While the firm maintains a widely varied, general practice, our most distinctive area of service is in the field of law and economics. In recent decades, this field has developed primarily as an academic discipline among legal scholars. These scholars have explained many otherwise puzzling legal rules as attempts to achieve economic efficiency, and have gone on to analyze many more accepted legal rules under that same criterion of economic efficiency.
Law and Economics can also be an important tool for handling current legal cases. When difficult legal questions are involved, courts may seek a deciding factor in the case’s policy implications, including its economic implications. In such cases, the same techniques that scholars use to analyze the economic consequences of legal rules can play a role in persuading the court.
Certain areas of the law explicitly incorporate economic analysis. For instance, the antitrust laws have been held to prohibit “unreasonable” restraints of trade, and the social economic efficiency of a restraint has been held to be a major factor in determining its reasonability. The economic incentives for creativity are an explicit part of the rationale for the patent and copyright laws, and the effect on the market for a copied product is a major factor in assessing whether the copying is “fair use” or a copyright infringement.
Even in more general types of cases, the injury at issue quite often results from economic decisions or takes the form of economic losses. Whether, how, and to what extent a claimant has been injured may then be a question of economics, so that an economic approach can be useful in formulating a claim or defense, or in quantifying damages.