The University Record, October 1, 2001

Richard O. Lempert—Distinguished University Professorship

Lempert (Photo by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)
For more than three decades, Richard O. Lempert, a pioneer in the field of law and society studies, has applied social scientific knowledge and methods in rigorous and innovative ways to legal issues. More recently, he has begun to shape scholarly discussions on ethical and social issues related to the life sciences as founding director of the Life Sciences, Values and Society Program.

Early in his career, Professor Lempert developed a course on evidence that became the foundation for his coursebook, A Modern Approach to Evidence (West Publishing Company 1977), which pioneered the problem-oriented approach that is now widespread in the teaching of evidence. A quarter century later, his book, its most recent edition co-authored with his Michigan colleague Sam Gross and James Liebman of Columbia Law School, remains the outstanding work of its kind. Professor Lempert’s scholarship, prized for the freshness of his ideas and the rigor of his analyses, has brought important insights to the study of juries, to studies of race and affirmative action, and to other subjects, including the forensic uses of DNA evidence, capital punishment, the use of social science testimony in litigation, and informal mechanisms of dispute resolution.

Professor Lempert, a Michigan faculty member since 1968, served as editor of the flagship journal Law & Society Review and as a former chair of the Department of Sociology. He also has served on three National Research Council panels and chaired its Committee on Research on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice. He is frequently invited to speak at international conferences.

Professor Lempert is a senior fellow of the University of Michigan Society of Fellows and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He also has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. In recognition of a lifetime of scholarly achievement, Professor Lempert received the Law and Society Association’s Kalven Prize.

For the breadth and vigor of his scholarship; the range of his theoretical and methodological contributions; and his commitment to professional service and to the fields of law and sociology, the University of Michigan proudly recognizes Richard O. Lempert as the Eric Stein Distinguished University Professor of Law and Sociology.