New Legal Realism (NLR) is an emerging school of thought in American legal philosophy. The chapters highlight a contrast with the current trend in empirical jurisprudence and use a variety of theoretically sound methods for understanding the law and solving legal problems. They examine an impressive array of contemporary issues such as immigration, policing, globalization, legal education, and access to justice, and conclude with an examination of the intersection of different social science disciplines with NRN. This introductory chapter shows the special qualities of New Legal Realism (NLR), captures where it is around its fifteenth anniversary and explains the purpose of the larger book. In this way, we demonstrate the fruitful pursuit of the legal-realist adventure through NRN, which transcends historical and national borders to form new international conversations strongly based on legal and social networks and traditions. In addition, we present a contrast with empirical legal studies, since the NLR project, which is clearly visible in this volume, does not only use quantitative methods to examine lawyers and legal institutions as they have been traditionally seen. Instead, it includes chapters written by social scientists and law professors who use social science theory and multiple methods to understand the law and address legal issues — in an impressive variety of fields such as immigration, policing, globalization, legal education, and access to justice. Finally, it offers a series of chapters written by researchers – from various legal and social disciplines – that explain what certain disciplinary approaches offer to the process of translating law and empirical research. Overall, this volume highlights the powerful virtues of new realist legal research as well as the appreciation and awareness of the challenges of translation between the social sciences and law. New legal realists use empirical methods to examine discrimination, judicial decision-making, global law, and other issues (see “Further reading” below).
In the United States, several aspects of the new legal realism have been identified.   In particular, a dominant strand of the New Legal Realist`s American literature calls for a “bottom-up” approach in which scholars pay attention to local law, in everyday life, and use both qualitative and quantitative methods. In 2005, Erlanger et al. called for both bottom-up and top-down empirical research.  Early symposia in American New Legal Realism demonstrated their “bottom-up” approach by presenting concrete examples of this type of research in areas such as discrimination law and its impact on real life, globalization, and legal law and practice. In contrast, another component takes an exclusively “top-down” approach, focusing on courts and judicial opinions, usually using quantitative methods. Scandinavian scholars are also returning to an interest in legal realism, drawing on their own earlier legal realist tradition.  In May 2012, the first European conference on the new legal realism took place in Copenhagen, attended by an international group of researchers from various disciplines. The conference was organized by Jakob V. H.
Holtermann, Mikael Rask Madsen and Henrik Palmer Olsen. In 2014, the 10th anniversary conference of the U.S. NLR was held at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Further information on the volume can be found at: www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/research-handbook-on-modern-legal-realism-9781788117760.html Incorporating global perspectives, the Research Handbook on Modern Legal Realism will be a key resource for scholars and students of legal theory and social law studies. It highlights the best approaches to combine social science considerations with expert views on legal doctrines and will also be of interest to practitioners and policy makers in areas such as criminal and family law. Also in 1997, political scientist Frank Cross published an article entitled “Political Science and the New Legal Realism”  and the legal philosopher Brian Tamanaha wrote a book on pragmatism and “realist socio-legal theory” . Tamanaha is interested in introducing the philosophical foundations of pragmatic theory into social law research. Since 1997, there have been numerous events and publications on the theme of the new legal realism. After the first NRN conference in 2004, subsequent NRN conferences focused on methodology, the relationship between empirical research and legal theory, legal approaches to poverty and land ownership, the legal treatment of gender issues in employment, and legal interpretation.
The NLR Fellowship has been presented in panels at the annual meetings of the Association of American Law Schools and the Law & Society Association. NLR researchers have been actively involved in the formation of a collaborative research network supported by the Association Droit et Société, focusing on “realistic and empirical legal methods”. This article was submitted (remotely) to Magna Græcia University, University of Catanzaro. The article focuses on four themes (some suggested by Professor Massimo La Torre) related to American legal realism: (1) Brian Leiter`s arguments about legal realism and contemporary jurisprudence: (a) that American legal realists were best understood as philosophical naturalists; and (b) that the analytic philosophy of law should also be completely naturalistic. I also briefly discuss Dan Priel`s alternative naturalistic approach. (2) The argument associated with Frederick Schauer, but also with other theorists (e.g. Kenneth Einar Himma), emphasizes coercion as the most important aspect of law (Schauer) or conceptually necessary for law (Himma). (3) A contemporary variant of legal realism, which its proponents call “New Legal Realism.” (4) Finally, I would like to say a few words about the widespread idea among American academics that “we are all legal realists now”. Prior to this conference, several different streams of new legal realist thinking emerged in the legal and social academic communities of the United States. In 1997, a group of scholars sponsored a panel entitled “Is It Time for a New Legal Realism?” at the 1997 Law and Society Association meetings in St. Louis, Missouri.
The panel attracted a large audience of socio-legal researchers who discussed issues associated with high-quality translations of qualitative and quantitative empirical research in the legal environment. A particular topic was the sometimes difficult relationship between academic traditions in the social sciences and in the law academy. This strand of new legal realist thinking led to the Madison Conference and the first joint publication of research by a peer-reviewed Law & Social Inquiry journal  and a student-edited law journal (Wisconsin Law Review).  Both publications examined issues such as poverty, globalization and discrimination from the combined perspective of law and the social sciences and focused on the development of better interdisciplinary translation methods. Although it draws on the old legal realism of the first half of the twentieth century, the new legal realism differs in many ways. In particular, it goes beyond the focus on the older domain to include judges, courts and formal legal systems.