Research & Scholarship

The Wisconsin Approach

Faculty Activities and Scholarship

  • Michele LaVigne spoke on the effects of clients' language impairments at two February forums: in Monterrey, she presented at the Capital Case Defense Seminar, sponsored by the California Public Defenders Association and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice; and in Tucson, she presented before the Federal Defenders of Arizona and panel attorneys. She also spoke on evidentiary foundations at the Tucson event.

  • Keith Findley and Kate Judson gave keynote talks at "Shaken Science, Reviewing SBS/AHT," an international symposium held in February at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan. Findley presented "The Past, Present, and Future of SBS Cases in the United States," and Judson presented "Defending SBS/AHT Cases in the United States and Around the World." The two also presented their research on science-dependent child abuse cases at the Japan Federation of Bar Associations in Tokyo.

  • In January, Yaron Nili presented "Beyond The Numbers: Substantive Gender Diversity in Boardrooms" at the Faculty Work In Process workshop at University Minnesota Law School.

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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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