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Laura Beth Nielsen

Laura Beth Nielsen headshot

Research Professor

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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


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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 of the University of California, Berkeley’s Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program (Ph.D. 1999) and Boalt Hall School of Law (J.D. 1996). Her primary field is the sociology of law, with…

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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


The Hero and the Monsignor: Law, Sexual Violence, and the Catholic Church

This project examines the sexual abuse of minors through a case study of lawsuits brought against a Catholic archdiocese for failure to prevent sexual abuse by priests. With permission from the…

Employment Civil Rights

The Employment Civil Rights Project is generating findings on the changing dynamics of employment discrimination litigation, the types of cases that succeed in litigation, and the parties'…

Contested Constructions of Discrimination

Despite the volume of empirical research about employment civil rights litigation, we know very little about how people come to assess whether workplace experiences are thought to be…

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“ ‘Ahead of the Lawmen:’ Law and Morality in Animated Disney Films 1960-1998” (with N. Patel & J. Rosner)
Law, Culture and Humanities

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The Procedural Attack on Civil Rights

Nov 13, 2019

Three cases before the Supreme Court this term address attorney fee shifting. The AARP wrote about the cases, quoting Laura Beth Nielsen here. The American Bar Foundation supported research on…

The Case for Restricting Hate Speech

Aug 28, 2019

Read it in the LA times here

Time Magazine - Here's what to Know before you File a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Aug 28, 2019

By Laura Beth Nielsen & Ellen Berrey. Read it here.

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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

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Professional Service & Recognition

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