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Mapping The Iceberg: The Impact Of Data Sources On The Study Of District Courts, Christina L. Boyd, Pauline T. Kim, Margo Schlanger Aug 2020

Mapping The Iceberg: The Impact Of Data Sources On The Study Of District Courts, Christina L. Boyd, Pauline T. Kim, Margo Schlanger

Articles

Three decades ago, Siegelman and Donohue aptly characterized research about courts and litigation that relied only on published opinions as “studying the iceberg from its tip.” They implored researchers to view published district court opinions “with greater sensitivity to the ways in which such cases are unrepresentative of all cases”. The dynamic, multistage nature of trial court litigation makes a focus solely on published opinions particularly ill-suited to the study of federal district courts. Expanded electronic access to court documents now allows more pre-cise analysis of the ways in which published cases are unrepresentative and what differences that makes for ...


Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar Aug 2020

Federal Forum Provisions And The Internal Affairs Doctrine, Dhruv Aggarwal, Albert H. Choi, Ofer Eldar

Articles

A key question at the intersection of state and federal law is whether corpo- rations can use their charters or bylaws to restrict securities litigation to federal court. In December 2018, the Delaware Chancery Court answered this question in the negative in the landmark decision Sciabacucchi v. Salzberg. The court invalidated “federal forum provisions” (“FFPs”) that allow companies to select federal district courts as the exclusive venue for claims brought under the Secur- ities Act of 1933 (“1933 Act”). The decision held that the internal affairs doc- trine, which is the bedrock of U.S. corporate law, does not permit ...


Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Understanding Violent-Crime Recidivism, J.J. Prescott, Benjamin Pyle, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

People convicted of violent crimes constitute a majority of the imprisoned population but are generally ignored by existing policies aimed at reducing mass incarceration. Serious efforts to shrink the large footprint of the prison system will need to recognize this fact. This point is especially pressing at the time of this writing, as states and the federal system consider large-scale prison releases motivated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Those convicted of violent crimes constitute a large majority of older prisoners, who are extremely vulnerable to the spread of the virus behind bars. Excluding them from protective measures will deeply undermine those ...


Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr May 2020

Expungement Of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study, J.J. Prescott, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Laws permitting the expungement of criminal convictions are a key component of modern criminal justice reform efforts and have been the subject of a recent upsurge in legislative activity. This debate has been almost entirely devoid of evidence about the laws’ effects, in part because the necessary data (such as sealed records themselves) have been unavailable. We were able to obtain access to de-identified data that overcome that problem, and we use it to carry out a comprehensive statewide study of expungement recipients and comparable nonrecipients in Michigan. We offer three key sets of empirical findings. First, among those legally ...


Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Value, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau Jan 2020

Golden Parachutes And The Limits Of Shareholder Value, Albert H. Choi, Andrew C.W. Lund, Robert Schonlau

Articles

With the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010, Congress attempted to constrain change-in-control payments (also known as “golden parachutes”) by giving shareholders the right to approve or disapprove such payments on an advisory basis. This Essay is the first to empirically examine the experience with the Say-on-Golden-Parachute (“SOGP”) vote. We find that unlike shareholder votes on proposed mergers, there is a significant amount of variation with respect to votes on golden parachutes. Notwithstanding the variation, however, the SOGP voting regime is likely ineffective in controlling golden parachute (“GP”) compensation. First, proxy advisors seem ...


Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott Jan 2019

Targeting Poverty In The Courts: Improving The Measurement Of Ability To Pay Fines, Meghan M. O'Neil, J.J. Prescott

Articles

Ability-to-pay determinations are essential when governments use money-based alternative sanctions, like fines, to enforce laws. One longstanding difficulty in the U.S. has been the extreme lack of guidance on how courts are to determine a litigant’s ability to pay. The result has been a seat-of-the-pants approach that is inefficient and inaccurate, and, as a consequence, very socially costly. Fortunately, online platform technology presents a promising avenue for reform. In particular, platform technology offers the potential to increase litigant access, reduce costs, and ensure consistent and fair treatment—all of which should lead to more accurate sanctions. We use ...


Assessing Access-To-Justice Outreach Strategies, J. J. Prescott Jan 2018

Assessing Access-To-Justice Outreach Strategies, J. J. Prescott

Articles

The need for prospective beneficiaries to “take up” new programs is a common stumbling block for otherwise well-designed legal and policy innovations. I examine the take-up problem in the context of publicly provided court services and test the effectiveness of various outreach strategies that announce a newly available online court access platform. I study individuals with minor arrest warrants whose distrust of courts may dampen any take-up response. I partnered with a court to quasi-randomly assign outreach approaches to a cohort of individuals and find that outreach improves take-up, that the type of outreach matters, and that online platform access ...


Piling On? An Empirical Study Of Parallel Derivative Suits, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, Adam C. Pritchard Nov 2017

Piling On? An Empirical Study Of Parallel Derivative Suits, Stephen J. Choi, Jessica Erickson, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

Using a sample of all companies named as defendants in securities class actions between July 1, 2005 and December 31, 2008, we study parallel suits relying on state corporate law arising out of the same allegations as the securities class actions. We test several ways that parallel suits may add value to a securities class action. Most parallel suits target cases involving obvious indicia of wrongdoing. Moreover, we find that although a modest percentage of parallel suits are filed first, over 80 percent are filed after a securities class action (termed “follow-on” parallel suits). We find that parallel suits and ...


Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J. J. Prescott Nov 2017

Improving Access To Justice In State Courts With Platform Technology, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Access to justice often equates to access to state courts, and for millions of Americans, using state courts to resolve their disputes—often with the government—is a real challenge. Reforms are regularly proposed in the hopes of improving the situation (e.g., better legal aid), but until recently a significant part of the problem has been structural. Using state courts today for all but the simplest of legal transactions entails at the very least traveling to a courthouse and meeting with a decision maker in person and in a one-on-one setting. Even minimally effective access, therefore, requires time, transportation ...


The 2016-17 Survey Of Applied Legal Education, Robert R. Kuehn, David A. Santacroce, Margaret Reuter, Sue Schechter Sep 2017

The 2016-17 Survey Of Applied Legal Education, Robert R. Kuehn, David A. Santacroce, Margaret Reuter, Sue Schechter

Other Publications

This report summarizes the results of the Center for the Study of Applied Legal Education’s (CSALE) 2016-17 Survey of Applied Legal Education. The 2016-17 Survey was CSALE’s fourth triennial survey of law clinic and field placement (i.e., externship) courses and educators. The results provide insight into the state of applied legal education in areas like program design, capacity, administration, funding, and pedagogy, and the role of applied legal education and educators in the legal academy. Law schools, legal educators, scholars, and oversight agencies rely on CSALE’s data. They do so with the summary results provided here ...


Timely Permanency Or Unnecessary Removal?: Tips For Advocates For Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell, Vivek Sankaran Jun 2017

Timely Permanency Or Unnecessary Removal?: Tips For Advocates For Children Who Spend Less Than 30 Days In Foster Care, Christopher Church, Monique Mitchell, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Removal and placement in foster care is child welfare’s most severe intervention, contemplated as “a last resort rather than the first.” Federal law, with an overarching goal of preventing unnecessary removals, bolsters this principle by requiring juvenile and family courts to carefully oversee the removal of children to foster care. Expansive research reminds the field that removal, while often necessary, is not a benign intervention. Physically, legally, and emotionally separating children from their parent(s) can traumatize children in lasting ways. Yet review of federal data concerning children in foster care reveal a troubling narrative: each year, tens of ...


Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric Talley Jun 2017

Contracting Out Of The Fiduciary Duty Of Loyalty: An Empirical Analysis Of Corporate Opportunity Waivers, Gabriel Rauterberg, Eric Talley

Articles

For centuries, the duty of loyalty has been the hallowed centerpiece of fiduciary obligation, widely considered one of the few “mandatory” rules of corporate law. That view, however, is no longer true. Beginning in 2000, Delaware dramatically departed from tradition by granting incorporated entities a statutory right to waive a crucial part of the duty of loyalty: the corporate opportunities doctrine. Other states have since followed Delaware’s lead, similarly permitting firms to execute “corporate opportunity waivers.” Surprisingly, more than fifteen years into this reform experiment, no study has attempted to either systematically measure the corporate response to these reforms ...


Factors In Fairness And Emotion In Online Case Resolution Systems, Youyang Hou, Cliff Lampe, Maximilian Bulinski, J. J. Prescott May 2017

Factors In Fairness And Emotion In Online Case Resolution Systems, Youyang Hou, Cliff Lampe, Maximilian Bulinski, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Courts are increasingly adopting online information and communication technology, creating a need to consider the potential consequences of these tools for the justice system. Using survey responses from 209 litigants who had recently used an online case resolution system, we investigate factors that influenced litigants’ experiences of fairness and emotional feelings toward court officials. Our results show that ease of using the online case resolution system, the outcome of the case, and a litigant’s perceptions of procedural justice are positively associated both with whether the litigant views the process as fair and whether the litigant ultimately feels positive emotions ...


Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens Mar 2017

Race And Wrongful Convictions In The United States, Samuel R. Gross, Maurice Possley, Klara Stephens

Other Publications

African Americans are only 13% of the American population but a majority of innocent defendants wrongfully convicted of crimes and later exonerated. They constitute 47% of the 1,900 exonerations listed in the National Registry of Exonerations (as of October 2016), and the great majority of more than 1,800 additional innocent defendants who were framed and convicted of crimes in 15 large-scale police scandals and later cleared in “group exonerations.” We see this racial disparity for all major crime categories, but we examine it in this report in the context of the three types of crime that produce the ...


What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross Jan 2017

What We Think, What We Know And What We Think We Know About False Convictions, Samuel Gross

Articles

False convictions are notoriously difficult to study because they can neither be observed when they occur nor identified after the fact by any plausible research strategy. Our best shot is to collect data on those that come to light in legal proceedings that result in the exoneration of the convicted defendants. In May 2012, the National Registry of Exonerations released its first report, covering 873 exonerations from January 1989 through February 2012. By October 15, 2016, we had added 1,027 cases: 599 exonerations since March 1, 2012, and 428 that had already happened when we issued our initial report ...


The Sec's Shift To Administrative Proceedings: An Empirical Assessment, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Prichard Jan 2017

The Sec's Shift To Administrative Proceedings: An Empirical Assessment, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Prichard

Articles

Congress has repeatedly expanded the authority of the SEC to pursue violations of securities laws in proceedings adjudicated by the SEC's own administrative law judges, most recently through the Dodd-Frank Act. We report the results from an empirical study of SEC enforcement actions against non-financial public companies to assess the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on the balance between civil court and administrative enforcement actions. We show a general decline in the number of court actions and an increase in the number of administrative proceedings post-Dodd-Frank. At the same time, we show an increase in average civil penalties post-Dodd-Frank ...


An Empirical Study Of Implicit Takings., James E. Krier, Stewart E. Sterk Oct 2016

An Empirical Study Of Implicit Takings., James E. Krier, Stewart E. Sterk

Articles

Takings scholarship has long focused on the niceties of Supreme Court doctrine, while ignoring the operation of takings law "on the ground" in the state and lower federal courts, which together decide the vast bulk of all takings cases. This study, based primarily on an empirical analysis of more than 2000 reported decisions ovcr the period 1979 through 2012, attempts to fill that void. This study establishes that the Supreme Court's categorical rules govern almost no state takings cases, and that takings claims based on government regulation almost invariably fail. By contrast, when takings claims arise out of government ...


Carrot Or Stick? The Shift From Voluntary To Mandatory Disclosure Of Risk Factors, Karen K. Nelson, Adam C. Pritchard Jun 2016

Carrot Or Stick? The Shift From Voluntary To Mandatory Disclosure Of Risk Factors, Karen K. Nelson, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

This study investigates risk factor disclosures, examining both the voluntary, incentive-based disclosure regime provided by the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act as well as the SEC's subsequent mandate of these disclosures. Firms subject to greater litigation risk disclose more risk factors, update the language more from year to year, and use more readable language than firms with lower litigation risk. These differences in the quality of disclosure are pronounced in the voluntary disclosure regime, but converge following the SEC mandate as low-risk firms improved the quality of their risk factor disclosures. Consistent with these ...


Understanding Noncompetition Agreements: The 2014 Noncompete Survey Project, J. J. Prescott, Norman D. Bishara, Evan Starr Apr 2016

Understanding Noncompetition Agreements: The 2014 Noncompete Survey Project, J. J. Prescott, Norman D. Bishara, Evan Starr

Articles

In recent years, scholars and policymakers have devoted considerable attention to the potential consequences of employment noncompetition agreements and to whether legislatures ought to reform the laws that govern the enforcement of these controversial contractual provisions. Unfortunately, much of this interest—and the content of proposed reforms—derives from anecdotal tales of burdensome noncompetes among low-wage workers and from scholarship that is either limited to slivers of the population (across all studies, less than 1%) or relies on strong assumptions about the incidence of noncompetition agreements. Better understanding of the use of noncompetes and effective noncompetition law reform requires a ...


Sec Investigations And Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard Mar 2016

Sec Investigations And Securities Class Actions: An Empirical Comparison, Stephen J. Choi, Adam C. Pritchard

Articles

Using actions with both an SEC investigation and a class action as our baseline, we compare the targeting of SEC-only investigations with class-action-only lawsuits. Looking at measures of information asymmetry, we find that investors in the market perceive greater information asymmetry following the public announcement of the underlying violation for class-action-only lawsuits compared with SEC-only investigations. Turning to sanctions, we find that the incidence of top officer resignation is greater for class-action-only lawsuits relative to SEC-only investigations. Our findings are consistent with the private enforcement targeting disclosure violations at least as precisely as (if not more so than) SEC enforcement.


Testing Racial Profiling: Empirical Assessment Of Disparate Treatment By Police, Sonja B. Starr Jan 2016

Testing Racial Profiling: Empirical Assessment Of Disparate Treatment By Police, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

In this Article, I explore why measuring disparate-treatment discrimination by police is so difficult, and consider the ways that researchers' existing tools can make headway on these challenges and the ways they fall short. Lab experiments have provided useful information about implicit racial bias, but they cannot directly tell us how these biases actually affect real-world behavior. Meanwhile, for observational researchers, there are various hurdles, but the hardest one to overcome is generally the absence of data on the citizen conduct that at least partially shapes policing decisions. Most crime, and certainly most noncriminal "suspicious" or probable-cause-generating behavior, goes unreported ...


Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations And Sex Offender Recidivism, J. J. Prescott Jan 2016

Portmanteau Ascendant: Post-Release Regulations And Sex Offender Recidivism, J. J. Prescott

Articles

The purported purpose of sex offender post-release regulations (e.g., community notification and residency restrictions) is the reduction of sex offender recidivism. On their face, these laws seem well-designed and likely to be effective. A simple economic framework of offender behavior can be used to formalize these basic intuitions: in essence, post-release regulations either increase the probability of detection or increase the immediate cost of engaging in the prohibited activity (or both), and so should reduce the likelihood of criminal behavior. These laws aim to incapacitate people outside of prison. Yet, empirical researchers to date have found essentially no reliable ...


The Institutional Appetite For Quack Corporate Governance, Alicia J. Davis Sep 2015

The Institutional Appetite For Quack Corporate Governance, Alicia J. Davis

Articles

This Article offers evidence that higher quality internal corporate governance is associated with higher levels of ownership by institutional investors. This finding is consistent with the idea that institutions have greater reason than individual investors to prefer well-governed firms, but surprising given the substantial empirical evidence that casts doubt on the efficacy of internal governance mechanisms. The study described in this Article also finds that higher quality external governance is associated with lower proportions of ownership by certain types of institutional investors, also a somewhat surprising result given available empirical evidence on the positive relationship between external governance and firm ...


Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime, David M. Uhlmann Jan 2015

Prosecutorial Discretion And Environmental Crime, David M. Uhlmann

Articles

In January 1991, just four weeks after joining the Justice Department’sEnvironmental Crimes Section as an entry-level attorney, I traveled to NewOrleans to attend an environmental enforcement conference. The conferencewas attended by hundreds of criminal prosecutors and civil attorneys from theJustice Department, as well as enforcement officials from the EnvironmentalProtection Agency (“EPA”). It was a propitious time for environmental protec-tion efforts in the United States. Less than two months earlier, President GeorgeH. W. Bush had signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, culminating aremarkable twenty-year period that created the modern environmental law sys-tem in the United States. My new ...


Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr Dec 2014

Racial Disparity In Federal Criminal Sentences, M. Marit Rehavi, Sonja B. Starr

Articles

Using rich data linking federal cases from arrest through to sentencing, we find that initial case and defendant characteristics, including arrest offense and criminal history, can explain most of the large raw racial disparity in federal sentences, but significant gaps remain. Across the distribution, blacks receive sentences that are almost 10 percent longer than those of comparable whites arrested for the same crimes. Most of this disparity can be explained by prosecutors’ initial charging decisions, particularly the filing of charges carrying mandatory minimum sentences. Ceteris paribus, the odds of black arrestees facing such a charge are 1.75 times higher ...


Sex Offender Law And The Geography Of Victimization, Amanda Y. Agan, J. J. Prescott Dec 2014

Sex Offender Law And The Geography Of Victimization, Amanda Y. Agan, J. J. Prescott

Articles

Sex offender laws that target recidivism (e.g., community notification and residency restriction regimes) are premised—at least in part—on the idea that sex offender proximity and victimization risk are positively correlated. We examine this relationship by combining past and current address information of registered sex offenders (RSOs) with crime data from Baltimore County, Maryland, to study how crime rates vary across neighborhoods with different concentrations of resident RSOs. Contrary to the assumptions of policymakers and the public, we find that, all else equal, reported sex offense victimization risk is generally (although not uniformly) lower in neighborhoods where more ...


Market Efficiency And The Problem Of Retail Flight, Alicia J. Davis Nov 2014

Market Efficiency And The Problem Of Retail Flight, Alicia J. Davis

Articles

In 1950, 91 % of common stock in the U.S. was owned directly by individual inves­ tors. Today, that percentage stands at only 23%. The mass exodus of retail investors and their investment dollars has negative implications not only for capital formation and investor protection, but also for market efficiency. Individual investors are often assumed to be noise traders who distort stock prices and harm market functioning. Therefore, some argue that their withdrawal from the market should be of little concern; indeed, it should be celebrated. Recent empirical evidence calls this assertion of retail noise trading into doubt, and this ...


The Influence Of Arbitrator Background And Representation On Arbitration Outcomes, Adam C. Pritchard, Stephen J. Choi, Jill E. Fisch Oct 2014

The Influence Of Arbitrator Background And Representation On Arbitration Outcomes, Adam C. Pritchard, Stephen J. Choi, Jill E. Fisch

Articles

We study the role of arbitrator background in securities arbitration. We find that several aspects of arbitrator background are correlated with arbitration outcomes. Specifically, industry experience, prior experience as a regulator, and status as a professional or retired arbitrator are correlated with statistically significant differences in arbitration awards. The impact of these characteristics is affected by whether the arbitrator in question serves as the panel chair and by whether the parties to the arbitration are represented by counsel. Our findings offer some preliminary insights into the debate over possible arbitrator bias. On the one hand, they suggest that the party ...


Trial And Settlement: A Study Of High-Low Agreements, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier, Albert Yoon Aug 2014

Trial And Settlement: A Study Of High-Low Agreements, J. J. Prescott, Kathryn E. Spier, Albert Yoon

Articles

This article presents the first systematic theoretical and empirical study of highlow agreements in civil litigation. A high-low agreement is a private contract that, if signed by litigants before trial, constrains any plaintiff’s recovery to a specified range. In our theoretical model, trial is both costly and risky. When litigants have divergent subjective beliefs and are mutually optimistic about their trial prospects, cases may fail to settle. In these cases, high-low agreements can be in litigants’ mutual interest because they limit the risk of outlier awards while still allowing mutually beneficial speculation. Using claims data from a national insurance ...


Foster Kids In Limbo: The Effects Of The Interstate Compact On Children In Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran Jun 2014

Foster Kids In Limbo: The Effects Of The Interstate Compact On Children In Foster Care, Vivek Sankaran

Articles

Each year, child welfare agencies make over 40,000 requests for home studies to determine whether children in foster care can be placed with parents, relatives, and others living in another state. Each request is governed by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), a uniform law adopted by every state to coordinate the placement of foster children in other states. Under the ICPC, a child can only be placed in foster care in another state after the receiving state conducts a home study and approves the proposed placement. Despite its good intentions, the ICPC has become unworkable ...