Title

Political Lawyers: The Structure of a National Network

Abstract

Some research on lawyers active in politics has found that the ties among them create networks in which a center or core of influential actors is surrounded by more peripheral participants. Other studies, however, found more segmented networks, sometimes lacking central players. This research examines the structure and determinants of political ties among 47 elite lawyers who served organizations prominent in fourteen national policy issues in 2004-2005. The analysis finds a network structure that resembles a rough circle with Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other. Lawyers affiliated with organizations representing a broad constellation of interests are closer to the center of the network, while those working for specialized or narrow causes tend to be located in the periphery. Ties are more dense among conservatives than among liberals. Lawyers who work as organizational leaders or managers are more likely to be near the center than are litigators. Central actors contribute larger amounts to election campaigns. The organized bar, especially the American Bar Association, appears to provide links between liberals and conservatives in one segment of the network.

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