The Growth of Interdisciplinary Research and the Industrial Structure of the Production of Legal Ideas: A Reply to Judge Edwards

This brief response will attempt to repair these various deficiencies, though only in part because of the difficulty of the subject. It will try to explain more fully the rise of interdisciplinary legal research and will sketch the broader structure of the production and dissemination of new ideas about law and the legal system. The relationship between legal education and legal practice implicates an understanding of the “market” for legal ideas. To describe ideas as the subject of a “market,” of course, has become conventional. In my view, however, the market metaphor most typically distorts our understanding of the issue, because few of the typical characteristics of economic markets are present in the dissemination of ideas. This essay will try to approach a description of a market, nevertheless, by illustrating similarities between the production of legal ideas within law schools and the bar and the production of intellectual property in more familiar industrial contexts. The description will be far from comprehensive, but it will suggest that the alleged “disjunction” between legal education and practice, the focus of Judge Edwards’ essay as well as of my own earlier writing, does not adequately account for the broader process at work. The essay will also suggest that many of the developments in modern legal education that Judge Edwards so severely criticizes11 actually support, rather than conflict with, the broader values that he espouses.