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 has received the LSA’s Harry S. Kalven Prize for “Outstanding Scholarship in Law and Society" and its Legacy Award for “Significant Contributions and Sustained Commitment.”  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 workshops series 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. 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. The Asian Law and Society Reader, (Cambridge University Press 2023, co-authored with Lynette Chua and Sida Liu) is the first collection of law and society scholarship based on research conducted in twenty different Asian countries, with extensive commentary by the editors.