LEANZ, Law and Economics in New Zealand

Law and Economics education in the United States

Compiled by Bernard Robertson

USA short courses

The Mises Institute, Auburn, Alabama

Follow link: Mises Institute

Mises offers:

(1) A one week intensive course in Austrian economics designed primarily for economics graduates but will take lawyers with some economics background.  The course occurs in the Summer semester.  The syllabus of the week is heavily concerned with law and economics topics such as the role of the state and market regulation.  A prime attraction for lawyers is that Austrian economists do not go in for maths, statistics or empirical research but base their theories on logical deduction from premises.

(2) A self-study course in Austrian economics, 52 hours of lecture on CD together with a substantial amount of reading material and a shelf of books.  The course can be bought and used at home.  For a substantial fee one can obtain online tuition.

USA postgraduate study

Focussed study of law and economics mainly means study in the US. But LLMs at most US Law Schools simply take the form of attending JD classes. Little special provision is made for LLM students at many law schools.

US News and World Report rates law schools but its attention is entirely on the JD. That is not entirely irrelevant as the top staff will gravitate to the top schools but if no special provision is made for LLM students they may find themselves in JD classes taught mostly by teaching assistants. Another ranking possibly of more interest to post-graduates is available at http://www.leiterrankings.com/faculty/2007faculty_impact.shtml

Most US law schools have a paper called Law and Economics which can be taken in the LLM and/or allow a proportion of the LLM (25 -33% typically) to be taken in appropriate papers from other departments. If this is the only provision for Law and Economics then the school does not get into the list below which is a rough and incomplete ranking of LLMs at US law schools in accordance with perception of the extent to which they make special provision for LLM students and the extent to which Law and Economics is catered for. Comments and suggestions to Bernard.robertson@lexisnexis.co.nz are welcome.


1. links are not provided as too many links leads to problems with sites not working or being transferred. In general universities can be found at www.name.edu. A list of all law school links appears at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/lawschools/nz.php . Usually one then clicks on 'Academics' (which means the programmes not the staff) and then on 'LLM' or 'Advanced degrees' etc.

2. US law schools use 'programs'. This is a New Zealand commentary. The spelling 'program' is only used where the full proper title of a programme is given.

Yale (New Haven, CT)

The Yale LLM is without doubt the most prestigious in the US. Preselection is rigorous, only about 25 students are selected a year and they must indicate their intention to take up academic careers. They act as a cohort in many respects. Focus on law and economics is possible and the school as a whole is permeated with Law and Econ thinking. Up to 25% of the credits may be taken from graduate programmes in other schools, eg economics. LLM graduates can proceed to a one year thesis for a JSD, which can be completed away from Yale. Yale also offers an MSL degree (Master of Studies in Law) a one year degree in law that can be taken by graduates in other disciplines, eg economics.

George Mason (Washington DC for practical purposes)

Offers an LLM in Law and Economics (and an LLM in Intellectual Property). George Mason Economics Department is a hotbed of Austrian Economics. The Law School is co-located with the Mercatus Centre and the Institute of Humane Studies. The LLM syllabus includes papers on economic foundations, public choice, a number of law and economics electives and some free choice of electives from the JD. Conjoint LLB and economics graduates can take joint LLM/MA or LLM/PhD programmes in law and economics, and economics graduates can take the joint JM/PhD, the JM being like a Yale MSL. If you want to study Law'n'economics as opposed to economic analysis of law, this is the place. George Mason law school has risen steadily up the US News and World Report rankings in recent years and scores even more highly in the Leiter scholarly impact survey. George Mason law school also offers Levy Fellowships which enable economics PhDs to take a full three year JD on a stipend, see the LEANZ Home Page.

Vanderbilt (Nashville, TN)

The Southern equivalent of Ivy League. Has a specialized PhD programme in law and economics. LLM students are assigned to an individual staff member with whom they work out first the subject matter of a dissertation and then what seminars or classes will support that dissertation. A law and economics syllabus can be worked out. There is also a two-year LLM in Law and Business which is heavily oriented to topics of interest to law and economics students and a joint LLM/MA in Latin American studies which can be taken with an economics focus.

Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University (Medford MA)

The Fletcher School offers a two year MA in Law and Diplomacy and a one year LLM. Working knowledge of a second language is required. The MA specialises in public and private international law. At least one paper has to be taken from each of the areas of Law, Economics, and International Relations, but the latter area includes papers on international political economy, the functioning of international economic institutions and so on. By combining relevant papers with an appropriate thesis one can effectively gain a degree in law and economics and in international law or in international economics. The LLM offers three specializations, one of which, International Economic Law, is a law and economics syllabus. Progress to PhD is possible.

New York University (New York City, NY)

NYU has recently benefited from acquiring Professor Richard Epstein (and New Zealander Jeremy Waldron).  NYU has a long tradition of Austrian economics, especially in the economics department.  NYU offers specialisations in Competition Law, Innovation and Intellectual Property which is a law and economics syllabus with a choice of concentrations in competition law or intellectual property.  There are also specialisations in Legal Theory and International Taxation which can be given a law and economics orientation.  The Centre of Law, Economics and Organisation organises several papers and offers support for students interested in focussing on law and economics in their LLM syllabuses.  The Jean Monnet Centre for International Economic Law and Justice also offers papers in World Trade Organisation law, EU trade law and related topics.

Berkeley (University of California)

The Berkeley Centre for Law, Business and the Economy runs a Program in Law and Economics which provides a focus for LLM students who wish to take a number of law and econ oriented papers as well as sponsoring research seminars. The Centre also has some planned joint degree programmes for conjoint LLB and economics graduates such as the LLM/PhD in economics.

Columbia (New York City, NY)

Columbia's Centre for Law and Economic Studies sponsors research and conferences and also has some funding for LLM and JSD candidates who wish to work in law and economics. LLM students would be expected to take law and econ oriented JD papers and to take some credits in economics courses. JSD candidates need to be writing a dissertation on a subject of interest to the centre. The scheme assumes a need on the part of law graduates to spend time on economics course work, so a joint LLB/Economics graduate may be at an advantage.

Stanford (Palo Alto, CA)

The West Coast equivalent of Ivy League. There are two LLM programmes, the LLM in Law, Science and Technology and the LLM in Corporate Governance and Practice, both offering many papers of interest to law and economics students. LLM students at Stanford can attend the Law and Economics programme research seminars and earn credits toward their LLM. Only about 10 LLM students are enrolled in each programme each year. Potential academics who want to proceed to the JSD have to take their masters degree through the Stanford Program in International Legal Studies leading to a JSM degree.

Harvard (Cambridge, MA)

Some 150 students take the Harvard LLM each year, making it quite different in character from any other US LLM. Students attend JD classes which are often taught by teaching assistants rather than the professor in charge. Harvard has all the advantages and disadvantages of size. There is a huge range of papers on offer and so it is possible to focus on law and economics. There is a general Economic Analysis of Law paper and a quantitative paper as well as specific papers on competition law etc. Law and economics students can also attend the law and economics research seminars and earn credit for attendance. There is a heavy public policy bent to the teaching in both law and economics and a relationship with the Kennedy School of Government. The top students can proceed to SJD by thesis.

Virginia (Richmond, VA)

The Program in Law and Economics runs regular research seminars which LLM students can attend but not credit and also a few two week intensive seminars each year taught by visitors from other universities which can be credited to the LLM.

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