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Laura Beth Nielsen

Laura Beth Nielsen headshot

Research Professor

Joint appointment

Professor of Sociology and Law, Director of Legal Studies, Northwestern University


Ph.D., Jurisprudence & Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley; J.D., University of California, Berkeley

Curriculum vitae


View video of Laura Beth Nielsen


Follow @ProfLBNielsen Laura Beth Nielsen is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation, Professor of Sociology and Director of Legal Studies at Northwestern University. She is a graduate…

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Research focus

The sociology of law, with particular interests in legal consciousness and the relationship between law and inequalities of race, gender, and class, civil rights generally and employment civil rights in particular


Contested Constructions of Discrimination
Latest finding: Dec 12, 2012, with Jill D. Weinberg , Jeremy Freese
Contested Constructions uses experimental research to investigate how judges and laypeople define employment discrimination and perceptions of the legal system as the appropriate forum to adjudicate…
Employment Discrimination Litigation
Latest finding: Dec 12, 2012, with Robert L. Nelson, Ryon Lancaster, John Donohue III, Peter Siegelman
At the center of current debates about the role of anti-discrimination law in American society is the system of discrimination litigation. Despite the sheer magnitude of changes in employment…
Pursuing Law’s Promise: Researching Access to Justice in 21st Century America
Latest finding: Apr 3, 2012, with Robert L. Nelson, Aaron C. Smyth
Through a series of innovative empirical research projects, Pursuing Law’s Promise investigates Americans’ experiences with their civil justice problems and the institutions of remedy…

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O direito pensante, o direito pensante em movimento, “Thinking Law, Thinking in Motion,
Revista de Estudos Empíricos em Direito (REED).
Funding the Cause: How Public Interest Law Organizations Fund their Activities and Why it Matters for Social Change
Law and Social Inquiry
"Race and Representation: Racial Disparities in Legal Representation for Employment Civil Rights Plaintiffs"
New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy

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USA Today Reports on Laura Beth Nielsen's Definition of Terrorism

May 28, 2013

Click here to read the article, published on May 22, 2013.

Laura Beth Nielsen Participates in Forum on Terrorism

May 28, 2013

This forum, which aired on May 24 on KQED, a San Francisco-area public radio station, discusses the sometimes obscure definition of terrorism. Click to listen.

Terrorism and Miranda

Apr 22, 2013

Listen here as ABF Research Professor Laura Beth Nielsen comments on the legal definition of terrorism and Miranda rights. This interview aired on the "America Weekend" Podcast on Saturday, April 20,…

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Panel Presentation, “Determining Discrimination: The Effect of Race and Political Ideology in Evaluations of Workplace Disputes”
May 2013
Presidential Panel, “The Future of Graduate Programming in the Social Sciences”
May 2013
Invited Presentation, “Race and Representation: Racial Disparities in Legal Representation for Employment Civil Rights Plaintiffs”
Jan 2013

All presentations »

Professional Service & Recognition

  • Advisory Panel, National Public Radio, The Life of the Law
  • Secretary, Law and Society Association
  • Editor, Law & Social Inquiry
  • Director, Northwestern University, Center for Legal Studies
  • External Grant Committee Chair, Law & Society Association
  • Elected Member, Sociology of Law Council, American Sociological Association