Law7782 - Quantitative Methods

LAW7782 - Quantitative Methods

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Several recent developments over the last decade have led to the increasing importance of quantitative methods in legal practice and research. These developments include the accessibility of big data in the private and public sectors; the development of algorithms in criminal justice, electoral, and corporate settings to predict recidivism, fraud, and stock price movements; the use of statistics in employment and other discrimination claims; and the use of large DNA databases for inculpatory or exculpatory evidence. Against this backdrop, lawyers are being asked more often than ever before to understand empirical methods whether they are preparing a motion or brief, cross-examining experts in the courtroom, or evaluating the effect of a law in a legal or policy setting. The purpose of this course is to equip future practicing lawyers with the skills necessary to be an informed consumer of statistics. These skills include general numeracy (table and graph reading skills, sensitivity of numerical estimates, basics of spreadsheets), descriptive statistics, basic probability, hypothesis testing, regression, and experimental methods. Assignments will include problem sets and a group project. The course is intended for students with little or no quantitative background.