Hillel J. Bavli

Hillel Bavil

Full-time faculty

Assistant Professor of Law


Hillel J. Bavli is an Assistant Professor of Law at SMU Dedman School of Law.  His teaching and scholarship interests are in the fields of evidence, torts, complex litigation, law and economics, and empirical legal studies. He is particularly interested in applications of statistics to law, including the use of experimental and quantitative methods to evaluate law-related interventions and applications of probability theory, Bayesian analysis, sampling, and causal inference to analyze and improve the law.  Professor Bavli was recently appointed to serve as a legal and statistical expert on a NIST OSAC panel organized to review and improve proposed standards related to DNA testimony.
An experienced litigation attorney, Professor Bavli has practiced in the fields of complex commercial litigation, antitrust law, and criminal law, most recently at the firms Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.  Prior to joining SMU’s faculty, he also designed and taught a seminar course on the economic analysis of law in the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He received numerous awards for distinction in teaching for the course.
Professor Bavli received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and his Ph.D. in Statistics in Law and Government from Harvard University.  He also holds an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, an A.M. in Statistics from Harvard University, and a B.A. in Economics from Boston University.  He completed a Fulbright Fellowship studying game theory in Jerusalem, Israel, as well as short-term clerkships at the Supreme Court of India and the Supreme Court of Rwanda.  He also held a visiting fellowship at the Yale Law School Center for Private Law, and he is an affiliate of the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science.

Areas of Expertise

  • Evidence
  • Torts
  • Procedure
  • Law and Statistics
  • Law and Economics


B.A. (Economics), Boston University
J.D., Fordham University School of Law
LL.M., Harvard Law School
A.M. (Statistics), Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Ph.D. (Statistics in Law and Government), Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences


Law and Statistics


Character Evidence as a Conduit for Implicit Bias, 56 U.C. Davis Law Review (forthcoming 2023)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

An Objective-Chance Exception to the Rule Against Character Evidence, 74 Alabama Law Review (forthcoming 2022)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

An Aggregation Theory of Character Evidence, 51 Journal of Legal Studies (forthcoming 2022)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Credibility in Empirical Legal Analysis, 87 Brooklyn Law Review 501 (2022)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Causation in Civil Rights Legislation, 73 Alabama Law Review 159 (2021)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Cause and Effect in Antidiscrimination Law, 106 Iowa Law Review 483 (2021)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Counterfactual Causation, 51 Arizona State Law Journal 879 (2019)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Effects of Comparable-Case Guidance on Awards for Pain and Suffering and Punitive Damages: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial, 37 Yale Law & Policy Review 405 (2019).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Admissibility of Sampling Evidence to Prove Individual Damages in Class Actions, 59 Boston College Law Review 655 (2018) (with John K. Felter).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Shrinkage Estimation in the Adjudication of Civil Damage Claims, 13(2) Review of Law & Economics 1 (2017), doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/rle-2015-0010 (with Yang Chen).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Logic of Comparable-Case Guidance in the Determination of Awards for Pain and Suffering and Punitive Damages, 85 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1 (2017).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Sampling and Reliability in Class Action Litigation, 2016 Cardozo Law Review De Novo 207 (2016).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Reductive Sampling: A Framework for Victim Participation and the Reparations Phase of the ICC Trial, 10 Harvard Africa Policy Journal 60 (2015).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Aggregating for Accuracy: A Closer Look at Sampling and Accuracy in Class Action Litigation, 14 Law, Probability & Risk 67 (2015).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Psychological Variables Relevant to Models of Legal Evolution toward Efficiency, 3 Erasmus Law & Economics Review 21 (2007).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Applying the Laws of Logic to the Logic of Law, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 937 (2006).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

A Model of Abstract Cooperation in Games of Uncertainty, 32 Fordham Urban Law Journal 831 (2005).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository