Human capital theory suggests that work experience acquired through on-the-job-training primes people to be more successful. Empirical validations of this hypothesis are numerous, but limited evidence of the relevance of human capital for courtroom advocacy exists. We examine whether the outcomes obtained by experienced attorneys are significantly better than the outcomes they would have obtained as novices. Adopting a strategy for credible causal inference that could be applied to almost any peak court, the analysis shows that attorneys with experience, relative to first timers, are significantly and consistently more likely to win their cases and capture the votes of judges.
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