The Legal Process from a Behavioral Perspective

By Stuart S. Nagel | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
The Attorneys: Disparities in Victory

A number of sociologists and legal scholars have studied the background characteristics of different types of lawyers.1 No researcher, however, seems to have yet analyzed the possible relationships between these general characteristics and courtroom results. It is the purpose of this chapter to offer some findings relevant to those relationships. The basic theoretical position of this chapter is that in substantial samples of cases the characteristics of the opposing attorneys are, in general, relatively trivial predictive or explanatory variables, especially in comparison with the predictive power of the correlations between the outcomes of cases and the factual elements within those cases. The characteristics discussed are those for which there is data in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and which, one would suspect, might correlate with legal ability and thereby make a difference in courtroom results.


I. THE RESEARCH DESIGN

The data shown in Table 9-1 were compiled by working backward from the 1962 to the 1959 volume of American Law Reports Annotated, Second Series, until 100 cases were found in which just one attorney was listed for each side and both attorneys were listed in the Martindale-

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1
See, e.g., CARLIN, LAWYERS ON THEIR OWN ( 1962); Ladinsky, "The Impact of Social Backgrounds of Lawyers on Law Practice and the Law", 16 J. LEGAL ED.127 ( 1963); Lortie, "Laymen to Lawmen: Law School, Careers, and Professional Socialization", 29 HARV. EDUCATION REV.352 ( 1959); Comment, "The Jewish Law Student and New York Jobs -- Discriminatory Effects in Law Firm Hiring Practices", 73 YALE L. J.625 ( 1964); Carlin, Current Research in the Sociology of the Legal Profession, 1962 (a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association).

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