Law and Economics Courses

Course Name Number Cr. Description
Advanced Economic Foundations 123 2 The point of view for this course comes from Law and Economics which studies how legal systems, and subsequent decisions, promote economic efficiency. In this course we first examine the process of inter-temporal voluntary exchange as an important source of market inefficiency. We then examine how private treaty solutions, such as reputations, sanctions and exclusion, attempt to overcome this inefficiency. The course then proceeds from the assumption that the law should act incrementally to maximize the gains from exchange by working with and improving on private solutions. At the same time we assume that the legal process is subject to rent seeking, within, by legal professionals, and without, by regulatory capture. This susceptibility implies a need for checks and balances on how the law is used and leads to the recognition that society must be willing to limit the scope of the law as an instrumental tool for social justice.
Advanced Securities: Law and Economics of Investment Management 275 3 This course examines the law and economics of investment advisors, investment companies, mutual funds, and pension funds. These institutions currently manage a large and rapidly increasing share of America's wealth, and further expansion is especially likely with the growing impetus to privatize social security. Yet little is known about their internal organization, the critical contracting and property rights issues they face in financial markets, or the sources of regulation that influence them under the Securities Exchange Act (1934), the Investment Advisors Act (1940), the Investment Company Act (1940), or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (1974). The course will use basic financial theory and property rights analysis to examine the law that shapes these increasingly vital institutions, with the objective of understanding their internal organization and external environment. This course is an elective in the Corporate and Securities Track. Financial Theory recommended but not required.
Antitrust 156 3 This course examines judicial doctrines, enforcement guidelines, and policies relating to competition as a means of ordering private economic behavior. Specific topics include agreements involving competitors, dominant firm behavior, joint ventures, mergers, distribution, practices, and international competition policy.
Bankruptcy 167 3 Studies legal, economic, and social issues in bankruptcy through a survey of the Bankruptcy Code and the previous Bankruptcy Act. Considers bankruptcy liquidation and reorganization, as well as the role of the courts and trustees in the bankruptcy process.
Comparative Constitutional Law 346 3 In a world of increasing global interaction it is critical for American lawyers to understand the legal systems of other nations. This course will introduce students to comparative legal methods with an emphasis on comparative constitutional law. It will examine the general features of common and civil law systems, their underlying principles, and the scope of their constitutional protections. It will focus in particular on British and Canadian common law, French and German civil law, and examine the impact of European Union law on member states.
Economic Foundations of Legal Studies 108 3 This course exposes students to a broad survey of economic, statistical, finance and accounting concepts in which those concepts play a crucial role in determining the outcome of legal disputes. Students will not become expert in these technical areas but will be exposed to both the mechanics and subtleties of these tools. The goal is to educate and train students so that they will be better prepared to understand a dispute, craft an argument, or prepare a witness.
Economics of Private Law Seminar 420 2 This course is identical to Law 374 with the exception that it is conducted as a Seminar and will require a seminar paper.
Environmental Law 218 3 This course covers numerous substantive areas in environmental law, while exploring the theme that environmental law is perhaps the most significant area of the law where structural constitutional questions of federalism and the separation of powers regularly arise. After explaining some of the background constitutional provisions in the environmental area, such as the Commerce Clause, the Spending Clause, and Takings, we turn to analyzing particular statutory areas: (1) the Clean Air Act (a greater area of focus as the first complex regulatory statute encountered); (2) the Clean Water Act; (3) NEPA; (4) RCRA; (5) CERCLA; and (6) the Endangered Species Act. We also spend several class units on recurring administrative law issues in environmental law and on the topic of environmental enforcement. Modes of statutory and regulatory interpretation are also an important class theme.
Law and Economics Colloquium 208 2 This is an advanced course that will bring together outside scholars, resident faculty, and GMUSL students for discussion of cutting-edge research papers in the law and economics tradition. Approximately two of every three weeks will feature a leading scholar presenting a paper growing out of his or her research in the law and economics tradition. On weeks for which there is no outside speaker, the seminar will meet to review prior workshops and to discuss papers to be presented in later sessions. Students must write short critiques of the papers and are expected to engage in the discussion. The critiques are due at the beginning of each workshop.
Law and Economics of Financial Regulation Seminar 468 2 This course will focus on the laws and regulations governing the securities, banking, and commodities markets. It will also introduce students to public policy debates in the financial regulatory context, applying public choice theory, cost-benefit analysis, the behavioral bias literature and empirical methods to debates about financial regulatory implementation.
Litigation and Dispute Resolution Theory 205 3 Provides the cornerstone of the Litigation Law track. It introduces the theory and practice of litigation and other forms of dispute resolution, and draws upon the basic tools of decision theory, game theory, and economic analysis to address some of the key features of the litigation process and its institutions. Among the topics addressed are the decision to commence litigation and whether to settle or go to trial; settlement negotiations; strategic behavior as affecting decision making by both private actors and the courts; economic analyses of litigation; agency or moral hazard problems presented by both lawyers and courts; the impact of attorney's fee arrangements, fee-shifting rules, and court-imposed sanctions; party versus court control of proceedings; and the effect of enforcement costs on competing substantive legal rules.
Perspectives on Regulation 289 2-3 This course introduces students to regulatory institutions and the political economy of regulatory processes. With this foundation, students will examine current or proposed regulation and the costs, benefits, and incentives they create.
Perspectives on the Individual, Family, and Social Institutions 344 2-3 Wealth (capital) creation and transmission in the context of the individual rather than the firm unifies this sequence. Wealth, in the broad sense considered here, means not only the person's accumulation of financial assets but also his or her earning capacity, moral values and contributions to society. Although much of the approach will be law-and-economics based, other disciplines will necessarily inform the discussion as well. Biology, sociology, political science, history, and philosophy all will play a part.
Products Liability 296 2 Discusses the historical development of product liability as a branch of contracts, through express and implied warranties, and of torts, through abnormally dangerous activities, joint tortfeasors, and industry-wide liability. Students address the benefits and costs of such a system in economic and legal terms. Proposals for federal and state legislation are also considered.
Public Choice and Public Law Seminar 445 3

Provides students with a critical introduction to and analysis of public-choice and social-choice literature and relates covered concepts to actual cases, statutes, and legal doctrines. Covered topics will include structural and evolutionary analyses of state and federal legislative decision-making processes; structural and evolutionary analyses of judicial decision-making processes, including the doctrines of stare decisis and justiciability; evaluating public choice and social choice based proposals to expand the reach of federal judicial review; examining the proper role, if any, of interest group theory in constitutional and statutory interpretation; delineating the spheres of public and private law; examining the role of public choice and social choice in developing a structural analysis of separation of powers and federalism; and evaluating the competing roles of efficiency and cycling on the evolution of legal doctrine. Specific coverage may vary from year to year.

Regulated Industries 315 2 Surveys the legal and economic foundations of the various forms of regulation. The origin and development of both economic and social regulation are analyzed.
Sports Law 392 2 This course combines three distinct elements of the modern sports world. First, it provides an introduction to the basics of sports law, e.g., the rules governing the operation of a professional league; regulation of the NCAA and the eligibility rules for amateur athletes; the fundamentals of Title IX and gender equity; and the role of the sports agent. Second, it covers two critical issues typically treated in a more advanced course on sports law, i.e., the role played by antitrust law and labor law with respect to professional sports. Third, it lays out the financial and economic issues that differentiate the business of sports (amateur as well as professional) from any other business model. Advanced knowledge of economics is not required in order to take and perform well in the course. The fundamental economic principles that are relevant are intuitive and easily understood, and will be thoroughly explained in class.
Unincorporated Business Entities 339 2 This course is intended to be a modern successor to Agency and Partnership. The course focuses on general and limited partnerships as well as several relatively new business forms: limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships, limited liability limited partnerships, business trusts and unincorporated nonprofits. The course covers the theoretical, legal and business context of unincorporated firms, including choice of form considerations and exercises in drafting governance documents and statutes. Live examples will be drawn upon, and periodic guests will be drawn upon to supplement and enrich the classroom dialogue and learning experience.