One important measure of trial court efficiency is overall case length—that is, the elapsed time from a case’s initial filing to its final disposition. Using a large, recent dataset from nearly 7000 federal civil cases, we find that two variables are particularly useful in predicting overall case length: the total number of attorneys filing an appearance in the case, and the number of authorized judgeships for a given district court. Further, we find a significant and surprising interaction between these two variables, indicating that smaller courts are more efficient than larger courts at processing civil cases when more than three attorneys appear in a case, but that the opposite holds true when three attorneys or fewer appear in a case.
Recommended CitationTeresa Dalton and Jordan M. Singer, Bigger Isn’t Always Better: An Analysis of Court Efficiency Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling, 34 Pace L. Rev. 1169 (2014)
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