Older man in suite with glasses and golden hair.

Robert L. Nelson


Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University; Director Emeritus and the MacCrate Research Chair, American Bar Foundation; Affiliate Faculty, HLS Center on the Legal Profession

Nelson is a leading figure in the sociology of law with a research focus on the legal profession and anti-discrimination law. He is the author or editor of 10 books, most recently Rights on Trial: How Workplace Discrimination Law Perpetuates Inequality (U of Chicago Press 2017), with Ellen Berrey and Laura Beth Nielsen and The Making of Lawyer Careers: Inequality and Opportunity in the American Legal Profession (U of Chicago Press forthcoming 2023) with several coauthors. He has held several significant administrative positions, including Director of the American Bar Foundation, Founding Director of the Center for Legal Studies, and Chair of the Department of Sociology. He has been recognized with a Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, membership in the Sociological Research Association, membership on the board of the General Social Survey, Chair of the Sociology of Law Section of the ASA, the Distinguished Publication Award of the ASA. He currently is directing the After the JD Study of Lawyer Careers.