Bio

Dane ThorleyMy research explores how the rules, procedures, and practices currently utilized in the U.S. courtroom impact the behavior of judges, attorneys, and parties and how that behavior then influences the implementation and efficacy of those rules. In exploring these issues, I employ my training as a field experimentalist to conduct empirical evaluations that are both informed by the realities of the legal system and methodologically rigorous.

My work covers a number of substantive areas, with a particular focus on court procedure and criminal law. I am currently conducting experiments on judicial recusal, judicial elections, judicial campaign finance, parole hearings, and the efficacy of legal representation. I am also have projects that exploit exogenous assignment of judges to identify the causal impacts of criminal expungement, pretrial detention, and the use of video technology in immigration proceedings.

In addition to my substantive interests, I am passionate about the growing role that randomized field experiments (often called randomized controlled trials, or RCTs) should play in the study and development of law, procedure, and policy. In an article published in the Annual Review of Law and Social Science, I outlined the benefits of field experiments in legal studies, highlighted the few law-focused field experiments that had been conducted, and made proposals as to how our discipline might more fully use this methodology moving forward. I also have papers that explore the legal and ethical concerns of running field experiments in the courtroom and evaluate the increasingly common use of random judicial assignment to make causal claims.

I am currently a PhD candidate with Columbia‚Äôs Political Science Department and a Postdoctorate Fellow in Empirical Law and Policy at Columbia Law School. I have a JD (’17) from Yale Law School, an MPhil (’17) and an MA (’15) in Political Science from Columbia University, and a BS (’12) in Political Science and Korean from Brigham Young University.