Do Judge-Lawyer Relationships Influence Case Outcomes?
21 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 15, 2020
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
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