Many who teach empirical methods in law schools struggle with identifying satisfactory course materials (casebooks, textbooks, statistical packages, supplemental reading, etc.). For most, the decision on how to structure and teach the class often drives decisions on course materials. On the casebook front, the first edition (2010) of Empirical Methods in Law, co-edited by Robert Lawless, Jennifer Robbennolt, and Thomas Ulen (all at Illinois), enriched the small but growing number of available options. The Lawless et al.'s 2nd edition (2016) improves an already strong casebook.
Lawless, Robbennolt, and Ulen’s Empirical Methods in Law (2nd ed., 2016) “brings the basic principles and concepts of social-science research to the desks of law students and lawyers who expect to work with data experts. Now available in a second edition, the updated text continues its focus on explaining basic principles and concepts in an intuitive style requiring no prior knowledge of math or statistics. The text also continues its emphasis on the importance of research design as well as statistical methods.” The second edition’s features include:
- "Available in softcover and competitively priced, making the book accessible either as a principal course text or as a supplemental text.
- An extensive online set of resources: Teachers Manual, PowerPoint slides, problems, example datasets, bibliography, glossary of terms.
- Broad perspectives from three authors from three different methodological traditions that results in a presentation of general best practices.
- Generous use of examples from the legal world that show how empirical techniques are applied in a range of substantive legal areas.
- Coverage of topics often overlooked in the research process such as data coding or communication of results."
Finally, as legal education's costs continues to rise, the casebook's move to a less expensive softcover and promise for "competitive" pricing joins a welcome (and much-needed) trend in casebook publishing.