"Commerce and manufactures can seldom flourish long in any state which does not enjoy a regular administration of justice, in which the people do not feel themselves secure in the possession of their property, in which the faith of contracts is not supported by law, and in which the authority of the state is not supposed to be regularly employed in enforcing the payment of debts from all those who are able to pay." Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Book V, Chap. III.
As the quotation from Adam Smith makes clear, economics systems cannot work without a stable legal system. This course explores the role of law in modern society in three parts:
First, the course reviews some of the modern developments in economics that are relevant for the study of institutions in a fashion that is accessible to lawyers. The goal is to go beyond the simple model and explore the ways that competitive markets can fail.
Second, the market failures provide a basis for legal rules. The second part of the course reviews the role of private law in dealing with market failures.
Finally, we apply these insights to a number of public policy issues - these include intellectual property law, education law, employment law and anti-discrimination policy. The focus is upon evaluating the causal impact of law upon society.
The class is a combination of a lecture (55 minutes) and a class discussion of topic combined with the reading of some background papers (55 minutes). For each discussion, a number of students will be assigned as discussion leaders. Each student is expected to lead at least one discussion session. Students are expected to read the papers for the discussion ahead of class, and to summarize the first hour?s discussion to be submitted the following week.
The class is based upon the lectures and papers. The performance expectations and weight in the final mark are as follows. Course average will be total points gained divided by the total number of points possible. Bonus points are possible with exceptional work.
Class Presentation/Discussion leadership: Each student is expected to lead at least one discussion (usually with another student). Here 10 points is given for the slides for the introduction that are handed in as part of the assignment (10-15 minutes) and 10 points for leading the discussion.
Class Participation: Each week students are expected to submit 200-300 word comment to Courseworks consisting of
1. A summary of the lecture from hour 1 of the previous class, including a discussion of the main point of the class, and what was learned (1 point - 0 points if you did not attend the class or insufficient effort).
2. A question or comment for the class discussion in the current class (1 point).
Term Paper: The student is expected to hand in an 1000-2000 page outline that specifies the issues to be discussed, and sources to be used. This is due before midterm breach - this will constitute 10 points. The final paper is worth 20 points is due last day of classes and should be 10 - 15 pages in length. This paper automatically fulfills the JD Minor Writing Credit requirement.
JD students interested in completing the Major Writing Credit requirement and LLM students wishing to complete the LLM Writing Project requirement with the paper for this seminar should consult with Prof. MacLeod and register accordingly if he agrees to supervise this work. Students wishing to write a longer final paper than is required for the course (e.g., an additional 10 pages), should consult with the instructor and register for the additional point before the end of the Law School?s Add/Drop period. The additional point should be registered as Supervised Research Paper: Course Related (L6689).