Friday, April 6, 2007
Posted by Jeff Lipshaw
Okay, over at MoneyLaw, somebody commented that "there appears to be a 'coastal bias' going on. Schools on the coasts probably get more employers interviewing students and more exposure than most schools in the 'fly over zone.' How many lawyers/profs/judges in the 'fly over zone' get to answer this survey?"
Casting aside all the philosophical BS in which I am usually engaged, I got to work assessing this claim. I did so by taking map of the United States and assigning what I refer to as "Coastal Bacon Numbers" to each state. This refers to the degree of separation from either the Pacific or Atlantic Coast (I didn't count either the Great Lakes or the Gulf Coast) by the number of states you have to go through to get to a coast. (The allusion is to six degrees of Kevin Bacon numbers, something Alan and Nancy are far more concerned about than I.) So if you are in Massachusetts or California, you have a Coastal Bacon number of 1. The highest Coastal Bacon number is 5, and Minnesota is the only state that gets it.*
What you see above is a scatter diagram (click on it to see the detail) showing lawyer/judge assessment scores on the X-axis, and the average Coastal Bacon number of the schools at that rating on the Y-axis. Again, I would need to channel Bill Henderson to do a regression analysis on this, but it appears to me that there is no correlation between coastal bias and lawyer/judge assessment.
My agent is available for invitations to participate as co-blogger over at ELS.
UPDATE: For a competent analysis of the data, see Bill Henderson's post at ELS.
* I arbitrarily gave the District of Columbia a Coastal Bacon number of 1, even though it doesn't border on the Atlantic, because it embodies the East Coast Ivy League Prep School Liberal Establishment. I also gave Hawaii a 2 because you aren't really on the West Coast until you get to California. On that measure I should have given a 2 to Oregon and a 3 to Washington, but I didn't because it's really cool to be in Seattle. I also excluded the top 16 schools in lawyer/judge assessment because it seemed to me they were unquestionably "national" and didn't fit my original bell curves anyway.