Valerie P. Hans, Charles F. Rechlin Professor of Law, conducts empirical studies of law and the courts, and is one of the nation's leading authorities on the jury system. Trained as a social scientist, she has carried out extensive research and lectured around the globe on juries and jury reforms as well as the uses of social science in law.
She is the author or editor of 9 books and over 150 research articles. Current projects on the American jury include developing a new theory of damage awards, analyzing how jury service promotes civic engagement, and examining the impact of race in tort decisions. Professor Hans is also studying the diverse forms of citizen participation in legal decision making in other countries. Her research and that of others are summarized in a forthcoming coedited book, Juries, Lay Judges, and Mixed Courts: A Global Perspective. Other books include: The Psychology of Tort Law (2016); American Juries: The Verdict (2007); The Jury System: Contemporary Scholarship (2006); Business on Trial: The Civil Jury and Corporate Responsibility (2000); and Judging the Jury (1986).
Professor Hans is coeditor of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, and past president of the Law and Society Association.
In June 2019, Professor Hans joined other law professors and social scientists in submitting an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court on the subject of jury unanimity (Ramos v. Louisana). The Supreme Court’s 2020 Ramos decision cited her work.