Monday, July 12, 2010
Scholarship alert: "The Cost of Judicial Citation: An Empirical Investigation of Citation Practices in the Federal Appellate Courts"
This article is by Casey R. Fronk and can be found at U. Ill. J.L. Tech. & Pol'y 51 (2010). From the abstract:
Since the early 1960s, computerized legal research technology has enabled judges and their law clerks to access legal information quickly and comprehensively. Particularly for appellate judges, who rely on wide-ranging legal research when writing opinions, this technological change has had special resonance. This Article attempts to quantify the effects of computer-assisted legal research on the federal judiciary by empirically analyzing citation patterns over the past fifty years. The results of this analysis suggest that the digitization of legal research has had statistically significant effects on the amount and style of citation in judicial opinions. Although the average number of cases cited in opinions has doubled between 1957 and 2007, the number of cases cited only in string citations has decreased by nearly the same percentage. This Article argues that such results can be explained by a basic economic theory of judicial citation in which judges respond to the decreasing cost of opinion production by discarding string citation for more effective communicative techniques.
I am the scholarship dude.