ssrn-id642863 - DRAFT Comment Draft Do not cite without...

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1 DRAFT 9/10/2005 Comment Draft -- Do not cite without permission [email protected] T HE W EB OF L AW Thomas A. Smith H Understanding networks is crucial to many sciences, from physics and biology, 1 to economics 2 and sociology. 3 Yet one of the largest, most accessible, and best documented human-created networks in existence – the centuries-old network of cases and other legal authorities where lawyers discover the law on any given topic – has received much less attention than other, less consequential networks. The legal citation network, 4 what I call H Professor of Law, University of San Diego. Special thanks to LexisNexis, without whose very generous help and skills, this article would not have been possible. Jane W. Morris, Director, Customer Programs, and Mike Colangelo, Senior Software Engineer, both of LexisNexis, made the empirical part of this project possible with their invaluable assistance. I am also grateful to Professor Kwan-Liu Ma and Michael Ogawa of the Department of Computer Science, University of California, Davis, and Tim Yost, Consulting Software Engineer, LexisNexis, for their ongoing work on the visualization dimension of this project. Thanks to Larry Solum for many helpful comments and encouragement, and to Bob Hillman for his suggestions and tough questions. Thanks to Albert-László Barabási, Michael Rappaport, Ethan Katch, Laurence Lessig, Judge Richard A. Posner, David Post, Brett McDonald, Lior Strahilevitz, and Cosma Shaliz for useful comments. The opinions, inventions, conjectures and conclusions, as well as any errors, in this article are solely the author’s own, and not those of LexisNexis, or any of those who provided suggestions or comments. This article is dedicated to TI. © 2004-5 Thomas A. Smith. 1 Albert-László Barabási* & Zoltán N. Oltvai, Network Biology: Understanding the Cell’s Functional Organization , N ATURE R EVIEWS G ENETICS 5, 101-113 (2004). 2 Wataru Souma, Yoshi Fujiwara and Hideaki Aoyama, Complex networks and economics , 324 P HYSICA A 396 (200x). 3 L INTON F REEMAN , T HE D EVELOPMENT OF S OCIAL N ETWORK A NALYSIS : A S TUDY IN THE S OCIOLOGY OF S CIENCE 2004; C HARLES K ADUSHIN , I NTRODUCTION TO S OCIAL N ETWORK T HEORY (2004). 4 Citations studies of law constitute a significant literature. Very few, however, concentrate on the overall shape of the legal network. The leading articles in this literature certainly include Gregory A. Caldeira, On the Reputation of State Supreme Courts , 1983 P OLITICAL B EHAVIOR 83; Gregory A. Caldeira, The Transmission of Legal Precedent: A Study of State Supreme Courts , 79 A MER . P OL . S CI . R EV . 178 (1985) (explanations of citation patterns among state courts); Gregory A. Caldeira, Legal precedent: Structures of communication between state supreme courts , 10 S OCIAL N ETWORKS 29 (1988) (clustering analysis of networks of state appellate courts); Bradley C. Canon and Lawrence Baum, Patterns of Adoption of Tort Law Innovations: An Application of Diffusion Theory to Judicial Doctrines , 75 A MER . P OL . S CI . R EV . 975
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