Monday, January 19, 2009
Looking back and looking forward at the prospects for empirical legal studies.
I must confess my skepticism that "empirical legal studies" is a meaningful category: work lumped under this heading is not united by methodology, by social science discipline, by subject matter, or by ideology. It includes the comically pseudo-scientific, the obscurely quantitative, the anecdotal and qualitative, and better and worse versions of all of the preceding. It would be as if everyone in the legal academy who still spends time looking at case law and making sense of it were to unite under the banner of "Doctrinal Legal Studies"! Earlier examples of "empirical legal studies" noted by Professor Simon in the post linked above in fact had more coherent methodological or ideological outlooks than the diverse mix of work that currently travels under the heading of 'empirical legal studies.'