Professor Neil Vidmar, the Russell M. Robinson II Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Duke Law School, has been named the recipient of the Litigation Counsel of America's 2014 Justice Janie L. Shores Trailblazer Award. The award was presented to Professor Vidmar by LCA Fellow David G. Wirtes, Jr. of Cunningham Bounds, LLC at the LCA 2014 Fall Conference & Celebration of Fellows in New Orleans. "Professor Vidmar is a social psychologist by training, but his research and publications protecting the sanctity of American civil and criminal juries and their secret deliberations make him a modern day patriot who is at the very front of the vanguard defending our constitutionally guaranteed right to trial by jury" said Wirtes, during the award presentation.
Professor Vidmar's scholarly research involves the empirical study of law across a broad spectrum of topics in civil and criminal law. He also holds a cross appointment in Duke University's Department of Psychology. Professor Vidmar is a leading expert on jury behavior in both criminal and civil cases. He has extensively studied medical malpractice litigation, punitive damages, dispute resolution, and the social psychology of retribution and revenge. Professor Vidmar is also Research Director for the Law School's Center for Criminal Justice and Ethical Responsibility. In this position he has been involved in collaborative research on processes leading to wrongful convictions and he has drafted several amicus briefs bearing on racial prejudice in the administration of the death penalty in North Carolina. Professor Vidmar regularly teaches in all of these areas, offering classes and seminars on social science evidence in law, negotiation, medical malpractice litigation, the American jury, and ethics.
The Litigation Counsel of America's Justice Janie L. Shores Trailblazer Award is sponsored by the law firm of Cunningham Bounds, LLC in Mobile, Alabama. It is presented annually to a person whose lifetime achievements in the law serve as the beacon of high standards that all legal professionals should aspire to follow and who has demonstrated courage in the legal profession. Emphasis for selection is placed on efforts and acts within the legal profession that are cutting-edge in the advancement of justice. The award is named after Alabama's first elected female Supreme Court Justice, Janie L. Shores, whose progressive and timely positions on behalf of women and minorities in the Deep South reflect the spirit of the award.