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Stephen Daniels

Stephen Daniels is a Senior Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, and an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focuses on law and public policy and the various aspects of the American civil justice system. He has written on trial courts, juries, plaintiffs' lawyers, and the politics of civil justice reform – including the areas of medical malpractice, products liability, and punitive damages. He is co-author (with Joanne Martin) of Civil Juries and the Politics of Reform (Northwestern University Press, 1995), and author or co-author of numerous articles in law reviews and social science journals focusing on law and public policy. He has testified before congressional and state legislative committees on the subject of civil justice reform, and served as an expert in cases dealing with large jury awards and/or constitutional challenges to civil justice reform. Daniels also maintains a long-standing interest in teaching courses related to law and policy and especially courses on the Supreme Court and constitutional law. He is co-author (with James Bowers) of Hypotheticals: Supreme Court Decision-Making and Constitutional Interpretation (Longman Publishers: 1998).

Daniels is currently completing (with Joanne Martin) a large-scale study of Texas plaintiffs' lawyers. It focuses on changes in their practices in the wake of tort reform. Among the study’s key concerns is the possible erosion of legal rights because of a diminution in the availability of legal services as a consequence of the changes in lawyers’ practices. At the study’s heart are 151 in-depth interviews with Texas plaintiffs’ lawyers (done at two points in time -- the late 1990s and 2005-2006) and two detailed surveys of Texas plaintiffs’ lawyers (one in 2000 and the other in 2006). The combined results of both surveys and both rounds of interviews form the basis of a book manuscript now in progress. With a working title of “Plaintiffs’ Practice in the Age of Tort Reform: Survival of the Fittest – It’s Even More True Now,” the book examines the impact of tort reform on the practices of plaintiffs’ lawyers from the mid-1990s to 2005.

Continuing his interest in law and policy, Daniels is now working on questions surrounding public opinion and the civil justice system and on state-wide ballot measures dealing with civil justice issues. Finally, Daniels is completing (with Joanne Martin) a pilot study of the delivery of legal services to the poor in Chicago. It explores how access to legal services depends on the goals and interests of those who control the supply of legal services rather than on the most pressing legal needs of the poor.