On the value of legal representation

Che, Yeon-Koo; Severinov, Sergei

In this paper we investigate how the advice that lawyers provide to their clients affects the disclosure of evidence and the outcome of adjudication, and how the adjudicator should allocate the burden of proof in light of the effect. Despite lawyers' expertise in assessing the evidence, their advice is found to have no effect on adjudication in a broad set of circumstances, if legal advice is costless and the lawyers follow undominated strategies in disclosure. A lawyer's advice can influence the outcome to his client's favor, either if he can credibly advise his client to suppress some favorable evidence or if there is a cost associated with legal advice. The effect is socially undesirable in the former case, but it is desirable in the latter case although the benefit rests on its purely dissipative role as a "money burning" device rather than on his expertise.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Department of Economics, Columbia University
Department of Economics Discussion Papers, 0506-06
Published Here
March 25, 2011


October 2005