Thomas S. UlenThomas S. Ulen

Thomas S. Ulen, Legal Scholarship and the Practice of Law, in: WALDBUR-GER/SESTER/PETER/BAER (Hrsg.), Law & Economics – Festschrift für Peter Nobel zum 70. Geburtstag, Bern 2015, 93-114.


Prof. Dr. Peter Nobel celebrated his seventieth birthday on 17 July 2015. To mark this special occasion, friends and colleagues came together to congratulate him. On this occasion, he was presented with the commemorative publication, “Liber Amicorum”, which is comprised of 32 essays by various legal scholars and practitioners. One of these contributions is an essay by Thomas S. Ulen entitled “Scholarship and the Practice of Law”. The six thematic blocks reflect the main focus and the special understanding of the St. Gallen approach to Law and Economics, which was significantly influenced by Peter Nobel – namely, both as interlocking theories and methods of the two disciplines and as a pragmatic, holistic approach to regulatory issues and structural questions for markets and companies.


His contribution is an essay he published in Switzerland. Prof. Dr. Thomas S. Ulen articulates some general propositions about the relationship between what is taught in law school and the practice of law.

He also explains what he perceives to be the connections between various areas of law and economics and legal practice. He attempts to offer a taxonomy of the areas that have and have not been affected by Law and Economics and speculates about the reasons for the differences. He concludes his essay with suggestions about why and in what way Law and Economics may have had a more profound impact on legal practice than we might have noticed.

Those who work within a legal academy may have been looking in the wrong place. They have not seen much judicial use of the legal scholarly innovations of law and economics and of the social and behavioral sciences.

Prof. Ulen emphasizes that we are not in a position to test whether law and economics has equipped lawyers with better lawyering skills. But certainly, we will be able to measure that change in the future. In the meantime, the marvelous scholarly innovations that are continuing within the legal academic field – such as in behavioral law, economics and empirical legal studies – are certain to provide not only more exciting intellectual fare but also some important guidance to practitioners and other legal decision makers.


You can find a scan (PDF) of the original text here: Ulen Thomas S. – Legal Scholarship and the Practice of Law