James Lindgren is a professor of law at Northwestern University. Born in 1952 in Rockford, Illinois, Lindgren graduated from Yale College (1974, cum laude) and the University of Chicago Law School (1977), where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 2009.
After two years of private practice in estate planning and litigation in Chicago, Lindgren became a Project Director at the American Bar Foundation, a think tank specializing in Law & Society. Before coming to the Northwestern faculty in 1996, Lindgren taught at several law schools, including the Universities of Connecticut, Virginia, Texas, and Chicago, and Chicago Kent College of Law. Lindgren has published in most major law reviews, including the Yale Law Journal and the Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, California, Northwestern, Georgetown, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Chicago Law Reviews.
Lindgren’s work spans a broad range of fields, though the majority of his recent work involves empirical research, public opinion, viewpoint diversity, estates, probate, aging, or retirement. Lindgren is a co-editor of Wills, Trusts, & Estates (Aspen), the leading textbook in that field. His articles, Counting Guns in Early America and Fall from Grace, both of which involve detailed analyses of the physical culture of early America as revealed in probate records, are among the most downloaded law review articles ever published. His historical and doctrinal work on extortion was adopted by the Supreme Court in United States v. Evans (1992), which held that bribery behavior could be punished as extortion under the federal Hobbs Act. Lindgren is a cofounder of the Section on Scholarship of the Association of American Law Schools and a former chair of its Section on Social Science and the Law.
Lindgren was a leading critic and investigator of charges of scholarly impropriety against pro-gun-control scholar Michael Bellesiles, who eventually resigned and had his Bancroft Prize rescinded. Later he investigated charges about a single-sentence claim in anti-gun-control scholar John Lott's book, More Guns, Less Crime, concluding that Lott's behavior was "troubling".
- Northwestern website
- Fall From Grace: Arming America and the Bellesiles Scandal, Yale Law Journal (2002) − the final version of the 56-page review documenting problems with Arming America, at SSRN
- Counting Guns in Early America, Wm. & Mary Law Review (2002) at SSRN
- The Volokh Conspiracy, a group weblog to which Lindgren contributes