Michael J. Saks

Michael Saks


Professor of Law

Biographical Information

Michael J. Saks was a visiting professor at the University of Iowa College of Law from 1986 to 1988. In 1988, Professor Saks became a full Professor of Law, and starting in 1992, he held a secondary appointment in the department of psychology. Professor Saks was the Edward F. Howrey Professor of Law from 1998 to 2000.  Professor Saks’ primary area of expertise is in the Law and Social Science field. He has authored over 200 articles and book chapters, and is the co-editor of the book series, Modern Scientific Evidence. Professor Saks holds a B.A. and a B.S. from Pennsylvania State University, a M.S.L. from Yale Law School, and a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Ohio State University.



Michael J. Saks, with David L. Faigman, David H. Kaye, and Joseph Sanders. Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1997, vol I - xxxvi.
Michael J. Saks, with Edward Krupat. Social Psychology and Its Applications. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.
Michael J. Saks, with Leonard Saxe. Advances in Applied Social Psychology, volume 3. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1986.
Michael J. Saks with Reid Hastie. Social Psychology in Court. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1978; reprinted Malabar, FL: Robert E. Krieger Pub. Co., 1986.
Michael J. Saks. Jury Verdicts: The Role of Group Size and Social Decision Rule. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath, 1977.

Book Chapters

Michael J. Saks, "Scientific Method: The Logic of Drawing Inferences from Empirical Evidence," in Modern Scientific Evidence: The Law and Science of Expert Testimony, edited by David L. Faigman, David H. Kaye, Joseph Sander and Michael J. Saks. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1997, volume 1 at 46.
Michael J. Saks, "Is It Possible to Legislate Morality? Encouraging Psychological Contributions to Problems of Research Ethics," with G.Melton, in Research Ethics: A Psychological Approach, edited by Barbara Stanley, Joan F. Sieber and Gary B. Melton. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1996, at 225.
Michael J. Saks. "Normative and Empirical Issues About the Role of Expert Witnesses," in Handbook of Psychology and Law, edited by D.K. Kagehiro and William S. Laufer. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1992, at 185.
Michael J. Saks, "Legal Responses to Allegations of Scientific Misconduct," with R. P. Charrow, in Research Fraud in the Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences, edited by David J. Miller and Michael Hersen. New York: Wiley, 1992, at 34.
Michael J. Saks, "Opportunities Lost: The Theory and the Practice of Using Developmental Knowledge in the Adversary Trial," in Reforming the Law: Impact of Child Development Research, edited by George B. Melton. New York: Guilford, 1987, at 179.
Michael J. Saks, "The Law as an Instrument of Socialization and Social Structure," with Gary B. Melton, in The Law as a Behavioral Instrument: Nebraska Symposium on Motivation 1985, edited by Gary B. Melton. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1986, at 235.
Michael J. Saks, "Social Psychology in Court: The Judge," in Judgment and Decision Making: An Interdisciplinary Reader, edited by Hal R. Arkes and Kenneth R. Hammond. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Michael J. Saks, “The Impact of Information: Data as Evidence,” in The Impact of Social Psychology on Procedural Justice, edited by Martin F. Kaplan. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, 1986, at 194.


Michael J. Saks, "Be Careful What You Wish For: The Effects of Bifurcating Claims for Punitive Damages in Product Liability Cases," with Stephan Landsman, Shari Diamond, and Linda Dimitropoulos, 1998 Wisconsin Law Review 297, 46 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "What Do Jury Experiments Tell Us About How Juries (Should) Make Decisions?" 6 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 1 (1997), 53 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Jury Size," with Mollie Weighner Marti, 21 Law and Human Behavior 451 (1997), 17 pages.
Michael J. Sak, "Reducing Variability in Civil Jury Awards," with Lisa A. Hollinger, Roselle L. Wissler, David L. Evans, and Allen J. Hart, 21 Law and Human Behavior 243 (1997), 14 pages.
Michael J. Sak, "Injuries, Prior Beliefs, and Damage Awards," with Allen J. Hart, David L. Evans, Roselle L. Wissler, and Jason W. Feehan, 15 Behavioral Sciences & The Law 63 (1997), 20 pages.
Michal J. Saks, "Explaining 'Pain and Suffering' Awards: The Role of Injury Characteristics and Fault Attributions," with Roselle L. Wissler, David L. Evans, Allen J. Hart, and Marian M. Morry, 21 Law and Human Behavior 181 (1997), 27 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Science and Nonscience In the Courts: Daubert Meets Handwriting Identification Expertise," with D. Michael Risinger, 82 Iowa Law Review 21 (1996), 54 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "The Transplant Paradox: Overwhelming Public Support for Organ Donation vs. Under-Supply of Organs: The Iowa Organ Procurement Study," with Sheldon F. Kurtz, 21 Journal of Corporation Law 767 (1996), 39 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "The Smaller the Jury, the Greater the Unpredictability," 79 Judicature 263 (1996), 3 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "The Role of Research in Implementing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child," 51 American Psychologist 1262 (1996), 5 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Is There a Growing Gap among Law, Law Practice, and Legal Scholarship? A Systematic Comparison of Law Review Articles One Generation Apart," with Carol J. Hodne and Howard Larsen, 30 Suffolk University Law Review 353 (1996), 25 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "The Implications of Daubert for Forensic Identification Science," 1 Shepard's Expert and Scientific Evidence Quarterly 427 (1994), 8 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Check Your Crystal Ball at the Courthouse Door, Please: Exploring the Past, Understanding the Present, and Worrying about the Future of Scientific Evidence," with David L. Faigman and Elise Porter, 15 Cardozo Law Review 1799 (1994), 37 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Malpractice Misconceptions and Other Lessons about the Litigation System," 16 Justice System Journal 7 (1993), 13 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Judicial Nullification," 68 Indiana Law Journal 1281 (1993), 15 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Improving APA Science Translation Amicus Briefs," 17 Law and Human Behavior 235 (1993), 18 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Justice Improved: The Unrecognized Benefits of Aggregation and Sampling in the Trial of Mass Torts," with Peter D. Blanck, 44 Stanford Law Review 815 (1992), 37 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Do We Really Know Anything About the Behavior of the Tort Litigation System--and Why Not?" 140 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1147 (1992), 146 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Obedience vs. Disobedience to Legitimate vs. Illegitimate Authorities Issuing Good vs. Evil Directives," 3 Psychological Science 221 (1992), 3 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "What DNA 'Fingerprinting' Can Teach the Law About the Rest of Forensic Science," with Jonathan Koehler, 13 Cardozo Law Review 361 (1991), 12 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Psychology's Influence on Constitutional Interpretation: A Comment on How to Succeed," with Thomas Grisso, 15 Law and Human Behavior 205 (1991), 7 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Turning Practice into Progress: Better Lawyering through Experimentation," 66 Notre Dame Law Review 801 (1991), 12 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Judicial Attention to the Way the World Works," 75 Iowa Law Review 1011 (1990), 21 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Expert Witnesses, Non-Expert Witnesses, and Non-Witness Experts," 14 Law & Human Behavior 291 (1990), 23 pages. A partial reprint was published as "The Ambiguous Role of the Expert Witness and the Nonwitness Expert," 16(2) Family Law News 1 (1993), 7 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Exorcism of Ignorance as a Proxy for Rational Knowledge: The Case of Handwriting Identification 'Expertise,'" with D. Michael Risinger and Mark P. Denbeaux, 137 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 731 (1989), 62 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Prevalence and Impact of Ethical Problems in Forensic Science," 34 Journal of Forensic Sciences 772 (1989), 22 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Legal Policy Analysis and Evaluation," 44 American Psychologist 1110 (1989), 18 pages; reprinted in Psychology and Public Policy: Balancing Public Service and Professional Need, edited by Raymond P.Lorion, et al. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1996, at 81.
Michael J. Saks, "A Census of Subject Pool Characteristics and Policies," with Joan E. Sieber, 44 American Psychologist 1053 (1989), 9 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Enhancing and Restraining Accuracy in Adjudication," 51 Law and Contemporary Problems 243 (1988), 37 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Accuracy v. Advocacy: Expert Testimony Before the Bench," 90 Technology Review 42 (August/September 1987), 8 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "The Regulation of Professional Behavior: Electroconvulsive Therapy in Massachusetts," with Alice R. Benedict, 15 Journal of Psychiatry & Law 247 (1987), 29 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Psychologists as Law Professors," with Gary B. Melton and John Monahan, 42 American Psychologist 502 (1987), 8 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "In Search of the 'Lawsuit Crisis,'" 14 Law, Medicine & Health Care 77 (1986), 4 pages; reprinted in 4 CTLA Forum [Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association] 31 (Nov-Dec 1986).
Michael J. Saks, "If There Be a Crisis, How Shall We Know It?," 46 Maryland Law Review 63 (1986), 15 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Social Psychology of Decision-Making in the Criminal Justice System," 6 Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice 61 (1986), 32 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Report of the Task Force on Psychology and Public Policy," with N.D. Reppucci, P. Kimmel, S.J. Korchin, E. Seidman, I. Serrano-Garcia, I. and S.S. Tangri, 41 American Psychologist 914 (1986), 8 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "On the Inefficacy of Limiting Instructions: When Jurors Use Prior Conviction Evidence to Decide on Guilt," with Roselle L. Wissler, 9 Law & Human Behavior 37 (1985), 12 pages; reprinted in Instructions, Verdicts, and Judicial Behavior, edited by Robert M. Krivoshey. New York: Garland Publishing, 1994.
Michael J. Saks, "Human Information Processing and Adjudication: Trial by Heuristics," with Robert F. Kidd, 15 Law and Society Review 123 (1981), 38 pages; reprinted in Judgment and Decision Making: An Interdisciplinary Reader, edited by Hal R. Arkes and Kenneth R. Hammond. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986, at 213, 37 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Social Psychological Contributions to a Legislative Subcommittee on Organ and Tissue Transplants," 33 American Psychologist 680 (1978), 11 pages; reprinted in Policy Studies Review Annual, Volume 4, edited by B. Raven. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1980, at 595; a version published as "Social Psychological Perspectives on the Problem of Consent," in Children's Competence to Consent, edited by Gary B. Melton, Gerald P. Koocher, and Michael J. Saks. New York: Plenum, 1983, at 41, 12 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "An Integration Theory Analysis of Jurors' Presumptions," with Thomas M. Ostrom and Carol M. Werner, 36 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 436 (1978), 15 pages; reprinted in Juries: Formation and Behavior, edited by Robert M. Krivoshey. New York: Garland Publishing, 1994, at 144.
Michael J. Saks, "The Limits of Scientific Jury Selection: Ethical and Empirical," 17 Jurimetrics Journal 3 (1976), 21 pages. A version was published as "Social Scientists Can't Rig Juries," 9 Psychology Today 48 (January 1976); reprinted in Annual Editions: Readings in Criminal Justice 77/78. Guilford, CT: Dushkin Publishing Group, 1977, at 122, 6 pages, and in Juries: Formation and Behavior, edited by Robert M. Krivoshey. New York: Garland Publishing, 1994, at 303.

Book Reviews

Michael J. Saks, "The Phantom of the Courthouse," review of Court-Appointed Experts: Defining the Role of Experts Under Federal Rule of Evidence 706, by Joe S. Cecil and Thomas E. Willging. 35 Jurimetrics Journal 233 (1995).
Michael J. Saks, Review of The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom, by Stephen J. Adler, and of We, the Jury: The Jury System and the Ideal of Democracy, by Jeffrey Abramson. 6 Bimonthly Review of Law Books 1 (1995), 5 pages
Michael J. Saks, Review of Verdict: Assessing the Civil Jury System, by Robert E. Litan. 77 Judicature 225 (1994), 2 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Medical Malpractice: Facing Real Problems and Finding Real Solutions," review of A Measure of Malpractice: Medical Injury, Malpractice Litigation, and Patient Compensation, by Paul C. Weiler. 35 William and Mary Law Review 693 (1994), 34 pages.
Michael J. Saks, Review of If I Were a Rich Man, Could I Buy a Pancreas? and other Essays on the Ethics of Health Care, by Arthur L. Caplan. 3 Ethics & Behavior 207 (1993).
Michael J. Saks, "Flying Blind in the Courtroom: Trying Cases Without Knowing What Works or Why," review of Sponsorship Strategy: Evidentiary Tactics for Winning Jury Trials, by Robert H. Klonoff and Paul L. Colby. 101 Yale Law Journal 1177 (1992), 15 pages.
Michael J. Saks, “Uncovering the Secrets of the Common Law,” review of Legal Secrets: Equality and Efficiency in the Common Law, by Kim Lane Scheppele. 24 Law & Society Review 1277 (1990), 17 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "The Courts Discover Criminology and Vice Versa," review of Expert Witnesses: Criminologists in the Courtroom, by Patrick R. Anderson and Latham T. Winfree. 34 Contemporary Psychology 177 (1989), 2 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Blaming the Jury," review of Judging the Jury, by Valerie P. Hans and Neil Vidmar. 75 Georgetown Law Journal 693 (1987), 19 pages.
Michael J. Saks, "Trials and Tabulations," review of Statistics and the Law, edited by Morris H. DeGroot, Stephen E. Fienberg and Joseph B. Kadane. 236 Science 980 (1987), 2 pages.


Michael J. Saks, Adolescent Health Care Decision Making: The Law and Public Policy, with Josephine Gittler and Mary Quigley-Rick. Background Paper for Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development (1990), 142 pages; a summary was published as "Chapter 17: Consent and Confidentiality in Adolescent Health Care Decisions," in Adolescent Health: Volume 3--Cross Cutting Issues in the Delivery of Health and Related Services. Washington, D.C.: U.S.G.P.O, 1992, at 123, 37 pages.

Statutory Drafting

Michael J. Saks, "Cadaveric Organ Donor Act; Living Organ Donor Act. (Drafts and Accompanying Reports on a Proposed Federal Law)," with Sheldon F. Kurtz. 18 Journal of Corporation Law 523 (1993), 96 pages.
Michael J. Saks, “Model Aid-in-Dying Act,” drafted by 16 students supervised by Michael J. Saks and Sheldon F. Kurtz. 75 Iowa Law Review 125 (1989), 90 pages.