Life's Golden Tree: Empirical Scholarship and American Law

54 Pages Posted: 24 May 2017

See all articles by Carl E. Schneider

Carl E. Schneider

University of Michigan Law School

Lee E. Teitelbaum

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law (deceased)

Date Written: 2006


Lee Teitelbaum and I drafted this article several years before his lamentable death. We were both distracted by other projects and laid the piece aside. When he died, I undertook to complete it to honor a man who as friend and colleague brought more goodness to my life than I could ever have deserved.

I have tried to let this article reflect the qualities that made Dean Teitelbaum so distinguished in his calling. He was an irresistible teacher, an influential scholar, a solicitous colleague, a superb dean. He succeeded in those things because he turned all his intelligence and energy on them. More, he was attentive to the human beings around him. Not just to his students, colleagues, and staff, but to the people -- the individual human beings -- who lived under the law he studied. Dean Teitelbaum wrote about theory, but he thought about people.

This article, then, is not just about using empirical research to improve legal scholarship. It is about how we law professors lead our lives and do our work, about the responsibilities we owe the society whose government we instruct. It is, then, more a collegial colloquy than a law review "Article" in the dreadful sense that term has acquired.

Dean Teitelbaum exemplified the traditions of learning in which he was raised. He was a skilled lawyer, but he was more than a technician. He was a liberally educated and broadly read gentleman to whom craft was a duty and elegance a delight. I have here given myself a pleasure he too often denied himself-allowing good taste to subdue foolish custom. For example. Legal scholarship now drags behind it a Marley's chain of citation forms, participial parentheticals, stylistic dogmas, abbreviation rules, signaling conventions, and footnoting formulas.

Keywords: Legal Scholarship, Legal Research, Legal Theory, Family Law, Divorce, Contracts

JEL Classification: K00, K36, K12

Suggested Citation

Schneider, Carl E. and Teitelbaum, Lee E., Life's Golden Tree: Empirical Scholarship and American Law (2006). Utah Law Review, Vol. 2006, No. 1, 2006, Available at SSRN:

Carl E. Schneider (Contact Author)

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4170 (Phone)

Lee E. Teitelbaum

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law (deceased)

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