Do Judge-Lawyer Relationships Influence Case Outcomes?
26 Pages Posted: 8 Dec 2020 Last revised: 13 Jun 2023
Date Written: October 15, 2020
We examine whether law school alumni relationships between lawyers and judges affect case outcomes. We show that, in the context of medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Florida, having a plaintiff's attorney who attended the same law school as a randomly assigned judge increases the chances of recovery by 2%. We further show that the effect is more pronounced between lawyers and judges with a larger age gap, consistent with a mentorship hypothesis rather than a personal relationship effect from lawyers and judges who overlapped in school. Our results show that law school networks can influence case outcomes.
Keywords: lawyers, law school, judges, bias, human capital, returns to schooling
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