Quantitative Legal Services Market Analysis

A trial outcome is the final output of a complex process; complainants, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges each play important roles in determining the character of that output. More precisely, the goals of each of these agents and the nature of their interactions are the determinants of trial output.

By analyzing years of court data, we have been able to estimate the extent to which certain variables influence trial output; using these data as well as insight from economic theory, we were able to build an agent-based model of the LSM. We know both which variables agents care about and how these agents respond to relevant shocks.

An Overview of Our Approach

Whenever we encounter new court data, we start with a few assumptions:

  • Adjudicators only care about empirical facts and procedural rules
  • Prosecutors are sentence maximizers
  • A measure of a complainant's successful prosecution rate is a good proxy for a measure of the strength of the case against a given defendant

We test all of these assumptions using subsets of the data that allow us to control for confounding factors that we would expect to influence trial outcomes even under the above assumptions (e.g. income). The extent to which (1) and (2) are true has obvious implications for trial output. If the adjudicator's (or prosecutorial) decision function includes additional arguments for race or gender, we can identify the existence of the argument and estimate its relative significance.

With respect to (3), if complainants acted to maximize successful prosecutions, we would expect to see comparable prosecution-success rates across complainants assuming constant ability. In reality, we don't see this. If success rates persistently differ over time, this suggests that some complainants are better at accessing the court's decision function than others (or, more sinisterly, complainants are often not trying to maximize successful prosecutions). Whatever the reason, we can find absolute and relative prosecutorial success rates for individual complainants controlling for confounding factors (e.g. Smith only arrests relatively wealthy defendants).

How We Can Help

Our consultancy is built chiefly on two factors: our agent-based model of the legal services market (LSM) and years of court data. We can provide you with a detailed analysis of the LSM focusing on the areas relevant to your practice. In a sentence, we help put our clients in an optimal position to advocate on behalf of their clients.

A typical analysis includes a detailed report of:

  • attorney performance across the LSM
  • defendant outcomes given demographic factors
  • income-controlled defendant outcomes
  • the impact of the complainant on trial outcomes
  • stylized facts gleaned by considering the data within the LSM model

Our analyses are flexible by design; other variables relevant to our clients can easily be added.

Give us a call or send us an email to schedule a meeting or learn more about our services.