Research & Scholarship

The Wisconsin Approach

    Faculty Activities and Scholarship

  • Brad Snyder participated in a briefing hosted by the National Security Archive on the release of grand jury transcripts from the 1950s Ethyl and Julius Rosenberg espionage case. The U.S. government decided not to appeal a federal court decision ordering the release of testimony from the chief witness, Ethyl's brother David Greenglass. Snyder had previously submitted an affidavit seeking release of the testimony.

  • Keith Findley, Kate Judson and others co-authored "Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma: A Complicated Child Welfare Issue," which appears in the June 2015 issue of The Guardian, the journal of the National Association of Counsel for Children.

  • A uniform act (model state statute) Thomas Mitchell helped draft for the Uniform Law Commission became law in Connecticut in July. Connecticut is the sixth state to enact into law the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act, which aims to produce fairer outcomes in the division or sale of land involving tenancy-in-common property (commonly referred to as heirs' property). Mitchell served as reporter, or principal drafter, for the act.

Wisconsin faculty members share a commitment to excellence in research, embracing a wide variety of substantive concerns and methodological approaches. The faculty has long been known for its interest in interdisciplinary work and for its commitment to a law-in-action approach to scholarship.

For Wisconsin scholars, no matter how interesting or elegant the underlying theory, Wisconsin's law-in-action approach challenges them to answer the question: "Why should this matter to people in the real world?" In contrast to legal scholars whose work is theory-based, Wisconsin scholars tend to begin with an observed, real-world problem or phenomenon and then seek to explain it and to put it into a larger theoretical context.

Much of the research undertaken at Wisconsin is devoted to explaining how law and legal institutions work and often to understanding why law and legal institutions might not be working as intended. The Wisconsin faculty contextualizes law, studying it as one of many social processes that may shape behavior. Many faculty members are active in the Law & Society Association, an international organization of scholars who study the interrelation of society and the legal process; indeed, the current Wisconsin faculty includes three LSA past presidents.

The work of the Wisconsin faculty is not geographically bounded. Though a majority study U.S. law, a growing number explore law in less familiar settings and are focusing their research on the workings of law in countries throughout the world.

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