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Elizabeth Mertz

Elizabeth Mertz headshot

Research Professor

Joint appointment

John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin

Education

Ph.D., Anthropology, Duke University; J.D., Northwestern University School of Law

Bio

Elizabeth Mertz is a legal anthropologist who examines legal language in the United States, with a special focus on law school education. She studies law schools as sites for training incipient lawyers in the language of law, and law professors as teachers and translators of that language. Her research also examines the challenges involved in translating between law and social science,…

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Research focus

Language and law; legal education and legal profession; law professors’ professional lives; and how law translates the world around it; examination of these questions through the methods of anthropology and linguistics


Projects

New Legal Realism

The New Legal Realism (NLR) Project's goal is to develop rigorous, genuinely interdisciplinary approaches to the empirical study of law. Initially sponsored by the American Bar Foundation and the…

The Language of Law Professors: In Their Own Voices

A companion study to the “Senior Status” project, this research provides a more fine-grained and linguistically sophisticated perspective on today’s law professors in the U.S.. Data…

After Tenure: Senior Status in the Legal Academy

This is the first national study examining the post-tenure experiences of law professors in the United States. Tenured law professors shape many aspects of the institutional settings within law…

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Publications

Cover of Translating the Social World for Law Translating the Social World for Law
Oxford University Press
Cover of The New Legal Realism: Translating Law-and-Society for Today The New Legal Realism: Translating Law-and-Society for Today's Legal Practice
Cambridge University Press
Cover of The New Legal Realism: Studying Law Globally The New Legal Realism: Studying Law Globally
Cambridge University Press

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Presentations

Presenter in Invited Roundtable on "Law's Place in the Community of Academic Disciplines," Law & Society Association Meetings
Jun 2016
"Outsiders in the U.S. Legal Professoriate." Paper presented in panel entitled "Who Belongs? Who Doesn't? Legal Education: Plus ca change?" held at Law & Society Association Meetings
Jun 2016
"New Legal Realism: A Map and Some Questions" Keynote Address at 2016 Canadian Graduate Law Student Association Conference.
Feb 2016

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Professional Service & Recognition

  • Invited as Member at Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton (School of Social Science) for 2016-2017 (declined)
  • Visiting Scholar, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton (School of Social Science), Fall 2016
  • Winner, Mentoring Award, Association of Women Lawyers
  • Winner, Doris Slesinger Award for Excellence in Mentoring, University of Wisconsin-Madison campus-wide award for mentoring of junior women faculty
  • Co-Organizer, AALS Program on Qualitative and Mixed Methods Training for Law Professors
  • Selected as 2010-2011 Fellow in Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs
  • Co-Winner, Herbert Jacob Book Prize, Law & Society Association:  The Language of Law School:  Learning to "Think Like a Lawyer," Oxford University Press
  • Member, Editorial Board, Language and Law Book Series, Oxford University Press
  • Co-Editor, Emerging Legal Education Book Series, Ashgate Press

Links

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