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Law & Science: Toward a Unified Field

36 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014 Last revised: 14 Oct 2014

Deborah M. Hussey Freeland

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: July 28, 2014


To be relevant to the real world and to have a reasonable chance of producing fair outcomes, legal and political decisionmaking must take science into account. Scholars have been aware of this for over fifty years. The need for law to be informed by rigorous science is compelling, as we must make collective decisions that impact our sustainability and our humanity on a global scale. However, the field of Law & Science remains as fragmented now as it was a half-century ago. We have yet to find a reliable way to establish coherent interdisciplinary interaction that enables science to inform legal decisionmaking across a variety of disciplinary fields and cultural contexts.

Approaching the problems of interdisciplinary interaction that vex Law & Science as instances of cross-cultural communication, this paper proposes that while the lawyer and the scientist need not be fully conversant in each other's languages to work together, lawyers can do much to ensure that science is properly used to inform the law by understanding what scientists think they are doing, and who they think they are. As expert negotiators, lawyers can develop genuine respect for scientists' values, methods and goals, promoting effective interdisciplinary collaboration and producing well informed decisions that merit public trust.

Keywords: law & science, cross-cultural communication, interdisciplinary interaction, interdisciplinary, fragmentation, lawyers, attorneys, scientists

Suggested Citation

Hussey Freeland, Deborah M., Law & Science: Toward a Unified Field (July 28, 2014). Connecticut Law Review, Forthcoming; Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper 2014-23. Available at SSRN:

Deborah M. Hussey Freeland (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

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