22 May 2007
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Elmer Elhauge from Harvard Law School has a post about the future of empirical legal studies, comparing the law today to baseball before the rise of sabermetrics. From the post:
In short, in law, we are currently still largely in the position of the baseball scouts lampooned so effectively in Moneyball for their reliance on traditional beliefs that had no empirical foundation. But all this is changing. At Harvard Law School, as traditional a place as you can get, we now have by my count 10 professors who have done significant statistical analysis of legal issues. We just hired our first JD with a PhD in statistics. The movement is not at all limited to Harvard, and seems to be growing at all law schools.
So we are hardly devoid of empirical analysis of law. We are just, rather, in our early Bill James era, and can expect the analysis to get more sophisticated and systematic as things progress. I expect within a couple of decades we will have our own book distilling the highlights of things we will know then that conflict with what is now conventional legal wisdom.
We are all pretty pleased that Harvard Law now has a stats Ph.D. on faculty. But one of the commenters raises an interesting question; if empirical legal studies are like sabermetrics, who is the legal equivalent of Joe Morgan?
Posted by Mike Kellermann at May 22, 2007 8:49 AM