Research

Publications

Cornwell, Erin York, Emily S. Taylor Poppe, and Megan Doherty Bea. 2017.   “Networking in the Shadow of the Law: Informal Access to Legal Expertise through Personal Network Ties.”  Law & Society Review 51(3): 635-68.

Civil legal problems are common in everyday life, but the costs of obtaining legal representation create barriers to legal action and contribute to disparities in access to justice. Some individuals, however, may have informal access to legal assistance through personal network ties with lawyers, enhancing their responses to justiciable problems. In this study, we draw from theories of social capital and network formation to examine the distribution and mobilization of network-based legal expertise. Using nationally representative survey data, we find that network-based access to lawyers is widespread, and most people who have ties to lawyers expect to informally mobilize legal assistance when facing a problem. But people who are most likely to afford formal legal representation are also most likely to have informal access to lawyers. Thus, while informal access to lawyers may shape responses to legal problems, it may also exacerbate inequalities in experiences with civil justice events.

Taylor Poppe, Emily S. 2016. “Homeowner Legal Representation in the Foreclosure Crisis.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 13(4): 809-36. 

The dramatic increase in the number of homeowners entering the foreclosure process over the past decade has been well documented. While some of these cases end in foreclosure, many homeowners are able to secure alternate outcomes. There is reason to believe that legal representation may help homeowners to achieve more favorable outcomes. However, other aspects of the foreclosure process, particularly those instituted to increase court oversight and homeowner participation, may circumscribe the benefits of legal representation. In this article, I investigate whether homeowners with legal representation are more likely to avoid foreclosure than those who are unrepresented, taking into account procedural reforms that might shape the effectiveness of legal representation. Using a representative sample of residential foreclosure cases initiated in New York City between 2007 and 2011, I find that cases where the homeowner has legal representation less frequently end in foreclosure. However, after accounting for the enactment of reforms to the foreclosure process, the probability of foreclosure is not significantly different for cases where the homeowner has legal representation. The results suggest that the characteristics of the foreclosure process may be consequential for the resolution of foreclosure cases and the benefit of legal representation. This research contributes to scholarship on the use and effect of lawyers by considering the role of legal representation for homeowners facing foreclosure in the context of the rapid social and economic changes of the Great Recession.

Taylor Poppe, Emily S. and Jeffrey J. Rachlinski. 2016. “Do Lawyers Matter? The Effect of Legal Representation in Civil Disputes.” Pepperdine Law Review 43(4): 881-944.

With declining law school enrollments, rising rates of pro se litigation, increasing competition from international lawyers and other professionals, and disparaging assessments from the Supreme Court, the legal profession under increasing attack. Recent research suggesting that legal representation does not benefit clients has further fueled an existential anxiety in the profession. Are lawyers needed and do they matter?   In this article we review the existing empirical research on the effect of legal representation on civil dispute outcomes. Although the pattern of results has complexities, across a wide range of substantive areas of law (housing, governmental benefits, family law, employment law, small claims, tax, bankruptcy and torts), professional legal representation is associated with better outcomes for litigants. Only in juvenile court is the benefit of representation unclear.

Morgan, Stephen L. and Emily S. Taylor Poppe. 2015. “A Design and a Model for Investigating the Heterogeneity of Context Effects in Public Opinion Surveys.” Sociological Methodology 45(1): 184-222.

Context effects on survey response, caused by the unobserved interaction between beliefs stored in personal memory and triggers generated by the structure of the survey instrument, are a pervasive challenge to survey research. The authors argue that randomized survey experiments on representative samples, when paired with facilitative primes, can enable researchers to model selection into variable context effects, revealing heterogeneity at the population level. The value of the design, and its associated modeling strategy, is demonstrated by its ability to deepen the interpretation of a treatment effect of international competitiveness framing on long-used items drawn from the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll and the General Social Survey about the quality of schooling in the United States, confidence in the leaders running public education, and support for spending to improve schools.

Morgan, Stephen L. and Emily S. Taylor Poppe. 2012. “The Consequences of International Comparisons for Public Support of K-12 Education: Evidence from a National Survey Experiment.” Educational Researcher 41(7): 262-68.

Candidates for public office in the United States frequently justify their positions on education policy priorities by stating the need to strengthen the nation’s economic competitiveness against new global challengers. In this article, we investigate the consequences of this form of policy motivation for attitudes toward and support of public schooling in the United States. Using a national survey experiment where a two-question prime on international competitiveness is randomized across respondents, we test for differential responses to attitude items that have been included regularly since the 1970s in the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll and the General Social Survey. The results suggest that framing educational policy with the goal of enhancing international competitiveness lowers subjective assessments of the quality of local schooling without increasing interest in additional spending to improve the nation’s education system.

Taylor, Emily S. 2004. “The Havana Club Saga: Threatening More than Just ‘Cuba Coke.’” Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business 24(2): 513-532.

When the family-owned distillery that produced “Havana Club” rum was confiscated by the Cuban government during the communist revolution, it set in motion a chain of events that ultimately led to an epic trademark battle. The legal fight began in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York, was furthered by the passage of a U.S. statutory provision, and ended with an international treaty dispute at the World Trade Organization (WTO). This article traces the dispute’s history and considers the options facing the United States in light of a finding by the Appellate Body of the WTO that the United States is in violation of its treaty obligations. I argue that it is in the United States’ best interests to comply with international agreements governing intellectual property, by repealing the statutory provision designed to influence the fate of the “Havana Club” brand.