Before the Second World War, there was only sporadic interest in the United States in sociolegal studies, that is, studies of law from the standpoint of one or more of the social sciences. In the 1920s and 1930s, a few legal scholars pioneered in empirical studies of the legal system. In the 1930s, too, the Johns Hopkins Institute of Law, in Baltimore, Maryland, was founded as a research institute whose mission was rigorous empirical study of the law in action. Several interesting studies came out of the institute, for example, a massive study of the divorce laws of Maryland. The Institute's life, however, was brief. It did not survive the depression. The legal realist movement in law schools paid lip service to empirical research on ...

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