Chicago Tribune: Law-Economics Pioneer U. of C. Looks to Push Envelope with New Institute

Law-Economics Pioneer U. of C. Looks to Push Envelope with New Institute

Initiative aims to reinvigorate field that school started 8 decades ago

The University of Chicago Law School is the birthplace of a legal movement that uses the tools of economics to understand the law. This approach has enormously influenced many areas of law, from antitrust to contracts.

Now that the movement has reached middle age and is part of the course offerings at nearly every U.S. law school, the University of Chicago wants to reinvigorate teaching and scholarship in the field.

The law school plans to announce Tuesday that it will establish the Institute for Law and Economics to promote research and teaching among the law, business and economic faculties of the university. The dean of the law school hopes that the new organizational framework around law and economics will create the kind of innovation the school has been known for.

"We're trying to re-create the same bubbling caldron of ideas that gave rise to the first law and economics movement," said Michael Schill, who became dean in January 2010. "It's a very exciting moment for the school."

The institute is the centerpiece of a broader initiative Schill calls "Law and Economics 2.0" that signifies the aspirations of the school. Schill said the law school can be a leader in teaching lawyers and professors in other countries where the law and economics movement has yet to take hold.

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