Russell M. Robinson II Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology
Neil Vidmar’s scholarly research involves the empirical study of law across a broad spectrum of topics in civil and criminal law. A social psychologist by training, he is a leading expert on jury behavior and outcomes and has extensively studied medical malpractice litigation, punitive damages, dispute resolution, and the social psychology of retribution and revenge. Vidmar also is currently engaged in a project involving pro se litigants and another involving legal malpractice as well as a project with the Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice and Ethical Responsibility. He regularly teaches in all of these areas, offering classes and seminars on social science evidence in law, negotiation, medical malpractice litigation, the American jury, and ethics.
Vidmar holds a cross-appointment with the Department of Psychology at Duke University.
In addition to many articles, Vidmar is the author, with Valerie P. Hans, ofAmerican Juries: The Verdict (Prometheus Books, 2007) and Judging the Jury (1986). His other books include Medical Malpractice and the American Jury: Confronting the Myths About Jury Incompetence, Deep Pockets and Outrageous Damage Awards (University of Michigan Press, 1995), and World Jury Systems(Oxford University Press, 2000).
Vidmar has testified about jury prejudice and related issues in criminal and civil trials, including cases involving charges of terrorism; he was an expert witness during the trial of John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban.” He has testified or consulted about juries in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong, and has testified before the United States Senate on issues relating to medical malpractice reform and damage awards. He has drafted amicus briefs on various criminal or civil justice issues for cases being litigated in the United States Supreme Court, the Canadian Supreme Court and a number of state supreme courts.
Vidmar earned his MA and PhD in social psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1967. He joined the psychology faculty at the University of Western Ontario, in Canada, later that year, and also served on its law faculty from 1981 to 1990. He joined the Duke Law faculty in 1989. Vidmar has also taught at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, and spent a year as a Russell Sage Resident at Yale Law School (1973-74) after which he was a fellow at Battelle Seattle Research Center. Vidmar is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and is an active member of the Law and Society Association, the American Psychology-Law Society and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies.