Joe Miller (Lewis & Clark) makes the following useful comment below: "I think it would be helpful to see discussion on this blog about IRBs, and the learning curve for law profs in working with their home IRBs. I attended the AALS January 2006 meeting and don't recall seeing or hearing, amid all the encouragement for more empirical work, a word about IRBs (what they are, how they work, etc.)."
Every school's IRB is quite different, especially in those schools that have few clinical trials and hospital reasearch (like my home institution Marquette University) versus those who have large research hospitals (like my alma mater The University of Chicago). IRBs usually have less red tape in the former. As far as advice, my own suggestions are (1) visit your school's IRB website and (2) get to know the people who work at your home IRBs as they can make the process much easier for you. I think the big issue for law professors, who rarely use IRBs, is that they do not know when/if they are required to consult them. Any advice or comments on this would be greatly appreciated. Comments are open.