Over the past two decades, empirical legal studies (ELS) has become an increasingly hot research and teaching field in law schools. ELS involves the use of data and statistics to analyze and understand the law, predict judicial behavior, and explore the interactions of law and economics. With its deep connection to the social sciences, ELS thus requires a very different set of skills and competencies from the strongly humanistic orientation of traditional legal studies.
But as empirical analysis becomes increasingly relevant to the study and practice of law, legal information professionals in all settings can benefit from a basic familiarity with the field and with the types of questions to which it applies.
This short piece is designed to provide law librarians who have no previous experience with ELS with a lay of the land and some of the basic resources for newcomers to the field. It is based on my work as a practicum student at the University of Chicago’s D’Angelo Law Library, where I worked on creating finding aids and research guides for ELS research. Continue reading Empirical Legal Studies: A Brief Overview
The American Society of International Law (ASIL) held its 2014 Midyear Meeting and Research Forum in Chicago on November 6-8 at three venues: John Marshall Law School, Baker & McKenzie LLP, and Northwestern University School of Law. ASIL has “nearly 4,000 members from more than 100 nations include attorneys, academics, corporate counsel, judges, representatives of governments and nongovernmental organizations, international civil servants, students, and others interested in international law”. The Midyear Meeting was very representative, involving participants from the U.S., Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK.
Continue reading International Law Researchers Gather in Chicago
When Supreme Court justices cite Internet sources in their opinions, how do they ensure the integrity of those sources for future legal scholars? The answer, unfortunately, is not very well, as illustrated by this dose of digital schadenfreude visited upon Justice Alito.
This was the central problem explored by a one-day conference at Georgetown University on October 24, “404/File Not Found: Link Rot, Legal Citation and Projects to Preserve Precedent.”
Over six sessions, the program identified and addressed the risks of citing to ephemeral online sources in court opinions and legal scholarship, frequently highlighting a key distinction between “link rot,” or the disappearance of a cited link, and “reference rot,” which occurs when the cited reference is no longer the same as it was when the author cited it. Archived recordings of each of the day’s sessions are available at the conference website. Continue reading What’s Rotten About Legal Scholarship, and How to Cure It: A Georgetown Symposium