Litigation Migrants

42 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2018

See all articles by Charlotte Alexander

Charlotte Alexander

Georgia State University – Institute for Insight; Georgia State University College of Law

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Date Written: June 29, 2018


Civil law is primarily enforced via private litigation. One characteristic of private enforcement is that litigation levels tend to cycle between booms and busts. This Article builds a theory for explaining this fluctuation, proposing that plaintiffs’ attorneys can be understood as economic migrants. Just as workers cross borders to find jobs, lawyers “move” across case types and jurisdictions to find profitable claims, and case-filing numbers increase as a result. Using the recent wage and hour litigation boom as a case study, this Article paints an empirical picture of attorney migration and its influence on case filing numbers. Drawing on these analyses, the Article concludes by considering the optimal litigation level within our private enforcement system.

Keywords: litigation, wage and hour law, private enforcement

JEL Classification: law and economics

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Charlotte, Litigation Migrants (June 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Charlotte Alexander (Contact Author)

Georgia State University – Institute for Insight ( email )

Tower Place 200, Third Floor
3348 Peachtree Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30326
United States

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

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