Document Type


Publication Date



Before making a few remarks in response to those who commented on our article (Lempert, Chambers, and Adams 2000), we would like to express our gratitude to the editors of Law and Social Inquiry for securing these commentaries and to the people who wrote them. The comments both highlight the potential uses to which our research and similar studies may be put and give us the opportunity to address methodological concerns and questions that other readers of our article may share with those who commented on it. The responses to our work are of two types. Professors Nelson, Payne, and Sander focus largely on methodological concerns and the limits of what can be learned from our study. Professors Guinier, Russell, and Wilkins draw on our work to pursue their own themes. Except for clearing up some understandable but nonetheless mistaken impressions of Professor Russell, we shall not discuss the Guinier, Russell, and Wilkins essays, for we think they stand on their own as articles and do not call for a response. For those who may similarly seek to draw on our research, however, we wish to emphasize a point that Professor Sander makes and that is at the heart of Professor Wilkins's important contribution. Our study looks at the graduates of only one law school, a school that is among the most selective and prestigious of American law schools. In comparison to the graduates of most law schools, for example, far more Michigan graduates work in large private firms, and far fewer work as solo practitioners or in very small firms. While we are confident in the general validity of our results as they apply to Michigan graduates and believe that our findings are likely to generalize to graduates of most so-called elite American law schools, our findings cannot be safely generalized to graduates of other law schools. We are not saying that our findings will not generalize beyond the graduates of elite law schools, but we are noting that no strong claim can be made that they will.