“I Went to Law School so I Wouldn’t Have to do Math!”
Adam Dees, J.
Many attorneys, at one time or another, have heard that old joke. But is that premise correct? Although math permeates the law, and somewhat vice versa, attorneys, (outside tax preparers and estate planning attorneys), seldom discuss the implications mathematics has on our profession. Trough the course of 2018, the KBA Journal will feature articles from a cadre of attorneys that regularly use math. From calculating child support to determining patent infringements to dealing with economic development, attorneys from all legal realms regularly use math.
Mathematical and logical thinking is all but required to enter law school. Te Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT) is replete with it.1 Laws and contracts are replete with “if, then” statements; statements of A=B, B=C, therefore A=C. Symbolic logic can win the day with court arguments; it can enhance contract drafting and create clear, crisp legislation.2 Symbolic logic may yet be used to push the law where it has not gone.
Why, then, do we hesitate to discuss this? Oliver Roeder, in his recent article “Te Supreme Court is Allergic to Math,” asserts “Te Supreme Court does not compute.”3 He argues for a top-down approach to using quantitative evidence, math and statistics. He requests that the U.S. Supreme Court begin looking towards quantitative evidence, math and statistics, and claims that lower courts will follow suit. Under stare decisis, this approach has merit. And yet, before the Supreme Court can hear the quantitative evidence, that evidence must first be presented to the district and appellate courts. Only then can mathematical and quantitative evidence flow to the Supreme Court for review.
Rather than arguing about how mathematics should be used in the court room, board rooms, and places of governance, this series will demonstrate how math is being used today throughout the legal community. In doing so, we expand the application of mathematics, as society, the law, and calculations advance.
Moreover, as education focuses more and more on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), continuing this...