Law, Behavior, and Social Science

Reflecting and advancing recent trends in interdisciplinary legal scholarship, the program in Law, Behavior, and Social Science seeks to broaden and deepen knowledge at the intersection of law and various fields of social science, including economics, behavioral law and economics, empirical legal studies, sociology, and psychology. The program capitalizes on the expertise of members of the College’s full-time faculty, as well as faculty members from other University departments, including roughly a dozen who hold courtesy appointments at the College of Law. The program seeks to publicize scholarship in the field to scholars, judges, attorneys, and other legal decision-makers in the United States and around the world.


Robert M. Lawless – Max L. Rowe Professor of Law
Jennifer K. Robbennolt – Associate Dean for Research, Alice Curtis Campbell Professor of Law, and Professor of Psychology

Affiliated Faculty

Amitai Aviram – Professor of Law
Kenworthey Bilz – Professor of Law
Dov Cohen – Professor of Psychology and Law
Paul Heald – Albert J. Harno and Edward W. Cleary Chair in Law
Robin B. Kar – Professor of Law and Philosophy
Anna-Maria Marshall – Associate Professor of Sociology and Law
Jeremy McClane – Professor of Law
Arden Rowell – Professor of Law
Deepak Somaya – Associate Professor of Business Administration and Steven V. and Christy C. King Faculty Fellow
Thomas S. Ulen – Swanlund Chair Emeritus
Lesley Wexler – John D. Colombo Professor of Law
Robin Fretwell Wilson – Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law
Verity Winship – Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law

Program Events

“Lions, Spiders, and Bears: Better Environmental Regulation Through Psychology”
Professors Arden Rowell and Kenworthey Bilz discussed their new book, “The Psychology of Environmental Law,” in which they argue that psychology can offer environmental law a rich, empirically informed account of why, when, and how people act in ways that affect the environment—which can then be used to more effectively pursue specific policy goals. 

Discussion of Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Law and Data Science Summit
Summit exploring data science applications to legal doctrine, the study of legal texts, and the practice of law and how the law applies to data science through questions of privacy, ethics, and ownership.  Featuring speakers from Law, Political Science, Linguistics, Computer Science, Sociology, Business, Electrical and Computer Engineering, the iSchool, the Social Research + Technology Innovation (SRTI) Lab, the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research, and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).  Co-Sponsored by the Illinois Data Science Initiative

Conversation with the Authors
Discussion of “Unequal:  How America’s Courts Undermine Discrimination Law”

Suja A. Thomas – Peer and Sarah Pedersen Professor of Law
University of Illinois College of Law

Sandra F. Sperino – Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Law
University of Cincinnati School of Law

Robert L. Nelson, ABF Director Emeritus and MacCrate Research Chair in the Legal Profession
Noon – Max L. Rowe Auditorium

What Gets Counted? The Infrastructure of Measurement
Sally Engle Merry, Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice
NYU School of Law
11:45 a.m. – Faculty Lounge

The Law and Social Science of Political Gerrymandering
Professor Wendy K. Tam Cho, Dept. of Political Science, UIUC
12:00 PM – Classroom A

Book Panel: The Psychology of Tort Law
Authors: Jennifer K. Robbennolt & Valerie P. Hans
Commentators: Stephen Daniels, Senior Research Professor, American Bar Foundation and Barney Shultz, head of litigation, State Farm Insurance

Writing Grants for NSF’s Law & Social Science Program
Co-Sponsored with the Department of Sociology
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, 3111 Lincoln Hall

Law, Behavior, and Social Science
Connections Across Campus
12:00 PM – 1:20 PM, Faculty Lounge

Springboard Series Reception; Co-Sponsored with the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology

Professors Dov Cohen and Bob Lawless, University of Illinois College of Law
Attitudes Toward Indebtedness in the U.S. Midwest
Professor Paul Heald, University of Illinois College of Law
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM, Faculty Lounge

Professor David Zaring, Washington and Lee University School of Law
Litigating the Financial Crisis
1:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Classroom H

Nicholas Bagley, University of Michigan Law
Medicine as a Public Calling
1:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Classroom H

Lisa Robinson, Harvard School of Public Health
Behavioral Economics, Regulatory Analysis, and the Valuation of Health Risks
1:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Classroom H

Professor Gene Robinson, Swanlund Chair and Director, IGB, Allison Bell, Associate Professor, Animal Biology, Ripan Malhi, Associate Professor Anthropology, and Brent Roberts, Professor of Psychology
Panel presentation by members of the Institute of Genomic Biology, headed by Gene Robinson, Director
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center

Professor David Engstrom, Stanford Law School
Private Enforcement’s Pathways: Lessons from Qui Tam Litigation
1:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Classroom H

Professor Michael Livermore, University of Virginia School of Law
Partisan Administration
1:00 PM – 2:50 PM, Classroom H

Robert Ahdieh, Vice Dean, Professor of Law and Director, Center on Federalism and Intersystemic Governance
Reanalyzing Costs-Benefit Analysis: Toward a Framework of Function(s) and Form(s)
12:00 PM – 1:20 PM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center

Professor Ed Diener, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
National Accounts of Subjective Well-Being for Policy
1:00 PM – 2:50 PM, University of Illinois College of Law – Classroom H

Professor Deepak Somaya, College of Business, University of Illinois
Is Pro Bono Also Pro Lucrum? Firm-Level Pro Bono Participation, Human Capital Advantages, and Profitability in Law Firms
12:00 PM – 1:20 PM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center, University of Illinois College of Law

Professor Bernard Black, Northwestern University Law School
Medical Malpractice Litigation From the Plaintiffs’ Perspective: Lessons From Illinois

This paper is co-authored by Professor David Hyman, University of Illinois College of Law. The lecture is co-sponsored by Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science and the Illinois Program in Law and Medicine.
12:00 PM – 1:20 PM, University of Illinois College of Law

William Hubbard, University of Chicago Law
The Paradoxes, Real and Imagined, of Twombly and Iqbal
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F, College of Law

James Greiner, Harvard Law School
How Effective Are Limited Legal Assistance Programs? A Randomized Experiment in a Massachusetts Housing Court
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Kenworthey Bilz, UIUC College of Law
Criminal Punishment and Social Standing
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Vikramaditya Khanna, University of Michigan Law School
CEO Connectedness and Corporate Frauds
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Ruth Aguilera, UIUC College of Business
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Alison Morantz, Stanford Law School
Coal Mine Safety: Do Unions Make a Difference?
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Joshua Fischman, Northwestern University School of Law
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Valerie Hans, Cornell Law School
To Dollars from Sense: Qualitative to Quantitative Translation in Jury Damage Awards
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Stefan Voigt, Institute of Law and Economics, Univ. of Hamburg
Constitutions and Coups
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom F

Brett Freudenberg, Griffith University
Advisors’ Consideration of Tax Compliance and other Issues for Choice of Business Form
12:00 PM – 1:20 AM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center

Katerina Linos, Berkeley Law School
Benchmarks from Abroad – Selling Voters on Health and Family Reform
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center

Matthew Adler, University of Pennsylvania Law
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center

Professor Scott Baker, Washington University
A Theory of Rational Jurisprudenc
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom B

Daniel Chen, Duke University, and Susan Yeh, Penn U.
The Economic Impacts of Eminent Domain
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom B

Rebecca Sandefur, UI Sociology Dept.
Money Isn’t Everything: Understanding Moderate Income Households’ Use of Lawyers’ Services
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom B

Giuseppe Dari Mattiacci, ACLE
The Good Faith Purchaser: Culture, Markets and the Legal System
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom B

David Law, Washington University
Sham Constitutions
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom B

Pascoe Pleasance, UCL London
Looking for Justice: The Public Experience of Legal Events
4:30 PM – 6:20 PM, Classroom B1

Workshop with Charlotte Ku and Paul Diehl
Bridging the International Law-International Relations Divide: Taking Stock of Progress
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM, Faculty Lounge and Conference Center

Past Conferences

  1. Midwestern Law & Economics Association Annual Meeting
  2. Second Annual Empirical Patent Law Conference
  3. First Annual Empirical Patent Law Conference
  4. University of Illinois Law and Economics Conference (Ulen Conference)
  5. UNLV Conference on Psychology and Lawyering (co-sponsored by LBSS)