In Empiricism, Experimentalism, and Conditional Theory, Victoria Nourse (Georgetown) and Greg Shaffer (Minn.) set out to "examine empiricism (reflected in the empirical legal studies movement) and experimentalism (reflected in the new governance movement) as two complementary strands of New Legal Realism." Along the way, the paper traces ELS' emergence and places it into helpful historical context. Noting tension between empiricism and experimentalism, the authors argue:
"... that this tension can be productive for overcoming the challenges of each strand and we offer a theoretical resolution, one which takes the best from each practice in service of an approach that is not model-driven, but problem-centered, that seeks in its claims to science not a claim of final authority but one of discovery and willingness both to work within and challenge received wisdom. We offer two concepts by which to assess the success of a new legal realism: 'emergent analytics' and 'conditional theory.' These two concepts bring empiricism and experimentalism together. We reject in particular radical skepticism of formal law, to which both movements could be prone, and contend that new legal realism must closely engage with formal law’s conditional role in a dynamically changing world."