Thursday, August 9, 2012
Kevin Brady at the University of Chicago has written up his study, "Are Readable Judicial Opinions Cited More Often?". Try guessing the answer, and then see if you were right.
Here's his abstract:
"Are judges, lawyers, and law professors more likely to cite readable judicial opinions? To answer this question I created a dataset of nearly one hundred opinions and analyzed them based on their readability. It turns out readability doesn’t correlate with the frequency of citations. Instead, variables such as the number of words and the opinion’s subject matter are significant predictors.
"Readability, of course, is subjective. But linguists have created objective measures of readability — such as the number of passive sentences in the opinion and the Flesch-Kincaid grade level. Part I provides background information on readability. Part II summarizes the data, and Part III presents the results."