The Institute for Legal Studies, established in 1985, brings together faculty, fellows and students to support research and discussion on sociolegal topics. Activities include works-in-progress workshops and professional development for law faculty; guest lectures, symposia and conference hosting; and fellowship administration.
Support for legal history is fundamental to the mission of ILS. The teaching and study of legal history has deep roots in Wisconsin, where our groundbreaking approach to historical studies examines the interaction between law and social forces —"law in context," rather than law as a system unto itself. Learn more about the history of ILS »
For information about ILS's past programs and events, visit the UW Law School Repository.
Please visit the Scholarly Events for a full list of all upcoming scholarly events.
Our Regular Events
Dean's Office Speaker Series
The purpose of the Dean's Office speaker series (formerly called Ideas and Innovations Speaker Series) is to invite diverse presenters who are doing original and exciting research that will spark intellectual enthusiasm in the building. Speakers come from all over the country (and the world) and speak on a variety of topics.
For information about the 2019-2020 Ideas & Innovations Series, please visit the Research Centers Event Page.
For information on past Ideas & Innovations speakers, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
Law and Society Speaker Series (on hold currently)
The Law and Society Speaker Series is a topic-specific series that focuses on current and relevant issues in law and society. The Institute for Legal Studies Committee selects a series topic for each academic year. The Law School community nominates speakers who are doing exciting work related to that year's topic.
For information on past Law & Society speakers, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
Wednesday Workshop Series
The Wednesday Workshop Series is an internal series that allows UW Law faculty and academic staff members to receive feedback from their colleagues on their works-in-progress. This dynamic series is essential to the research culture at UW Law and fosters collegiality.
For information about current events, please visit the Research Centers Event Page.
For information about past events, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
Faculty Exchange Series
The Faculty Exchange Series is a partnership between UW Law and law schools throughout the country. As part of the partnership, a faculty member from each school has the opportunity to visit their partner institution and present a paper. The exchange is primarily for junior faculty members hoping to receive feedback on their work.
For information about the 2019-2020 Faculty Exchange Series, please visit the Research Centers Event Page.
For information on past Faculty Exchange speakers, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
Midwest Law and Society Retreat
In Fall 2002, the Institute for Legal Studies hosted the inaugural session of the Midwest Law and Society Retreat, bringing together faculty and graduate students from the Midwest's diverse law and society programs for a weekend of intellectual exchange and community building.
Information about the 2021 Midwest Law and Society Retreat.
For information on past Midwest Law and Society Retreats, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
Compliance Initiative Series
The Compliance Initiative Series aims to feature speakers who work in a compliance based setting. The series has featured compliance professionals from the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Athletics, and private practice. The Compliance Initiative was created by Professor John Ohnesorge, and is supported by the Institute for Legal Studies and the George Young Bascom Professorship in Business Law.
For information about the 2019-2020 speakers, please visit the Research Centers Event Page.
For information on past Compliance Initiative Series speakers, please visit the Compliance Initiative Series page or UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
Wisconsin Discussion Group on Constitutionalism
The Wisconsin Discussion Group on Constitutionalism, hosted over the years by Professors Heinz Klug, Andrew Coan, and David S. Schwartz at the Law School and Professor Howard Schweber in the Political Science Department and Legal Studies Program, is one of a series of events for a Discussion Group that has been meeting for more than two decades at various law schools. Known informally as a "Schmooze", the workshop provides an opportunity for an informal conversation among constitutional scholars on a topic that is interesting and provocative.
For information about this year's workshop, please visit the Research Centers Event Page.
For information on past workshops, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
John Kidwell Memorial Lecture
The John Kidwell Memorial Lecture is an annual event hosted by the Wisconsin Contracts Group. The Kidwell Lecture features a paper focused on the law of contracts, remedies, copyrights, or trademarks. The lecture is hosted by Professors Kathie Hendley, Bill Whitford and Stewart Macaulay.
For information about this year's Kidwell Lecture, please visit the Research Centers Event Page.
For information about past Kidwell Lectures, please visit the UW Law School Repository: Past Programs and Events.
- Law and Society Graduate Fellows Program: A program for S.J.D. and UW-Madison graduate students aimed at expanding research skills and preparing students to disseminate their work.
- Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History: Biennial two-week summer session for early-career legal historians. The most recent Hurst Institute was held June 9-22, 2019.
Professor Susannah Tahk
Director, Institute for Legal Studies
Associate Dean for Research and Administration
UW Law School, Room 5211B
Follow ILS on Twitter at @UWLawILS