January 27, 2012
Law & Strategy
Posted by Gordon Smith

"The laws of economics explain how people make money. But another kind of law -- written by legislatures, bureaucracies, and courts -- often determines who gets what share."

Make the Rules or Your Rivals Will by Richard Shell is a book about law and strategy. Law professors teach and write about topics like public choice, agency capture, rent seeking, etc., but I don't often hear law professors talking systematically about the use of law for strategic purposes.

We tend to organize our thinking around doctrinal areas and around various legal skills. The systematic study of law and strategy seems different. It is not defined by a particular subject matter or set of skills. Even when we talk about law more generally, we generally do not analyze it through the lens of strategy. 

In simplest terms, the study of law and strategy views the world from the perspective of a business and asks: how can we use law to gain a competitive advantage? This question ought to be of interest to lawyers, but does any law school teach a class on law and strategy?

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