W. Laurens Walker

  • T. Munford Boyd Professor of Law Emeritus

Laurens Walker joined the Virginia faculty in 1978 and retired in 2011. He taught civil procedure, complex civil litigation and a seminar on using expert information within the legal system. Walker’s early empirical research on procedural justice (with John Thibaut) has been studied and replicated by scholars in law and psychology in the United States and abroad. Walker’s casebook (with John Monahan) “Social Science in Law,” now in its seventh edition, is used in this country and abroad both as a textbook and reference concerning judicial use of social research.

In 1984, Walker was appointed T. Munford Boyd Professor of Law. Walker also held the Class of 1963 Research Professorship from 1990-92. From 1995-98 Walker was Hunton & Williams Research Professor and from 2000-03 was John V. Ray Research Professor. His latest research (with John Monahan) has focused on the use of social research techniques, chiefly “sampling” to bring complex civil cases to trial and judgment, and he proposed a model plan for jury trial in federal class action cases. In 1988 he was given the Biennial Distinguished Contributions Award from the American Psychology-Law Society for his social scientific studies of the legal process.

Following law school, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif, and service in the U.S. Army, Walker practiced with the Atlanta firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan. Later he was counsel to the Atlanta firm of Long, Aldridge & Norman and the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. He came to Virginia from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he had been Paul B. Eaton Professor.

Scholarship Profile: Improving Legal Procedures Through Social Science (Virginia Journal 2004)

Walker Retires After Making Mark in Procedural Justice, Courtroom Use of Social Science


  • S.J.D.
    Harvard Law School
  • J.D.
    Duke University School of Law
  • A.B.
    Davidson College

Social Science in Law: Cases and Materials (with John Monahan) (Foundation Press, 1985; 2d ed. 1990; 3d ed. 1994; 4th ed. 1998; 5th ed. 2002; 6th ed. 2006; 7th ed. 2010; 8th ed. 2014; 9th ed. 2018).

An Introduction to Social Science in Law (with John Monahan) (Foundation Press, 2006).

Procedural Justice: A Psychological Analysis (with J. Thibaut) (L. Erlbaum Associates, 1975).

Book Chapters:

"Foreword" in J. Levi & A. Walker eds., Language in the Judicial Process vii (Plenum Press 1990).

“Psychological Studies of Procedural Models” (with E. Allan Lind), in G. Stephenson & J. Davis, eds., Progress in Applied Social Psychology 2 (1984).

"Procedural Theory and Empirical Research" (with E. Allan Lind), in G.Roth, ed., Rechtssoziologie und Prozessrecht 245 (Orac, 1983).


“The ASA’s Missed Opportunity to Promote Sound Science in Court” (with Gregory Mitchell and John Monahan), 40 Soc. Methods & Res. 605 (2011).

“Beyond Context: Social Facts as Case-Specific Evidence” (with Gregory Mitchell and John Monahan), 60 Emory L.J. 1109 (2011).
SSRN | HeinOnline (PDF)

“Case-Specific Sociological Inference: Metanorms for Expert Opinions” (with Gregory Mitchell and John Monahan), 40 Soc. Methods & Res. 668 (2011).

“Twenty-Five Years of Social Science in Law” (with John Monahan), 35 Law & Hum. Behav. 72 (2011).

“The Limits of Social Framework Evidence” (with John Monahan and Gregory Mitchell), 8 Law, Probability & Risk 307 (2009).

“The Consumer Class Action Bill of Rights: A Policy and Political Mistake,” 58 Hastings L.J. 849 (2007).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Sampling Evidence at the Crossroads” (with John Monahan), 80 S. Cal. L. Rev. 969 (2007).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“A judges’ guide to using social science,” (with J. Monahan) Court Review, 43, 156-163 (2007).

“The Other Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” 25 Rev. Litig. 79 (2006).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“A Model Plan to Resolve Federal Class Action Cases By Jury Trial,” 88 Va. L. Rev. 405 (2002).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Stay Seen Around the World: The Order that Stopped the Vote Recounting in Bush v. Gore,” 18 J.L. & Pol. 823 (2002).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Environmental Citizen Suits: Standing and Mootness After Laidlaw," 19 Va. Envtl. L. J. 393 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Scientific Authority: The Breast Implant Litigation and Beyond" (with John Monahan), 86 Va. L. Rev. 801 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Sampling Damages" (with John Monahan), 83 Iowa L. Rev. 545 (1998), reprinted in part in R. Klonoff & E. Bilich, Class Actions 822 (2000).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Sampling Liability" (with John Monahan), 85 Va. L. Rev. 329 (1999).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The End of the New Deal and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," 82 Iowa L. Rev. 1269 (1997).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Daubert and the Reference Manual: An Essay on the Future of Science in Law" (with John Monahan), 82 Va. L. Rev. 837 (1996).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Writings on the Margin of American Law: Committee Notes, Comments, and Commentary," 29 Ga. L. Rev. 993 (1995).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Avoiding Surprise from Federal Civil Rule Making: The Role of Economic Analysis," 23 J. Legal Stud. 569 (1994).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"A Comprehensive Reform for Federal Civil Rulemaking," 61 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 455 (1993).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Judicial Use of Social Science Research" (with John Monahan), 15 Law & Hum. Behav. 571 (1991), revised version printed in 2 Shepard's Expert & Sci. Evid. Q. 327 (1994).

"Empirical Questions without Empirical Answers" (with John Monahan) Wis. L. Rev. 569 (1991).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Perfecting Federal Civil Rules: A Proposal for Restricted Field Experiments," Law & Contemp. Probs., Summer 1988, at 67-85.
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Social Facts: Scientific Methodology as Legal Precedent" (with John Monahan), 76 Cal. L. Rev. 877 (1988).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Social Science Research in Law: A New Paradigm" (with John Monahan), 43 Am. Psychol. 465 (1988), reprinted in Law and Psychology 3 (M. L. Levine ed. 1995).

"Social Frameworks: A New Use of Social Science in Law" (with John Monahan), 73 Va. L. Rev. 559 (1987).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Social Authority: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Establishing Social Science in Law" (with John Monahan), 134 U. Pa. L. Rev. 477 (1986).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Teaching Social Science in Law: An Alternative to 'Law and Society'" (with John Monahan), 35 J. Legal Educ. 478 (1985).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Procedure and Outcome Effects on Reactions to Ajudicated Resolution of Conflicts of Interest" (with others), 39 J. Personality & Soc. Psychol. 643 (1980).

"Efficient Procedure" (with Michael Lea), 57 NC L. Rev. 361 (1979).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"The Relation Between Procedural and Distributive Justice" (with E. Allan Lind & John Thibaut), 65 Va. L. Rev. 1401 (1979).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Theory Testing, Theory Development, and Laboratory Research on Legal Issues" (with E. Allan Lind & John Thibaut), 3 Law & Hum. Behav. 5 (1979).

"A Theory of Procedure" (with John Thibaut), 66 Cal. L. Rev. 541 (1978); reprinted in Procedure 541 (D. J. Galligan ed., 1992), reprinted in Law and Psychology 369 (M. L. Levine ed. 1995).
HeinOnline (PDF)

"Preference for Modes of Dispute Resolution as a Function of Process and Decision Control" (with others), 14 J. Experimental Soc. Psychol. 13 (1978).

“After the Clinic What?” (with Goldstein), 27 J. Legal Educ. 614 (1976).

“A Cross-cultural Comparison of the Effect of Adversary and Inquisitorial Processes on Bias in Legal Decision-making” (with Lind & Thibaut), 62 Va. L. Rev. 271 (1976).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Procedure: Transnational Perspectives and Preferences” (with LaTour, Houlden, & Thibaut), 86 Yale L. J. 285 (1976).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Some Determinants of Preference for Modes of Conflict Resolution” (with LaTour, Houlden, & Thibaut), 20 J. Conflict Resolution 319 (1976).

“Compliance with Rules: Some Social Determinants” (with Thibaut & Friedland), 30 J. Personality & Soc. Psychol. 792 (1974).

“Foreword, Developments in law and Social Sciences Research” 52 N.C. L. Rev. 1271 (1974).

“The Functions of a Third Party in the Resolution of Conflict: The Role of a Judge in Pretrial Conferences” (with others), 30 J. Personality & Soc. Psychol. 293 (1974).

“Procedural Justice as Fairness” (with Thibaut, LaTour & Houlden), 26 Stan. L. Rev. 1271 (1974).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Reactions of Participants and Observers to Modes of Adjudication” (with LaTour, Lind & Thibaut), 4 J. Applied Soc. Psychol. 296 (1974).

“Discovery and Presentation of Evidence in Adversary and Nonadversary Proceedings” (with Lind & Thibaut), 71 Mich. L. Rev. 1129 (1973).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Some Determinants of the Violation of Rules” (with Friedland & Thibaut), 3 Journal of Applied Social Psychology 103 (1973).

“Adversary Presentation and Bias in Legal Decisionmaking” (with Thibaut & Lind), 86 Harv. L. Rev. 386 (1972).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“An Experimental Examination of Pretrial Conference Techniques” (with Thibaut), 55 Minn. L. Rev. 386 (1970).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Order of Presentation at Trial” (with Thibaut & Andreoli), 82 Yale L. J. 216 (1972).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Foreign Corporation Laws: A Current Account” 47 N.C. L. Rev. 733 (1968).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Foreign Corporation Laws: Re-examining Woods v. Interstate Realty Co. and Reopening the Federal Courts” 47 N.C. L. Rev. 56 (1968).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Foreign Corporation laws: Source and Support for Reform” Duke L. J. 1145 (1969).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“Foreign Corporation Laws: The Loss of Reason” 47 N.C. L. Rev. 1 (1968). Reprinted in 11 Corporate Practice Commentator 55 (1969).
HeinOnline (PDF)


Statement in Court-Ordered School Busing 357-360, 397-403. U.S. Congress. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Hearings, May 22-Oct. 16, 1981.

Book Reviews:

"A Useful Assessment" (reviewing Lieberman, ed., The Role of Courts in American Society), 69 Judicature 55 (1985).

"Contemporary Civil Procedure" (reviewing Carrington & Babcock, Civil Procedure), 30 Stan. L. Rev. 271 (1977).

Current Courses

No courses were found for this instructor.

All Courses

Civil Procedure
Complex Civil Litigation
Environmental Liability Litigation (seminar)
Federal Courts
Seminars in Ethical Values

Faculty in the News