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The Legal Academy's Ideological Uniformity

46 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2017 Last revised: 29 Nov 2017

Adam Bonica

Stanford University Department of Political Science

Adam S. Chilton

University of Chicago - Law School

Kyle Rozema

University of Chicago - Law School

Maya Sen

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: November 17, 2017

Abstract

We study of the ideological balance of the legal academy and compare it to the ideology of the legal profession more broadly. To do so, we match professors listed in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Law Teachers and lawyers listed in the Martindale-Hubbell directory to a measure of political ideology based on political donations. We find that 15 percent of law professors, compared to 35 percent of lawyers, are conservative. This may not simple be due to differences in their backgrounds: the legal academy is still 11 percentage points more liberal than the legal profession after controlling for several relevant individual characteristics. We argue that law professors’ ideological uniformity marginalizes them, but that it may not be possible to improve the ideological balance of the legal academy without sacrificing other values.

Keywords: Law Professors, Political Ideologies, Legal Profession

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Bonica, Adam and Chilton, Adam S. and Rozema, Kyle and Sen, Maya, The Legal Academy's Ideological Uniformity (November 17, 2017). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 17-12; University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 806; HKS Working Paper No. RWP17-023. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2953087

Adam Bonica

Stanford University Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Adam Chilton (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.adamchilton.org

Kyle Rozema

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.kylerozema.com

Maya Sen

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/msen

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