Do Judge-Lawyer Relationships Influence Case Outcomes?

21 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020

See all articles by Tianwang Liu

Tianwang Liu

Harvard University, Students

David Hao Zhang

Harvard University; Harvard University, Harvard Business School, Students

Date Written: October 15, 2020

Abstract

We examine whether law school alumni relationships between the lawyers and judges affect case outcomes. We show that in the context of medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida, the plaintiff lawyer sharing the same law school as the judge increases the chances of recovery by 2%. Furthermore, the effect is confined to younger lawyers who see a 4% increase in the likelihood of recovery from having been to the same law school as the judge, and is absent in older lawyers. We interpret our results as evidence that lawyers gain school-specific human capital from their law schools which helps in their interactions with judges that graduated from the same school, and that this school-specific human capital become less important further on in the lawyers' careers.

Keywords: lawyers, law school, judges, bias, human capital, returns to schooling

Suggested Citation

Liu, Tianwang and Zhang, David Hao, Do Judge-Lawyer Relationships Influence Case Outcomes? (October 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3711873 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3711873

Tianwang Liu

Harvard University, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

David Hao Zhang (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Harvard University, Harvard Business School, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

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