David M. Engel


SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus

Research Focus: Torts, Law and Society, Rights Consciousness, Asian Legal Cultures, Legal Ethnography
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David M. Engel studies law and society in the United States and in other countries, particularly Thailand, where he has lived, worked and taught for many years.  A former President of the Law & Society Association, Engel received the LSA’s 2017 Harry S. Kalven Prize for “Outstanding Scholarship in Law and Society."  Engel is the recipient of an honorary doctorate of laws from Chiang Mai University, presented in 2011 by Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. He currently serves as co-director of TRIALS (Training Initiative for Law and Society Scholars), a series of workshops based at the National University of Singapore, funded by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.  He is also a founding co-editor of the Asian Journal of Law and Society (Cambridge University Press).  

Engel has published numerous books and articles about Asian and American legal cultures as well as the effects of American civil rights legislation on men and women with disabilities. His book, The Myth of the Litigious Society: Why We Don’t Sue (University of Chicago Press 2016), explains why, contrary to conventional wisdom, most American injury victims never lodge a claim against their injurers. With Lynette Chua and Sida Liu, he is currently completing The Asian Law and Society Reader, the first edited collection of law and society scholarship based on research conducted in the various countries of Asia, scheduled for publication by Cambridge University Press in 2022.