Research Handbook on Modern Legal Realism
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Research Handbook on Modern Legal Realism

Edited by Shauhin Talesh, Elizabeth Mertz and Heinz Klug

This insightful Research Handbook provides a definitive overview of the New Legal Realism (NLR) movement, reaching beyond historical and national boundaries to form new conversations. Drawing on deep roots within the law-and-society tradition, it demonstrates the powerful virtues of new legal realist research and its attention to the challenges of translation between social science and law. It explores an impressive range of contemporary issues including immigration, policing, globalization, legal education, and access to justice, concluding with and examination of how different social science disciplines intersect with NLR.
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Chapter 13: New Legal Realism goes to law school: Integrating social science and law through legal education

Emily Taylor Poppe


Legal Realism was both a stunning success and a dismal failure; while it pierced the veil of legal formalism, it failed in its attempt to integrate law and social science. New Legal Realism seeks to address the failings of Legal Realism, by directing greater attention to the challenges of incorporating social scientific insights into legal discourse. In this chapter, I argue that to accomplish the integration of social science and law, legal education must be reoriented to further the goals of New Legal Realism. In particular, I consider how the formal curriculum, hidden curriculum, and law school pedagogy might be reformed to provide skills, knowledge, and values that are consistent with New Legal Realism’s emphasis on empiricism, interdisciplinarity, and social contextualization. Using civil procedure as an example, I illustrate what a New Legal Realist approach to legal education might look like. Acknowledging the institutional and ideological barriers to this approach, I argue that the present moment offers a unique opportunity for New Legal Realism to succeed.

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