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Shari Seidman Diamond, National Jury Expert, Receives Kalven Prize from Law and Society Association

June 8, 2010, Press releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:         Lucinda Underwood
E-mail:           lunderwood@abfn.org
Phone:           312.988.6573
Fax:                312.988.6579
Online:           www.americanbarfoundation.org

 Shari Seidman Diamond, National Jury Expert, Receives Kalven Prize from Law and Society Association

Chicago, IL, June 8 , 2010 – American Bar Foundation Research Professor Shari Seidman Diamond is the recipient of the 2010 Harry J. Kalven, Jr., Prize, awarded by the Law and Society Association. The award was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association May 27-30, in Chicago, IL.

The Kalven Prize, awarded annually, is given for "empirical scholarship that has contributed most effectively to the advancement of research in law and society.”  Diamond, a psychologist and lawyer who holds a joint appointment at the American Bar Foundation and Northwestern University, is a nationally recognized expert on jury behavior and legal decision-making.  Her research investigates conflicts between expertise and impartiality and between science and law, and, in turn, how such conflicts influence jury and judicial decision-making.  Diamond also studies how courts both use and fail to make use of scientific evidence.

Diamond is best known for her studies of jury behavior based on videotapes of actual jury deliberations in civil trials in the State of Arizona.  The Arizona project has provided unique insights into jury decisionmaking, including the impact of allowing jurors to deliberate and to ask questions over the course of a trial, how jurors understand jury instructions and whether they follow them, how the presence of experts on juries affect deliberations, the effect of changing jury size on the diversity of juries, and the effect of requiring unanimous verdicts.  Diamond’s current work also includes an analysis of the negative public reaction to Kelo v. City of New London, the 2005 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that governments are permitted to force the sale of private property for the purpose of promoting economic development. 

The Kalven Prize recognizes Diamond’s use of a broad range of both qualitative and quantitative research methods, often incorporating novel approaches to areas of inquiry and creating new paths for further discovery by students, colleagues and scholars. The award also lauds Diamond’s contributions in translating work in the field of sociolegal studies to audiences outside the academy. In announcing Diamond’s 2010  award, the Law and Society Association citation stated, “She (Diamond)  keeps an eye focused on the real-world implications of sociolegal scholarship, and shares her insights widely not only with her students and other scholars but also with lawyers, judges, and policymakers.”

Robert L. Nelson, Director of the American Bar Foundation, said, “We are extremely proud of the work of Shari Diamond. The Law and Society Association is a leading academic association for the empirical study of law, and the Kalven Prize is of special significance in the field.” He added, “Shari Diamond’s pioneering work is a signature project for the ABF because it represents the very best of social science research on a fundamental feature of the American justice system.”

Diamond received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Northwestern University and her J.D. from the University of Chicago. She is at work on a book summarizing her findings on the Arizona Filming Project.

The American Bar Foundation is the nation’s leading research institute for the empirical study of law.  An independent, nonprofit organization, for more than fifty years the ABF has advanced the understanding and improvement of law through research projects of unmatched scale and quality on the most pressing issues facing the legal system in the United States and the world.     

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