The academic field of empirical legal studies (using systematic research techniques to better understand legal topics) is rapidly expanding, and Cornell Law School is leading the way. The year, faculty in this discipline began an inaugural colloquium on the topic, which complements the faculty-run, peer-reviewed Journal of Empirical Legal Studies and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies.
"Empirical legal research is a major strength of our law school," says professor of law Valerie Hans, who is organizing this year's series. "It made sense to highlight this work by our colleagues here at the Law School and to bring in people who are doing this cutting edge work."
Those scholars include Setsuo Miyazawa of the Aoyama Gakuin University Law School in Japan, who discussed punishment and populism in Japan; Laura Beth Nielsen of Northwestern University, who talked about employment discrimination cases; and Gregory Parks '08, law clerk for the Hon. Andre Davis at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, who will illuminate his research on hazing culture and the African American elite. Cornell professors Jeffrey Rachlinski, Theodore Eisenberg, Michael Heise, and Emily Owens also presented in the series.
"Hearing people in talk in depth about their own research projects is one of the most stimulating things a scholar can do," says Hans. "A number of our students have indicated that they are interested in scholarly careers. In this colloquium, they get to hear from the people we think are doing the best work in the field."