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The study of law and science.

Used primarily in academia to mean a strictly empirical approach to the law, the term jurimetrics originated in the 1960s as the use of computers in law practice began to revolutionize the areas of legal research, evidence analysis, and data management. A neologism whose roots suggest jurisprudence and measurement, it was popularized by the American Bar Association (ABA), whose quarterly Jurimetrics Journal of Law, Science, and Technology is a widely respected publication with an international focus.

Although the effect of science on law has a long history, modern developments date only to the second half of the twentieth century. Precipitating the rise of the contemporary legal practice—which relies heavily on computers to research relevant law and, in some cases, to analyze evidence—was an emphasis on logical reasoning. Leading the way in this area was the ABA, which in 1959 began publishing in its journal Modern Uses of Logic in Law papers arguing in favor of applying a strict, systematic approach to the law. The advent of more powerful and affordable computers allowed symbolic logic (the use of formulas to express logical problems) to be applied on a more practical scale. As the possibilities inherent in rapid data retrieval caused a burst of research during the mid-1960s, the ABA renamed the journal Jurimetrics.

Published by the ABA's Section of Law and Technology, Jurimetrics examines a wide range of interrelated scientific and legal topics. The journal's articles cover the influence on law of the so-called hard sciences as well as the social sciences, disciplines such as engineering and communications, methodologies such as symbolic logic and statistics, and the use of technology in law practice, legislation, and adjudication. Thus, article topics range from the state of the art in dna evidence to experimental research on jury decision making. Also concerned with the regulation of science and technology, Jurimetrics examines cutting edge issues such as electronic security and copyright law in the age of the Internet.

Further Readings

American Bar Association. 1995. "Information for Authors." Jurimetrics Journal 35 (Spring).

"Computer Power and Legal Reasoning." 1986. American Bar Association Law Practice Management (September).

Jacob, Bernard E. "Ancient Rhetoric, Modern Legal Thought, and Politics: A Review Essay on the Translation of Viehweg's 'Topics and Law'." 1995. Northwestern University Law Review 89 (summer).

"Scientific Evidence Symposium: Jurisprudence or 'Juriscience'?" 1984. William and Mary Law Review (summer).

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