This week's guest blogger is Laura Beth Nielsen, who currently holds a joint appointment at the American Bar Foundation and Northwestern Sociology. Laura Beth's primary research field is the sociology of law, with particular interests in legal consciousness and the relationship between law and inequalities of race, gender, and class. Laura Beth's recently published book, License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech (Princeton 2004) (winner of the 2000 LSA dissertation prize) uses qualitative empirical methods to examine hate speech, targets ' reactions and responses to it, and their attitudes about using law to deal with such speech. In addition, her numerous articles, book chapters, and edited volumes have made important contributions to our understanding of employment law and the perceived versus actual autonomy of in-house legal counsel.
Laura Beth is trained as both a lawyer and a social scientist. She is received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley ' s Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program (1999) and her J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law. During the 2005-06 academic term, Laura Beth was a Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavior Sciences at Stanford University. As a person who is fully integrated into both the legal and social science academies, Laura Beth is well situated to comment on the current and future state of the empirical legal studies movement. We look forward to her postings over the coming week.