University of Wisconsin–Madison

The New Legal Realism Project

Jointly sponsored by the Institute for Legal Studies and the American Bar Foundation, the New Legal Realism Project is a network of scholars who seek to develop an interdisciplinary paradigm for empirical research on law. This paradigm will combine sophisticated consideration of legal issues, empirical research and social policy -- much as did the old legal realists, but with the benefit of several generations of new thinking in all of these areas. One new development has been a greater empirical focus on the effects of law "from the bottom up." This bottom-up focus extends to the policy domain as well, where the new legal realist paradigm seeks to foster a "democratic" concern with the effects of law on people's everyday life and circumstances. The Project is conducting a series of conferences and workshops, some of which will result in publications.

Examples of New Legal Realism events hosted at the UW Law School include the conferences listed below. For more complete information, please go to the NLR homepage:

Oct. 29-30, 2009 Mini-conference on New Legal Realism and Statutory Interpretation: Chaired by Professor Victoria Nourse. Presentation: “Misunderstanding Congress: Toward A New Realist Theory of Statutory Interpretation” by Victoria Nourse, University of Wisconsin and Emory University.  Discussants/Respondents included James J. Brudney, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Aaron Bruhl, University of Houston Law Center; William W. Buzbee, Emory University School of Law; Eric Lane, Hofstra University School of Law; and Lawrence M. Solan, Brooklyn Law School.

March 14-15, 2008 Working From the World Up: Equality's Future -- A New Legal Realism Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project. Sponsored by the Institute for Legal Studies, the Feminism and Legal Theory Project at Emory University, the New Legal Realism Project, and the Wisconsin Women's Law Journal/Wisconsin Law Journal of Gender and Society. Hosted by Professor Victoria Nourse.  

Oct. 5-6, 2007 New Legal Realism meets Feminism & Legal Theory II:  Empirical Perspectives on the Place of Law in Women's Work and Family Lives Conference hosted by Elizabeth Mertz, Professor of Law at Wisconsin and Senior Research Fellow, American Bar Foundation, Gwen Hoerr Jordan, Legal History Fellow at Wisconsin, and Martha Fineman, Woodruff Professor of Law at Emory University.  For more information, please see the Link to Program.

The First New Legal Realism Conference:

June 25-27, 2004 New Legal Realism Methods 
Co-convenors: Professors Jane Larson and Elizabeth Mertz.  Program and Participants

Lock Icon