Skip Navigation LinksHome > Faculty Biographies > Faculty Bio

Lempert, Richard O.

Eric Stein Distinguished University Professor of Law and Sociology Emeritus

Richard O. Lempert is a graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Michigan Law School and holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Michigan. He is the Eric Stein Distinguished University Professor of Law and Sociology Emeritus. In the 1993-1994 academic year, he served as acting chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Michigan, and from 1995-1998 he was chair of the department.

Prof. Lempert is particularly concerned with the problem of applying social science research to legal issues. This is reflected in much of his work, particularly his work on juries, capital punishment, and the use of statistical and social science evidence by courts, as well as in his service as an original panelist in the National Science Foundation's Law and Social Science Program and with the National Research Council's Committee on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, which he chaired from 1987-1989. He is the author (with Joseph Sanders) of An Invitation to Law and Social Science and co-editor (with Jacques Normand and Charles O'Brien) of Under the Influence? Drugs and the American Work Force. From 1982-85, he edited the Law & Society Review. He is a recipient of the Law Society Association's Harry Kalven Jr. Prize for outstanding socio-legal scholarship and has held visiting fellowships at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and at the Russell Sage Foundation. In 1993 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves as the secretary of Section K of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In addition to his socio-legal teaching, Prof. Lempert teaches evidence and is coauthor of A Modern Approach to Evidence and edited the volume Evidence. He has also written a number of articles in the field of evidence law, including a series of articles on statistical and other issues posed by DNA evidence and an early piece which called the field's attention to the possibility of using Bayes' Theorem as a model for thinking about issues of relevance and proof. Recently he has been interested in the role of legal fictions in evidence law.

Prof. Lempert has served on the University's Presidential Advisory Committee on the Life Sciences and was the founding director of the University's Life Sciences, Values, and Society Program.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

Failing Law Schools, by Brian Z. Tamanaha: A Review. U of Michigan Public Law Research Paper No. 399. Working Paper, 2014.
Full Text: SSRN

Growing Up in Law & Society: The Pulls of Policy and Methods. Univ. of Michigan Public Law Research Paper, no. 335. Working Paper, 2013.
Full Text: SSRN

​"What to Make of Fisher v. Texas: An Interesting Punt on Affirmative Action?" Up front (blog), The Brookings Institution, June 25, 2013.
Full Text: WWW

University of Michigan Bar Passage 2004-2006: A Failure to Replicate Professor Sander’s Results, With Implications for Affirmative Action. Univ. of Michigan Law School, Law and Economics Research Paper Series, no. 12-013. Working Paper.
Full Text: SSRN | BePress

"Maryland v. King: An Unfortunate Supreme Court Decision on the Collection of DNA Samples." Up Front (blog), The Brookings Institution, June 6, 2013.
Full Text: WWW

Review of Failing Law Schools, by B. Tamanaha. Contemp. Sociology 43, no. 2 (2014): 269-71.
Full Text: SAGE (UMich users) | SAGE

Review of Failing Law Schools, by B. Tamanaha. Contemp. Sociology 43, no. 2 (2014): 269-71.
Full Text: SAGE (UMich users) | SAGE

Co-author. A Modern Approach to Evidence: Text, Problems, Transcripts, and Cases. 4th ed. S. R. Gross et al, co-authors. American Casebook Series. St. Paul, Minn.: West, 2011.

"The Inevitability of Theory." Cal. L. Rev. 98, no. 3 (2010): 877-906.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw

"The Significance of Statistical Significance: Two Authors Restate an Incontrovertible Caution. Why a Book?" Review of The Cult of Statistical Significance: How the Standard Error Costs Us Jobs, Justice, and Lives, by S. T. Ziliak and D. N. McCloskey. Law & Soc. Inquiry 34, no. 1 (2009): 225-49.
Full text: SSRN | BePress | Westlaw

"Low Probability / High Consequence Events: Dilemmas of Damage Compensation." DePaul L. Rev. 58, no. 2 (2009): 357-91.
Full text: SSRN | BePress | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw
Michigan Law Wordmark Print View