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Judges facing exogenous constraints on their pecuniary income have an incentive to reduce their workload to increase their private welfare. In the face of an increase in caseload, this incentive will induce judges to attempt to terminate some cases more rapidly. In class action cases, failing to grant an attorney fee request will delay termination. This conflict is likely to lead judges to authorize higher fees as court congestion increases. Using two data sets of class action settlements, we show that attorney fees are significantly and positively related to the congestion level of the court hearing the case.


Courts, Torts, Legal Profession

Publication Title

Journal of Legal Studies

Publication Citation

36 J. Legal Stud. 171 (2007).