Does Lawyering Matter? Predicting Judicial Decisions from Legal Briefs, and What That Means for Access to Justice
Texas Law Review
This study uses linguistic analysis and machine-learning techniques to predict summary judgment outcomes from the text of the briefs filed by parties in a matter. We test the predictive power of textual characteristics, stylistic features, and citation usage, and we find that citations to precedent--their frequency, their patterns, and their popularity in other briefs--are the most predictive of a summary judgment win. This finding suggests that good lawyering may boil down to good legal research. However, good legal research is expensive, and the primacy of citations in our models raises concerns about access to justice. Here, our citation-based models also suggest promising solutions. We propose a freely available, computationally enabled citation identification and brief bank tool, which would extend to all litigants the benefits of good lawyering and open up access to justice.
Elizabeth C. Tippett, et al., Does Lawyering Matter? Predicting Judicial Decisions from Legal Briefs, and What That Means for Access to Justice, 100 Tex. L. Rev. 1157 (2022).
Institutional Repository Citation
Elizabeth Tippett, Charlotte Alexander, Karl Branting, Paul Morawski, Carlos Balhana, Craig Pfeifer & Sam Bayer,
Does Lawyering Matter? Predicting Judicial Decisions from Legal Briefs, and What That Means for Access to Justice,
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