Hassett, Abigail V. and Kirk A. Randazzo. “Education vs. Experience? Assessing the Impact on Federal Judges”
- Though the choices to pursue clerkships or specific career paths are available to all law students, the federal judiciary is comprised of individuals who graduated from a relatively small pool of law schools. This begs the question of whether it is an individual’s educational background, or their career opportunities, that have a larger influence on judicial appointments; not just in terms of whether an individual receives a nomination, but also the time it takes from graduation to appointment. This paper examines the intersection(s) among law school education, legal career choice(s), and federal judgeships. To examine these potential interactions, we utilize an original dataset of federal judicial positions from 2000-2016. We examine the characteristics of those individuals appointed to positions as well as the larger pool of potential nominees who did not receive nominations. We then employ a combination of selection and duration models to determine the conditions under which law school education and career choices affect the time it takes to receive a federal judicial appointment.