Law new focuses on ways to grow the practice of law. The concept has many benefits, including increasing revenue and enhancing client satisfaction. Law firms need to explore this opportunity and make it a core part of their strategy.
One of the concerns sounded against the idea of “law new” is that it would transform legal scholarship into something less like law and more like social science or public policy. But this objection reflects a misunderstanding of the project. While it may indeed change the nature of legal academics’ work, a rethinking of the structure and organization of legal scholarship will not turn it into a different kind of discipline. Nor will it eliminate the need for legal scholarship to rely on traditional methodologies.
Instead, the goal of law new is to rethink the assumptions that underlie current scholarship, and to use those assumptions to restructure it to meet the needs of legislators and administrators. These decisionmakers do not operate from a point of view that assumes the existence of universal, transcendental principles, nor do they see law as a moral sys tem. They deal with particular situations and specific problems, and they are not bound to a case-by-case adjudication. They are also free to adopt a broad or global approach.
When scholars make the effort to frame their prescriptions in terms of such a perspective, and to speak to the concerns of legislative or administrative decisionmakers, they will have to take on a similar initiative. They will have to anticipate issues, and offer statutory or administrative solutions, rather than responding to them after the fact.
Moreover, a global or wide-ranging approach to the law requires a certain degree of cross-disciplinarity. To understand how a particular piece of legislation or regulation works, it will be necessary to consult studies conducted by political scientists, sociologists, and economists, and to use techniques from these disciplines. The same is true of studies of how previous laws have operated, and the structure of enforcement mechanisms. In this respect, law new is no more “revolutionary” than the development of law schools from pure trade schools to the academies of today.