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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1596910
 
 

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How Well do Measures of Ability Predict Judicial Performance?: A Case Study Using Securities Class Actions


Stephen J. Choi


New York University School of Law

G. Mitu Gulati


Duke University - School of Law

Eric A. Posner


University of Chicago - Law School

August 16, 2011

U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 519
NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-18

Abstract:     
Diverse measures are used as proxies for judicial ability, ranging from the college and law school a judge attended to the rate at which her decisions are cited by other judges. Yet, there has been little serious examination of which of these ability measures is better or worse at predicting the quality of judicial performance - including the management and disposition of cases. In this article, we attempt to evaluate these measures of ability by examining a rich group of performance indicators. Our innovation is to derive performance measures from judicial decisions other than case outcomes (which are inherently difficult to evaluate): the decisions to preside over a securities class action, to reject a motion for lead plaintiff, to dismiss the complaint with prejudice, and to reject a request for fees. In each case, an affirmative decision requires more work from the judge, and thus may be an indicator that the judge works hard and, all else equal, performs well. Using a database of securities class action cases, we find that judges who publish frequently and are highly cited are more likely to dismiss with prejudice but no more likely to make the hard choice in the other cases. Other proxies for judicial ability (attended top law school, judicial experience, earlier position as judge, prior private practice, heavy business caseload, and senior status) are more mixed.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 64

Keywords: Securities Class Actions, Judicial Ability, Litigation, Judges

JEL Classification: K22, K41

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Date posted: April 27, 2010 ; Last revised: August 18, 2011

Suggested Citation

Choi, Stephen J. and Gulati, G. Mitu and Posner, Eric A., How Well do Measures of Ability Predict Judicial Performance?: A Case Study Using Securities Class Actions (August 16, 2011). U of Chicago Law & Economics, Olin Working Paper No. 519; NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-18. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1596910 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1596910

Contact Information

Stephen J. Choi
New York University School of Law ( email )
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
Gaurang Mitu Gulati
Duke University - School of Law ( email )
210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States
Eric A. Posner (Contact Author)
University of Chicago - Law School ( email )
1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0425 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-e/
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