurang Mitu Gulati (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Ann McGinley

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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