Neil Vidmar

Neil Vidmar

Russell M. Robinson, II Professor Emeritus of Law

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois 1967

  • M.A., University of Illinois 1965

  • B.A., Macmurray College 1962


Neil 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.  A social psychologist by training, 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. 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.

In addition to over 200 articles and reports in law reviews and social science journals, Vidmar is the author, with Valerie P. Hans, of American Juries: The Verdict (Prometheus Books, 2007) and Judging the Jury (1986). His other books include Medical Malpractice and the American Jury: Confronting the Myths about Jury IncompetenceDeep Pockets and Outrageous Damage Awards (University of Michigan Press, 1995); and World Jury Systems (Oxford University Press, 2000).

Vidmar has frequently testified about jury prejudice and related issues in American criminal and civil trials. To take one example, he consulted with the defense and conducted research bearing on the trial of John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban.” He has also testified or consulted about juries in Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong, Additionally, he has made presentations before the United States Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and several state legislatures on issues relating to medical malpractice reform and on the nature of  damage awards. He has drafted amicus briefs on various criminal and civil justice issues for cases being litigated in the United States Supreme Court, the Canadian Supreme Court and a number of state supreme courts. He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and is an active member of the Law and Society Association, the American Psychology-Law Society and the Society for Empirical Legal Studies.

Professor Vidmar earned his MA and PhD in social psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1967. He joined the psychology faculty at the University of Western Ontario, in Canada, later that year. Subsequently, he spent a year as a Russell Sage Resident at Yale Law School (1973-74) after which he was a fellow at Battelle Seattle Research Center (1975-76). Vidmar also taught at the University of Western Ontario Law School (1981- 1990) and at  Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. Vidmar joined the Duke Law faculty in 1987

Vidmar, N, and Kritzer, H. "Lawyers on Trial: Juror Hostility to Defendants in Legal Malpractice Trials." Hofstra Law Review 44 (2015): 375-399.

Vidmar, N, and MacKillop, K. "Decision-Making in the Dark: How Pre-Trial Errors Change the Narrative in Criminal Jury Trials." Chicago-Kent Law Review 90.3 (2015): 957-980.

Vidmar, N. "Jurors Do Their Jobs Well." Judicature 99.2 (2015): 4-.

Vidmar, N, Liu, G, and Kritzer, H. "An Exploration of "Noneconomic" Damages in Civil Jury Awards." William & Mary Law Review (2014): 971-1027.

Newman, T, Coleman Jr., J, Vidmar, N, and Zoeller, E. "Don't I Know You?: The Effect of Prior Acquaintance/Familiarity on Witness Identification." Champion 36 (2012): 52-56.

Vidmar, N, Coleman Jr., J, Newman, T, and Zoeller, E. "Don't I Know You?: The Effect of Prior Acquaintance/Familiarity on Witness Identification." Champion 36 (2012): 52-56.

Vidmar, N, Holman, M, and Lee, P. "Most Claims Settle: Implications for Alternative Dispute Resolution from a Profile of Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida." Law & Contemporary Problems 73 (2011): 103-133.


Vidmar, N. "Media Impact on Trial by Jury." Media Coverage in Criminal Justice Cases: What Prosecutors and Defenders Can and Cannot Say. 2013. 197-242. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Lay Decision-Makers in the Legal Process." The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research. 2010. 625-651. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Comment: Juries and Testimony from Medical Experts." Professionalism in Medicine: The Case-Based Guide for Medical Students. 2009. 403-405. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Civil Juries in Ecological Context: Methodological Implications for Research." Civil Juries and Civil Justice: Psychological and Legal Perspectives. 2008. 35-65. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "When Jurors Talk About Their Verdict." Jury Ethics: Juror Conduct and Jury Dynamics. 2006. 237-245. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Trial By Jury Involving Persons Accused of Terrorism or Supporting Terrorism." Law and Psychology. 2006. 318-337. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N, and Hans, V. "Jurors and Juries." Blackwell Companion to Law and Society. 2004. 195-211. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Retributive Justice: Its Social Context." The Justice Motive in Everyday Life. 2002. 291-317. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Juries." Legal Systems of the World. 2002. (Chapter)

Vidmar, N. "Retribution and Revenge." Handbook of Justice Research in Law. 2001. 31-63. (Chapter)


Vidmar, N, and Hans, V. American Juries: The Verdict. Prometheus Books, 2007. (Monograph)

Vidmar, N, and Hans, V. Judging the Jury. Plenum Press, 2001. (Monograph)

Vidmar, N. World Jury Systems. Oxford University Press, 2000. (Edited Book)

Vidmar, N. Privacy and Two-Way Cable Television: A Study of Canadian Public Opinion. University of Western Ontario, 1983. (Monograph)

Vidmar, N, Bermant, G, and Nemeth, C. Psychology and the Law: Research Frontiers. Lexington Books, 1976. (Edited Book)

Vidmar, N, and McGrath, J. Role Assignment and Attitudinal Commitment as Factors in Negotiation. Defense Technical Information Center, 1965.

Vidmar, N. "Medical Malpractice Juries." Duke Law Magazine (1991): 8-.

Vidmar, N. "The Legal System as Social." Science 234 (1986): 93-. (Review)

Selected Grants

(95-1076) A Comparative Study of Juries and Pre-Trial Prejudice in England, Canada, and the United States awarded by Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation (Principal Investigator). 1995 to 1996