Law and Society Association Meeting 2016 (New Orleans, LA)

2016: CRN 28: Realist and Empirical Legal Methods Schedule of Events1. Thursday, 6/2, 8:15-10 am: New Legal Realism 1- COURTS’ ROLE IN HANDLING AND MAKING SOCIAL KNOWLEDGE (NOLA Marriott, Salon H-G)

New Legal Realist scholarship has been centrally concerned with how law translates social science and other social knowledge. It has also encouraged use of the full range of social science methods and disciplines in addressing legal problems. The scholars in this panel demonstrate how diverse methods and perspectives can be brought to bear on the same issue: how courts deal with social knowledge (whether it is introduced by social science experts or enters the legal system in other ways), and how courts in turn create their own versions of social knowledge. Sometimes courts must deal with warring opinions from social scientists, while social scientists face dilemmas in translating across complex differences in epistemology, evidence, and proof between their own fields and the law. Courts and social scientists may also approach the same issue differently in different parts of the world, and this phenomenon requires theoretical attention. On a closely-related note, it is well-accepted that research findings don’t “speak for themselves,” and that how they are framed can really make a difference. It thus becomes important to pay careful attention to the specific ways social science research is reframed within legal settings. Courts’ own procedures and norms can also play a part in shaping legal results, leading to differences in local courts’ approaches to otherwise similar cases and thus also to differences in how they serve as producers of social knowledge.

Moderator/Commentator: Sheldon Lyke

*Anthropology on Trial: Exploring the Laws of Anthropological Expertise, Olaf Zenker
*Asylum Decision Making Across the U.S. Courts of Appeals, B. Robert Owens
*Managing Diversity in the Americas: The Use of Cultural Expert Witnesses in Legal Proceedings, Leila Rodriguez
*Social Science and the Courts: The Case of Affirmative Action, Karen Miksch

2. Thursday, 6/2, 10:15am-12pm: New Legal Realism 2 — EMPIRICAL PERSPECTIVES ON EDUCATION AND LAW (NOLA Marriott, Salon H-G)

In a fascinating range of perspectives based in theoretically informed empirical research, these panelists challenge standard legal perspectives on how best to understand educational issues — in settings ranging from grade schools to law schools, and from the U.S. to India and Taiwan. Two of the papers explore the legal controversies about curriculum and student behavior that arise in different nations, and at different levels of the educational process. The third asks how law schools in the U.S. should train students to address these complex political and legal issues. Discussion will focus on the inevitable interaction between our values and the educational process.

Moderator: Edward Rubin

*Student Evaluation and Academic Misconduct in Indian Law Schools, Jonathan Gingerich & Aditya Singh
*Lawyering in the Twenty-First Century: Student Experiences in a Non-Traditional Law Course, Katie Sykes
*The Change of the State’s Role and Legal Strategies of High School Textbook Regulation: Some Reflections from the Anti-Curriculum Adjustment Movement in Taiwan, Yu-Yin Tu


In recent decades, the legal academy has begun to incorporate forms of empirical scholarship and even training. In this open roundtable, we invite members of CRN 28 and others interested in the topic to join with us in contemplating how and whether translation of social science for legal scholars and for law students works. What should the goal of such translations be? What contributes to success and failure (once we have defined what success and failure mean in this context)? Can the legal academy act as an incubator for innovative forms of collaboration or hybrid methods — and what about the law’s own epistemological and normative specializations? Roundtable speakers will kick off the discussion by considering the languages of law and of social science in terms of these questions. Join Mario Barnes, Meredith Rountree, Shauhin Talesh, and Beth Mertz in a brainstorming session about where to go from here!

4. Thursday 6/2, 4:45-6:30 pm: Book Panel – Introducing new books in Realist and Empirical Legal Methods (NOLA Marriott, Galerie 3)

Session Organizer: Stewart Macaulay

The following speakers will be talking about their new books:
Dayna Bowen Matthew: Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care, New York University Press (December 2015)
Elizabeth Mertz (for co-editors Stewart Macaulay and Thomas Mitchell): The New Legal Realism: Translating Law-and-Society for Today’s Legal Practice, Cambridge University Press (April 2016)
Heinz Klug (for co-editor Sally Merry): Studying Law Globally: New Legal Realist Perspectives, Cambridge University Press (April 2016)
Riaz Tejani: Marketing Justice: Neoliberal Access and the For Profit Law School, Stanford University Press (May 2016)
Sally Merry (for co-editors Kevin Davis and Benedict Kingsbury): The Quiet Power of Indicators: Measuring Governance, Corruption, and the Rule of Law. Cambridge University Press (May 2015)
Richard Rottenburg (for co-editors Sally Merry, Sung-Joon Park, and Johanna Mugler): The World of Indicators: The Making of Governmental Knowledge through Quantification, Cambridge University Press (September 2015
Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve: Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court, Stanford University Press (May 2016)

5. Friday, 6/3, 6:45-7:45: CRN 28 Business Meeting (NOLA Marriott – Studio 5 (2nd floor)

Here’s your chance to become more involved in CRN activities — or just to share ideas. Hope to see you there!