Study Shows Most Attorneys Are Liberal
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A recent study demonstrates that the majority of attorneys are liberal in their political leanings, especially if they work at a big law firm.

Summary: A recent study demonstrates that the majority of attorneys are liberal in their political leanings, especially if they work at a big law firm.

A recent study on the beliefs of American attorneys demonstrates that most lean to the left, especially if they work in the 25 largest law firms. WilmerHale won the title of most liberal law firm, followed by Ropes & Gray LLP and ” href=”” target=”_blank”>Perkins Coie LLP.


According to Law360, the study will be published in Harvard Law School’s Journal of Legal Analysis. Authors studied federal campaign contribution numbers and matched the data with attorneys listed in the Martindale Hubbell Legal Director. According to the authors, their review is the most detailed study of the political leanings of American attorneys ever done.

Check out 2014’s listing of the most liberal and most conservative law schools.

The authors stated, “In total, lawyers control two-thirds of the three branches of the federal government. Understanding how this population as a whole behaves is not only descriptively interesting, but also illuminating in terms of understanding the influence wielded by this very significant group.”

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According to Bloomberg, the scale ranged from -2 to +2, with negative scores being liberal and positive scores being conservative. Where a score of zero means an individual is in the middle on political issues, the mean score in the attorney population is -0.31, whereas it is -0.05 for the entire population of donors.

The paper read, “This places the average American lawyer’s ideology close to the ideology of Bill Clinton.”

In 2013, Harvard held a conference to ask whether faculties were too liberal.

Adam Bonica of the Stanford University Department of Political Science, Adam S. Chilton of the University of Chicago Law School, and Maya Sen of Harvard University’s Harvard Kennedy School authored the paper, “The Political Idealogies of American Lawyers.”

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The study measured political beliefs of attorneys and their law firms. The more liberal attorneys tend to work at one of the 25 biggest firms in the country.

After WilmerHale, Ropes & Gray, and Perkins Coie, the most liberal firms are DLA Piper, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Sidley Austin, Hogan Lovells, K&L Gates LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP, and Littler Mendelson PC.

In small or solo practices, most attorneys are left-leaning. However, these firms also have a high percentage of attorneys with center-right scores or are in the middle on more issues than those attorneys who practice at BigLaw firms.

As for law schools, University of California, Berkeley is at the top of the list, reporting the most liberal alumni of the elite schools.

A 2010 study showed that law professors were a liberal group.

At the top six schools—Yale Law School, Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, Columbia Law School, University of Chicago Law School and New York University School of Law—small numbers of conservative graduates were observed. However, the University of Virginia School of Law and Duke University School of Law have a considerable amount of conservative graduates.

Practice areas saw a range in political views as well. For example, entertainment law firms seemed to be significantly more liberal.

The study said that although attorneys seem to lean to the left, a bimodality is observed in their ideologies. There is a spike around the center-left, and a smaller peak at the center-right.

The paper stated, “In other words, the ideology of American lawyers peaks around Bill Clinton on the left and around Mitt Romney on the right.”

Source: Law360

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