Not necessarily indicative of all lawyers

Reader comment on: How Left-Leaning Are Lawyers?

Submitted by Jerry Skurnik (United States), Aug 31, 2015 17:53

The study is only about lawyers who contribute to political campaigns. I'm guessing most lawyers, like most people, don't contribute any money to campaigns. So the study doesn't actually tell us about the political views of all lawyers. I'm not criticizing the authors since there is probably no other practical way to come up with such a study.

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The Future of Capitalism replies:

Good point. This issue is addressed in the text of the paper (pages 15 and 16 of the PDF):

Fortunately, attorneys are extremely active contributors: 422,362 attorneys in Martindale-Hubbell were also listed in DIME. This corresponds to a donation rate of approximately 43.4%. Although this giving rate is very high—about ten times higher than the general U.S. population—it could be the case that those attorneys who donate differ systematically from those who do not. To test for this possibility, we performed several additional analyses that take into account the probability that an attorney identified in Martindale-Hubbell also appeared in DIME, comparing the results using selection corrections with results that do not use such corrections. Although those results are not presented here, they show that the substantive inferences associated with a larger or smaller CFscore are substantively identical when using a selection model versus not using one. We therefore move forward noting that many concerns should be mitigated by (a) the extremely high donor share in the population and (b) the fact that selection models show substantively similar results to what we present here.

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