For the past forty years, John Heinz’s research has focused primarily on the social structure of the legal profession. This work applies sociological methods, often using quantitative measures, to the study of the organization and delivery of legal services and the relationships among varying types of lawyers.
He is perhaps best known as the co-author, with Edward Laumann of the University of Chicago, of Chicago Lawyers: The Social Structure of the Bar, first published in 1982. A revised edition appeared in 1994. The book argues that urban lawyers are divided into “two hemispheres,” one serving corporations and other large organizations, and the other serving individuals and small businesses. His other books include The Hollow Core: Private Interests in National Policy Making (1993) and Urban Lawyers: The New Social Structure of the Bar (2005).
Heinz was trained at the Yale Law School and at Washington University in St. Louis, where he did graduate work in political science. From 1982 to 1986, he was the director of the American Bar Foundation. For more than four decades, he was a member of the faculty of the Northwestern University School of Law, where he taught criminal law. He has also been affiliated with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern.
He is active in civic affairs in Chicago, having served as president of the John Howard Association, chair of the professional advisory committee of the Cook County State’s Attorney, and chair of the research committee of the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. He was also the delegate of the Association of American Law Schools to the American Council of Learned Societies, a member of the board of directors of the Northwestern University Press, and coeditor of Law and Social Inquiry.