The Effect of Judicial Expedience on Attorney Fees in Class Actions

17 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2004 Last revised: 25 Mar 2010

See all articles by Eric Helland

Eric Helland

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; RAND

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: March 24, 2010

Abstract

A judge facing exogenous constraints on his pecuniary income has an incentive to reduce his workload to increase his private welfare. In the face of an increase in caseload, this incentive will induce judges to attempt to terminate some cases more rapidly. In class action cases, failing to grant an attorney's fee request will delay termination. This conflict is likely to lead judges to authorize higher fees as court congestion increases. Using two datasets of class action settlements, we show that attorney fees are significantly and positively related to the congestion level of the court hearing the case.

Keywords: class action, attorney fees, judicial behavior, shirking

JEL Classification: D73, J22, J24, K00, K13, K41

Suggested Citation

Helland, Eric A. and Klick, Jonathan, The Effect of Judicial Expedience on Attorney Fees in Class Actions (March 24, 2010). Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 36, No. 1, Pg. 171, 2007; FSU College of Law, Law and Economics Paper No. 05-07; FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 138. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=637206 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.637206

Eric A. Helland

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

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RAND ( email )

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Jonathan Klick (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

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Erasmus School of Law ( email )

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PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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