May 24, 2006
Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship Workshop Wrap-Up
Posted by Christine Hurt

I'm back from statistics boot camp at the 3-Day Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship Workshop, and I've lived to blog about it.  All kidding aside, the conference was very valuable to me and well worth my time.  If you are thinking about attending this annual course in the future, I would highly recommend it, depending on your current level of familiarity with empirical research tools.  Although I'm somewhat ashamed to admit this, I've never taken a statistics course.  Not in college, not anywhere.  To prepare for the class, I read this slim book from Foundation Press:  Fundamentals of Statistical Analysis, aimed at law students with no background in statistics.  This quick read was literally all I needed to not get lost or behind in the class.  The workshop claims that it is appropriate for participants with no knowledge of statistics, and that claim is basically true.  If you have a Ph.D. in a discipline that made you take a few courses in statistics, then you may benefit less from the instruction, but more from the ability to ask Professors Lee Epstein and Andrew Martin questions about your current research project.

One aspect of the conference that was surprising to me was the wide array of law professors attending.  The workshop had 75 attendees, and they came from all areas of law teaching, including a few professors who teach law in business schools.  Corporate law was by no means the most represented field there; other fields were constitutional law, civil rights, civil procedure, family law, immigration, bankruptcy, consumer law, administrative law, criminal law, education law, tax, and more that I am forgetting.  The happiest surprise was finding so many Glom readers (and commenters) there.

My colleague Jason Czarnezki has his thoughts on the ELS blog.

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