42 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2018
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
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