Letters


Spring 2006, Vol. 14, No. 2 (requires Adobe Acrobat)

Professor Marc Galanter to Speak

On February 21, 2006, at 3:00 p.m. Mark Galanter, John and Rylla Bosshard Professor of Law and Professor of South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and LSE Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, will present a lecture entitled “Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture.” The lecture, co-sponsored by the Warren Center and the Vanderbilt University Law School, will be held in the Law School’s Moore Room.

Professor Galanter’s latest book Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), is an exploration into lawyer jokes, which have become increasingly popular in the United States during the last twenty years. Galanter analyzes hundreds of jokes from Mark Twain classics to contemporary anecdotes about Dan Quayle, Johnnie Cochran, and Kenneth Starr. Drawing on representations of law and lawyers in the mass media, political discourse, and public opinion surveys, Galanter finds that the increasing reliance on law has coexisted uneasily with anxiety about the “legalization” of society. His book explores the tensions between Americans’ deep-seated belief in the law and their ambivalence about lawyers. Professor Galanter is also the author of a number of highly regarded and seminal studies of litigation and disputation in the United States (including “Why the ‘Haves’ Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change,” one of the most-cited articles in the legal literature). His work includes pioneering studies on the impact of disputant capabilities in adjudication, the relation of public legal institutions to informal regulation, and patterns of litigation in the United States. Much of his early work was on India, and he is recognized as a leading American student of the Indian legal system.

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