Judicial Studies at Duke Law

Duke Law School is a leader in the study of the judiciary. Home to one of the top law faculties in the world, Duke has established a strong tradition in judicial studies thanks to innovative scholarship by faculty such as Jack Knight and Mitu Gulati and the leadership of Dean David F. Levi, a former federal judge (Chief Judge of the Eastern District of California) who has served on and led national committees related to judicial practice and procedure.

In recent years, Duke Law School has hosted two conferences that brought together academics and judges for the first time to comprehensively evaluate the field of judicial studies and examine ways to bridge the gap between academic studies and actual court administration and practice. In February 2009, the Duke Law Journal Symposium addressed the topic of “Measuring Judges and Justice.” In September 2009, a conference funded by the National Science Foundation addressed the topic of “Evaluating Judging, Judges, and Judicial Institutions.

In May 2010, Duke Law School hosted the 2010 Civil Litigation Review Conference, which addressed a number of emerging and critical issues relating to civil litigation and court administration.

Recent Courses Offered:

The Study of Judicial Behavior
Social Scientific Research and the Supreme Court
Empirical Methods in the Law
Judicial Writing
Social Science Evidence in Law

Papers Written by/with Duke Law Faculty:


The Psychology of Trial Judging” (Neil Vidmar) (2011)

How Well Do Measures of Judicial Ability Translate into Performance?” (Mitu Gulati, Stephen J. Choi, and Eric A. Posner) - (2011)


Evaluating Judges and Judicial Institutions: Reorienting the Perspective” (Mitu Gulati, David Levi, David Klein [Virginia]) - (2010)

Nature or Nurture? Judicial Lawmaking in the European Court of Justice and the Andean Tribunal of Justice” (Laurence Helfer, Karen Alter [Northwestern]) (2010)

Judicial Ability and Securities Class Actions” (Mitu Gulati, Stephen Choi [NYU], Eric Posner [Chicago]) (2010)

The Federal Circuit: A Model for Reform?” (Paul Carrington, Paulina Orchard) (2010)

Talking Judges” (Mitu Gulati, Jack Knight) – 2010, Duke Law Journal (March 16)


Are Empiricists Asking the Right Questions About Judicial Decision-Making?” (Jack Knight) - 58 Duke Law Journal 1531-1556 (2009)

Does the Supreme Court Follow the Economic Returns?” (Ernest Young, Erin Blondel) (2009)

Judicial Evaluations and Information Forcing: Ranking State High Courts and Their Judges” (Mitu Gulati, Stephen Choi [NYU], Eric Posner [Chicago]) (2009)

Judicial Independence in Excess: Reviving the Judicial Duty of the Supreme Court” (Paul Carrington, Roger Cramton [Cornell]) - (2009)

“‘Only Connect’: Toward a Unified Measurement Project” (Mitu Gulati, David Levi) - 58 Duke Law Journal 1181-1190 (2009)

"On Doctors and Judges" (Richman, Barak D.) (2009)

Are Judges Overpaid? A Skeptical Response to the Judicial Salary Debate” (Mitu Gulati, Stephen Choi [NYU], Eric Posner [Chicago]) – 1 Journal of Legal Analysis 47-117 (2009)


Bias in Judicial Citations: A Window into the Behavior of Judges?” (Mitu Gulati and Stephen Choi [NYU]) (2008)

The Virtue of Judicial Statesmanship” (Neil Siegel) (2008)

Trading Votes for Reasoning: Covering in Judicial Opinions” (Mitu Gulati, Stephen Choi [NYU]) (2008)

Which States Have the Best (and Worst) High Courts?” (Mitu Gulati, Stephen Choi [NYU], Eric Posner [Chicago]) (2008)

Judging Measures” (Mitu Gulati, David F. Levi) (2008)


A Theory in Search of a Court, and Itself: Judicial Minimalism in the Supreme Court Bar” (Neil Siegel) (2005)


“Institutionalizing Constitutional Democracy: A Strategic Analysis of the Role of the Courts,” (with Lee Epstein) in Irwin Morris, Joe Oppenheimer and Karol E. Soltan, eds. Politics From Anarchy to Democracy (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press), 2004.