Dave Hoffman (Temple) provides some real-time blogging from CELS at Concurring Opinions. The post of interest involves, in Dave's apt words, "one of the more vigorously contested academic panels I've ever seen." Dave's post (and comment) speaks comprehensively for itself and is found here.
After much hard work and preparation, it is great to see many ELS folk begin to gather at Cornell for this year's CELS. A copy of the final program is here. For those who like to plan ahead, USC will host the 2009 CELS on Nov. 20-21, 2009.
My colleague, Ted Eisenberg (Cornell), and Talia Fisher (Tel Aviv University) are calling for papers for an international conference on empirical legal studies scheduled for 26 March 2009, at Tel Aviv University Law School in Israel. The conference will include three sessions. One session will focus on empirical analysis of criminal law and criminal procedure. Another session will dwell on empirical research on civil law and procedure. The final session will be devoted to methodological and conceptual issues regarding quantitative analysis and empirical research. All conference sessions will be in English.
For those interested in submitting papers for consideration, the deadline for paper submissions is 1 December 2008. Papers should be submitted to either:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Authors of accepted papers will be notified by 10 January 2009. The conference is open to all who wish to attend.
Max Schanzenbach (Northwestern), in conjunction with Northwestern University School of Law's Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth, has organized a Research Symposium on Empirical
Studies of Civil Liability. This symposium, set for 9-10 Oct. 2008, at Northwestern Law School, will bring together leading empirical
legal scholars to evaluate the effects of civil liability on economic activity. Presented papers will address a broad range of topics, including alternative dispute
resolution, tort reform, settlement behavior, and securities litigation.
The deadline to submit paper proposals for the Southern Political Science Association's 80th Annual Conference is fast approaching. The deadline for proposals is Friday, July 25th. The conference is scheduled for January 8-10, 2009 in New Orleans. More information can be found here.
Empirical legal studies' influence continues to grow worldwide. The Journal of Empirical Legal Studies and Institutum Jurisprudentiae, a branch of the Academia Sinica, cosponsored the First International Conference on Empirical Studies of Judicial Systems (for a copy of the conference agenda, click here). Held in Taipei, Taiwan, conference participants included my Cornell colleagues, Kevin Clermont, Ted Eisenberg, and Valerie Hans, as well as, among other U.S. speakers, Cathy Sharkey (NYU), Mark Ramseyer (Harvard), and Thomas Cohen (BJS). Other outside scholars came from China, Japan, and England.
Over the next couple of weeks I plan to blog about some new research, with a particular focus on unusual techniques or interesting research questions. Several of the research projects I will discuss came to my attention through the Law and Society Conference in Montreal at the end of May.
One interesting presentation was a paper entitled Hustle and Flow: A Social Network Analysis of the American Federal Judiciary by Daniel M. Katz and Derek K. Stafford, both political science graduate students at the University of Michigan. Katz and Stafford are interested in the social structure of the judiciary and, more controversially, whether that structure has an effect on doctrine or case outcomes. Different from the prevailing models of judicial behavior (attituindalism, legalism, or the strategic model), their hypothesis is that judges -- at least sometimes -- are influenced by "peer effects," not just by their own political views or by legal sources. (Such social pressures could be a partial explanation for the panel and circuit effects documented on appellate courts. See, for example, Kastellec, Jonathan P., "Panel Composition and Voting on the U.S. Courts of Appeals Over Time" (May 14, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1012111) and Kim, Pauline T., "Deliberation and Strategy on the United States Courts of Appeals: An Empirical Exploration of Panel Effects" (March 31, 2008). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1115357 ).
In order to study these social or peer effects, they must find a way to describe the social networks of the judiciary. As an initial attempt to do so, Katz and Stafford employ new network analysis techniques to measure the paths that law clerks take between judges. In other words, they chart the likelihood that a law clerk for, say, Judge Kozinski, will later clerk for Justice Kennedy, or that a law clerk for a particular district court judge will go on to clerk for a particular appellate court judge. Their study "visualizes law clerk traffic" during the last Rehnquist natural court and produces some interesting representations of the relationships between judges. (They identified about 900 clerks who moved from one judge to another during this period.)
The graphic depiction of these law clerk moves is one of the more interesting aspects of the study. In one depiction, Supreme Court justices are, not surprisingly, clustered in the middle, but -- more surprisingly -- district court judges are "suffused throughout the network," not relegated to the periphery. This is one representation, Katz and Stafford suggest, of the fact that judges with equivalent institutional authority in fact have different levels of influence. Below is one such figure from the paper -- the Kamada Kawai Energized Network. (Yellow nodes are Supreme Court justices; green are appellate court; and blue are district court judges.)
It will be interesting to hear more from these authors as they apply their methods to other aspects of the judiciary.
This past weekend, I attended the ISBA Solo & Small Firm Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana (see related post at Legal Professions blog). I was asked to moderate the panel on the "Future of the Solo & Small Firm Practice." To prepare, I pulled together some interesting trend data.
Since the mid-1970s, the percentage of civil matters resolved through a bench trial has dwindled by a factor of five.
Less than 3 in 1000 civil matters in Indiana state court are resolved through a jury trial. Back in the mid-1970s, 14 in 1000 ended this way. Obviously, this has an impact on the skill set of lawyers and, in turn, their ability to credibly bargain within a shadow of a jury trial.
Alternatively, maybe clients are better served through ADR. Consider these figures, which are based on federal employment law cases in arbitration versus federal court.
Information on the workshop, organized by Lee Epstein (Northwestern) and Andrew Martin (Wash U) and scheduled for June 23-25 in Chicago, is found here. A summary follows.
"The Conducting Empirical Legal Scholarship workshop is for law school faculty
interested in learning about empirical research. Leading empirical scholars Lee
Epstein and Andrew Martin will teach the workshop, which provides the formal
training necessary to design, conduct, and assess empirical studies, and to use
statistical software (Stata) to analyze and manage data. Participants need no
background or knowledge of statistics to enroll in the workshop."
Readers of the ELS Blog are invited to join Dean Lauren Robel and members of the Indiana Law
faculty for a reception in conjunction with the 2008
Law and Society Association Annual Meeting. The gathering is a great
opportunity to network, socialize, and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and drinks.
We hope you can join us.
We would appreciate an RSVP by May 26 to email@example.com or
812-855-9700; feel free to attend even if you are not able to RSVP now.
Information from the CELS 2008 Organizing Committee:
The Organizing Committee has begun reviewing papers submitted for the September 12-13, 2008 Conference on Empirical Legal Studies to be held at Cornell Law School in Ithaca, NY. We thank all of you who have submitted papers. We anticipate another first-rate meeting of empirically minded scholars, so please plan to attend.
In light of a number of requests for extensions and mindful of a deadline that falls near the end of a semester, the CELS Organizing Committee will continue to accept papers for consideration for the conference for a limited period after the April 15 deadline. Papers submitted after April 15 will be considered for inclusion in the conference subject to the availability of space. We expect a hard cutoff date of May 16.
Authors who have already submitted papers may use the SSRN system to submit a revised version. Peer reviewers will consider whichever version is available at the time they undertake their peer reviews.
Organized in part by ELS Blog's very own Chris Zorn, the quantitative social science initiative (QuaSSI), a program in Penn State's political science department, is hosting a conference that should interest many on Sat., May 3, in State College, PA. Borrowing from the example of several other
disciplines, the small conference will showcase research from seven rising scholars of political methodology. Information for anyone interested is found here.
Jeremy Blumenthal (Syracuse) was kind enough to remind me that the 2008 American Psychology-Law Society's annual conference is set for 5-8 March 2008, in Jacksonville, FL. Relevant info, including a preliminary conference program, workshop descriptions, etc., can be found here.