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Lawyers of the Right: Networks and Organization (WP-06-07)

Anthony Paik, Ann Southworth, and John P. Heinz

Lawyers for conservative and libertarian causes are active in organizing and mobilizing interest groups within the conservative coalition, and networks of relationships among those lawyers help to maintain and shape the coalition. Using data gathered in interviews with 72 such lawyers, the working paper analyzes characteristics of the lawyers and the structure of their networks. The findings suggest that the networks are divided into segments or blocks that are identified with particular constituencies, but that a distinct set of actors with an extensive range of relationships serves to bridge the constituencies. Measures of centrality and brokerage confirm the structural importance of these actors in the network, and a search of references in news media confirms their prominence or prestige. This “core” set of actors occupies the “structural hole” in the network that separates the business constituency from religious conservatives. Libertarians, who are located near the core of the network, also occupy an intermediate position. Causal analysis of the formation of ties within the network suggests that the Federalist Society has played an important role in bringing the lawyers together.

Anthony Paik, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Iowa

Ann Southworth, Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University

John P. Heinz, Owen L. Coon Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University

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