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Reproduction of Hierarchy? A Social Network Analysis of the American Law Professoriate


Daniel Martin Katz


Michigan State University - College of Law

Joshua R. Gubler


Brigham Young University - Department of Political Science

Jon Zelner


University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Center for Study of Complex Systems

Michael James Bommarito II


Bommarito Consulting, LLC

Eric A. Provins


University of Michigan - Department of Political Science

Eitan M. Ingall


Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia

March 3, 2009

Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 61, No. 1, August 2011
CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper

Abstract:     
As its structure offers one causal mechanism for the emergence of and convergence upon a collective conception of what constitutes a sound legal rule, we believe the social structure of the American law professoriate is an important piece of a broader model of American common law development. Leveraging advances in network science and drawing from available information on the more 7,200 tenure-track professor employed by an ABA accredited institution, we explore the topology of the legal academy including the relative distribution of authority among its institutions. Drawing from social epidemiology literature, we provide a computational model for diffusion on our network. The model provides a parsimonious display of the trade off between "idea infectiousness" and structural position. While our model is undoubtedly simple, our initial foray into computational legal studies should, at a minimum, motivate future scholarship.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: Social Network Analysis, American Common Law, Complexity, Public Law, Sociology of Law, Power Law, Peer Effects, Doctrinal Phase Transition, Legal Academy, Organizational Studies, Computational Legal Studies, Law as a Complex System

JEL Classification: C63, D70, K40

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: March 9, 2009 ; Last revised: May 26, 2011

Suggested Citation

Katz, Daniel Martin and Gubler, Joshua R. and Zelner, Jon and Bommarito, Michael James and Provins, Eric A. and Ingall, Eitan M., Reproduction of Hierarchy? A Social Network Analysis of the American Law Professoriate (March 3, 2009). Journal of Legal Education, Vol. 61, No. 1, August 2011 ; CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1352656

Contact Information

Daniel Martin Katz (Contact Author)
Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )
230F Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States
HOME PAGE: http://computationallegalstudies.com/
Joshua R. Gubler
Brigham Young University - Department of Political Science ( email )
764 Kimball Tower
Provo, UT 84602
United States
801-422-2829 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://scholar.byu.edu/jgubler
Jon Zelner
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Center for Study of Complex Systems ( email )
321A West Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
Michael James Bommarito II
Bommarito Consulting, LLC ( email )
Troy, MI 48098
United States
16464503387 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://bommaritollc.com/
Eric A. Provins
University of Michigan - Department of Political Science ( email )
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
Eitan M. Ingall
Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia ( email )
3401 Civic Center Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
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