Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lawyers’ salaries in private sector impact whether federal attorneys take drug cases to trial

26.10.2005


Rice University economist cites importance of needing trial experience

Assistant U.S. attorneys in districts with high private salaries are more likely to take a drug-trafficking case to trial than are assistant attorneys in districts with low private salaries, according to a study by economists at Rice University and Colgate University that is published in the October issue of the Journal of Law and Economics.

"Regional differences in private lawyer salaries affect whether cases prosecuted by assistant U.S. attorneys are tried in court rather than settled through a plea bargain," said Richard Boylan, associate professor of economics at Rice University in Houston.



"In high-salary districts, governmental salaries are not competitive relative to the private sector," he said. "As a result, positions of federal prosecutors are often sought by lawyers who want the trial experience needed to secure employment in large, high-paying law firms in the private sector."

Co-authors Boylan and Cheryl Long, assistant professor of economics at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y., based their findings on a review of all federal drug-related cases prosecuted between 1994 and 1998. The data used for the study was limited to 8,769 cases in which the defendants were suspected of drug trafficking and in which evidence of drugs beings seized during the arrest was documented. The researchers had to track down the career paths of more than 1,000 private practice lawyers who had prior experience as U.S. assistant attorneys. The researchers gathered the data at Washington University when Boylan was a faculty member and Long was a student there.

"Lawyers get more trial practice as assistant attorneys than as private lawyers," Boylan said. "If you work in the top private practice, it’s very hard to get trial experience. If you’re a client who can afford to hire a top private law firm, you’re likely to get the more senior lawyers to do the actual trying of the case because you don’t want an attorney who has never tried a case before."

Boylan and Long concluded that some lawyers will work for the government as assistant attorneys so they can take a case to trial and get the courtroom experience that will make them attractive to private firms. "The same lawyer is going to try more cases while they’re a federal prosecutor than when they’re in private practice," Boylan said.

The researchers found that assistant U.S. attorneys in high-salary districts tend to have higher turnover rates, and the discrepancy in salary suggests the motive. Boylan noted, for example, that the starting salary for a highly regarded large private practice in New York City might be $140,000, and an assistant attorney’s salary in the same city might be only $50,000 to $60,000. Salaries in large law firms tend to be higher than in smaller law firms, and attorneys with the most trial experience join larger law firms.

Since lawyers in high-salary districts seek government employment as a means of accumulating trial experience, the private-sector opportunities enable the government to attract lawyers of higher ability, Boylan said. He noted that these findings might have implications for other government employees besides federal prosecutors.

"When government salary is lower than in the private sector, individuals may view the government position as an opportunity to accumulate the human capital that benefits their future careers in the private sector," he said. "As a result, government output may be skewed toward activities that improve employees’ opportunities in the private sector. In the context of the federal criminal justice system, government output may be skewed toward more trials in districts with high private salaries."

B.J. Almond | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht How Strong Brands Translate into Money
15.11.2016 | Kühne Logistics University - Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Logistik und Unternehmensführung

nachricht Demographic change depresses tax revenues
04.11.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>