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Volume 65, Issue 6



The Empirical Revolution in Law
by  Daniel E. Ho & Larry Kramer

What role does empirical work play in law? Where is that work leading? And why might (or might not) one be skeptical? Rather than answer these questions abstractly and top-down—a near-impossible task—this issue of the Stanford Law Review addresses these questions bottom-up, through the lens of particular substantive fields. It selects some of the best…


The Twiqbal Puzzle and Empirical Study of Civil Procedure

by  David Freeman Engstrom

Few developments in civil procedure have caused anything like the furor that has greeted the Supreme Court’s decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal (hereinafter “Twiqbal”). Indeed, earlier installments in the modern transformation of pretrial practice—from the rise of summary judgment, as symbolized by the Supreme Court’s 1986 Celotex trilogy, to…


But Seriously, Folks, What Do People Want?

by  Barbara H. Fried

In a lecture he gave at Stanford many years ago, Richard Rorty recounted the following story: A friend, an eminent decision theorist, had to decide between competing job offers from two universities. Unable to choose, he called up Rorty for advice. “Why don’t you make one of those fancy decision trees you’re always writing about?”…


Answering Questions, Questioning Answers, and the Roles of Empiricism in the Law of Democracy

by  Pamela S. Karlan

The law of democracy is a field in which line-drawing is often really important. Sometimes, the lines are literal ones, as with redistricting. Sometimes, the lines are theoretical or doctrinal, as with the much-maligned contribution/expenditure distinction in campaign finance law. So there’s something striking about the fact that the field also blurs many lines that…



by  Mark Kelman

In Commonsense Morality and the Ethics of Killing in War, one of the many excellent papers presented at the Seventh Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (CELS) here at Stanford, the authors set out to determine what it is that ordinary people actually think about whether one or another course of action that might be…


Fact and Fiction in Corporate Law and Governance

by  Michael Klausner

In corporate law and governance, the impact of empirical work has been pervasive, as reflected by the fact that over one quarter of the papers submitted to CELS related to these topics. Beginning in the 1970s, theorists in economics and law laid the foundations of the field. With respect to key questions, however, theory could…


Empirical Criminal Law Scholarship and the Shift to Institutions

by  Robert Weisberg

I will use some of the exemplary papers presented at CELS to describe and assess a trend toward more empirical “legal” research—papers that help demonstrate how statistical findings can inform government in the context of institutional decisions within the formal legal system. This research, focusing on the political economy of criminal justice agencies, examines legal…