Harvard Law School Assistant Professor Jed Shugerman has received the prestigious American Society for Legal History Cromwell Prize for his Ph.D. dissertation, “The People’s Courts: The Rise of Judicial Elections and Judicial Power in America.” The award was presented at the Society’s annual conference this past weekend.

Shugerman’s dissertation, which is also a forthcoming book to be published by Harvard University Press, examines the rise of judicial elections in the mid-19th century and the effect they had on democracy.

“Shugerman’s dissertation breathes new life into a neglected topic: judicial elections,” the Society’s citation reads. “Extraordinarily well researched, the dissertation explores why this uniquely American institution both shaped and reflected myriad changes in 19th century political, economic, and legal life. Ultimately, his impressive work invites new research on the relationship among modes of judicial selection, constitutional checks-and balances, and substantive legal rules.”

An expert on history and the American judicial system, Shugerman completed his doctoral studies in history at Yale University in 2008. He holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was senior editor of the Yale Law Journal, and a B.A. from Yale College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in history. His research has focused on judicial independence, the adoption of judicial elections in the U.S., and the effect of this system on tort law and constitutionalism. He will teach Torts and a workshop in legal history in the spring semester.