The Past and Future of Procedure Scholarship

27 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2021

Date Written: March 11, 2021


Written for a symposium honoring Steve Burbank’s contributions to procedure scholarship, this Essay takes Geoff Hazard’s monograph, Research in Civil Procedure, as its point of departure. Hazard was remarkably prescient in forecasting our modern predicament, posing timeless questions about the role of history and doctrine, the emphasis on normative claims and law reform, the centrality of legal theory, and the rise of empirical and other discipline-based scholarship. After surveying the challenges facing legal scholars, procedural and otherwise, the Essay concludes with a note of appreciation for Burbank’s ability to couple a command of doctrinal nuance with sophisticated empirics in crafting a powerful account of the variegated institutions of procedural law reform.

Keywords: legal scholarship, procedure, history of thought, empirical scholarship

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Pfander, James E., The Past and Future of Procedure Scholarship (March 11, 2021). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 21-06, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

James E. Pfander (Contact Author)

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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