Empirical legal research (ELR) has existed for more than 100 years. However, until recently it was largely either a subarea of one of the social science disciplines (political science, sociology, criminology, economics, psychology, or anthropology), or undertaken by or on behalf of government agencies for purposes of policy assessment or policy planning. For a brief period in the 1920s and 1930s, a small group of legal academics, many identified with legal realism, in a small number of law schools (Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and University of Oregon) undertook ELR, but it then faded from the legal academy, until beginning to reappear in the 1950s and 1960s. The first academic organization focused on law-related interdisciplinary research (other than criminology), the Law and Society Association (LSA), was founded in the 1960s, and started publishing Law & Society Review (LSR) in 1966. Throughout its existence, most of the articles published in LSR have been based on empirical research. A significant proportion of LSA members, both at the time the organization was founded and in the present, are from the legal academy, and this is reflected in the authorship of articles in LSR. An analysis of the authorship of articles published in LSR between its founding and the year 2000 found that 36 percent of the authors were sociologists, 23 percent political scientists, and 19 percent legal academics; various other disciplines accounted for the remaining 22 percent, the largest being psychology, at 6½ percent.
ELR produced by members of the legal academy, at...
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