Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Study of Female Attorneys' Success Before SCOTUS

Sara Benesh summarizes a new study looking at the success rates of female attorneys before the United States Supreme Court. The authors found that teams with a higher percentage of women lost more often than others. The poor response to women was stronger among conservative justices. Female Attorneys Before the Supreme Court, Empirical Legal Studies, Feb. 23, 2007.

One commenter raised the point that the women's cases might have been weaker on the merits. Benesh explained that the study's authors did use some variables that could serve some sort of proxy for strength of case -- for instance, the number of amici supporting that side, whetehr the Solicitor General supported that side. They also looked at experience and qualifications of the litigation teams.

The commenter also suggested that representing respondents might correlate with losing. (Since the Court accepts review of so few cases, it might only accept cases it's more likely to reverse.)

The study is "Have We Come a Long Way Baby: Female Attorneys before the United States Supreme Court," by ohn Szmer, (UNC-Charlotte), Tammy Sarver (Benedictine) and Erin Kaheny (UW-Milwaukee). A Word copy is linked from the blog post.

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