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Once considered fairly exotic, the appearance of mathematical formulae in legal cases and scholarly literature has now become relatively commonplace. One would not have predicted this development from the phenomenon's humble beginnings. The earliest attempts at quantification were nothing more than simple calls to compile more accurate statistics. Such efforts led the Harvard Law Review in 1930 to quote with apparent approval a book editor, who lamented the "absence of current criminal statistics" and argued that "[t]he time is rapidly approaching ... when. . . every specialist in educational research must at the same time be a statistician."

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