A New Legal Empiricism? Assessing ELS and NLR

36 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2010 Last revised: 8 Feb 2011

See all articles by Mark C. Suchman

Mark C. Suchman

Brown University

Elizabeth Mertz

University of Wisconsin - Madison; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: November 17, 2010


The past decade has seen a return of interest in empirical research within the U.S. legal academy, hearkening back to a similar empirical turn during the ascendancy of Legal Realism in the New Deal era. However, the current revival of legal empiricism has emerged against the backdrop of several well-established traditions of empirical socio-legal research both in the interdisciplinary law-and-society movement and in the social science disciplines themselves. This article examines two of the most prominent manifestations of the "new" legal empiricism, Empirical Legal Studies and New Legal Realism, and it situates them in the pre-existing socio-legal terrain. The analysis concludes by considering different possible futures for empirical law studies

Keywords: Sociolegal Studies, Law and Society, Social Science, Empirical Research, Theory

Suggested Citation

Suchman, Mark C. and Mertz, Elizabeth Ellen, A New Legal Empiricism? Assessing ELS and NLR (November 17, 2010). Annual Review of Law and Social Science Vol. 6, pp. 555-579, 2010; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1141; American Bar Foundation Research Paper No. 11-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1710641

Mark C. Suchman

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Elizabeth Ellen Mertz (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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