Bernie Black (Texas Law) requested that I post the following:
A few progress notes, on the emergence of Empirical Legal Studies as a serious field within law schools.
1. This year's second annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (CELS) attracted 350 submissions, up from 225 last year. We're now at the same scale as ALEA, in far less time. Please come! (it's at NYU this year, you can register and get details at http://www.law.nyu.edu/cels/) We'll have about 100 presented papers, in another 25 at a poster session, in 5-6 concurrent sessions. Same format as last year -- each paper gets a discussant. On my read, the quality of the submitted papers is stunning -- our challenge will be to avoid the peril of being hyperselective, not the peril of too few good papers..
2. Empirical research is getting noticed. Many of you surely saw the front page New York Times article devoted to Brandon Garrett's article, "Judging Innocence". This week, Kate Litvak got a full paragraph in the Economist for her research on SOX (Briefing Sarbanes Oxley: Five Years Under the Thumb, Economist, July 28, 2007, at 73).
3. On a (more) self-interested note, I'm just back from giving a keynote talk at the Brazil Finance Society annual meeting, on "Identification Strategies in Corporate Governance Research." Giving an invited talk is hardly unusual, but for a finance society to invite a law prof?! That didn't use to happen, ever.
4. Looking forward, CELS has now lined up host schools through 2012, and we will organize a "Society for Empirical Legal Studies" (SELS) at this year's conference, to carry it forward after that, as the original organizers fade into obscurity.
Update: The Economist article can be found here.