I have really enjoyed my time here at the ELS blog. For my final post, I want to give a plug for what
I hope will soon be a mainstream law school course and an important area of research
for law professors: “The economics and sociology of the legal profession.”
In 2004, I taught a course at Indiana entitled “The Law Firm as a Business Organization” (website and syllabus here.) In preparing the course, I discovered that the socio-legal literature—much of it empirical—is an inexhaustible supply of high quality materials for showing students (a) the economic and social structure of the legal profession, and (b) how it has changed, and will continue to change, over time. In short, existing social science can be used to help students make more careful, informed career decisions. Similarly, numerous alumni, several of whom visited my class, have expressed a strong interest in empirical work on lawyers. (Amidst the rapid pace of change, that should not be surprising.) With the aid of ELS, here is an opportunity for the academy to re-engage with the profession.
To further this agenda, I have organized an email list of approximately 100 scholars from a wide array of disciplines who have written in a field I dub “The Economics and Sociology of the Legal Profession.” This year, the list produced eight panels for the 2006 Law & Society Annual Meeting in Baltimore (July 6-9). I hope many ELS Blog readers will be interested in attending. Please contact me if you want to be added to the email list. Eventually, it may turn into a Law & Society Collaborative Research Network.