Empirical Methods in Law

This course, taught by Professors Lawless and Robbennolt, is designed to introduce students to one of the fastest growing areas of legal scholarship and practice—the use of empirical techniques. The emphasis in the course will be on equipping practitioners to be sophisticated and critical consumers of empirical material that may be used in legal cases and controversies, in the formation of legislation, and in public policy debates. The course will introduce students to such topics as survey research methodology, the design and conducting of experiments, data gathering and analysis through descriptive statistics, and the use of multiple regression. In addition to discussing how to perform these techniques, we will also read cases and articles in which each of the techniques has figured.

Sequence and Prerequisites: None.

Evaluation: Students will fulfill the course requirements by writing a paper, by class participation, by presentation of their research to the class, and by completing several exercises. We anticipate using computer statistical software packages for these exercises and making that software available to the students for individual purchase. No prior familiarity with statistics or empirical techniques is required.