The purpose of this course is to prepare students to conduct original empirical legal research. Empirical Legal Studies is the application of the tools of a social scientist to questions about the law, lawyers and the courts. ELS incorporates the analytical approaches found in political science, economics, soiciology, anthropology, policy analysis, and elsewhere. It is not subject specific, and includes the gamut of legal fields (litigation, crime, corporations, evidence, civil procedure, etc.). If you think a subject area is interesting, ELS probably offers a way to study it.
This course consists of two 100 minute sessions each week that combine lectures and lab work. The lectures will cover research methods, statistics, data analysis and critical reading of empirical research. The labs will be hands-on sessions in the use of statistical software to analyze existing data for the purpose of replicating and possibly extending some of the course readings. Grading will be based upon problem sets, small papers, and an in-class presentation. There is no final exam. Students who enroll in 279 should be prepared to enroll in 579 in the Spring. Admission is by instructor consent.