George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Second Annual Henry G. Manne Law & Economics Conference, “Unlocking the Law: Building on the Work of Larry Ribstein”

Event Details

Program Description:  In a series of influential and provocative articles, Professor Larry Ribstein examined the forces behind the recent upheaval in the market for legal services.  These forces included increased global competition, changes in the demand for legal services resulting from the expanded role of the in-house counsel, and the expanded use of technology.  His analysis showed that changes in the market for legal services were not just the result of a cyclical downturn in the economy.  Rather, the profound changes in the market reflected building competitive pressures that exposed the flaws in the business model used by large firms to provide legal services.  His recent writings also examined the broader implications of this upheaval for legal education, the private production of law, and whether legal innovation will be hindered by or hasten the demise of the current system of professional regulation of lawyers.

Professor Ribstein passed away suddenly on December 24, 2011.  In the wake of the terrible loss of their close friend and colleague, Professors Henry Butler and Bruce Kobayashi (along with several other colleagues at Mason Law) have decided to honor Larry through a conference designed to capture and expand on the spirit of Larry’s recent work.  The Unlocking the Law Conference seeks to advance these goals by inviting legal scholars to present their views and engage in a vibrant discussion about the present and future of the market for legal services. The panels at this conference will showcase 14 papers written specifically for this occasion and presented to the public for the first time.

For background information, you might want to visit Truth on the Market, which held an online symposium on this topic on September 19 and 20, 2011.



The Future of Legal Services and Legal Education

Henry G. Manne, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ave Maria School of Law; Dean Emeritus, George Mason University School of Law

How the Structure of Universities Determined the Fate of American Legal Education

John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law
An Undergraduate Option for Legal Education

Deregulating Legal Services

Richard A. Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Big Law and Big Med: The Deprofessionalization of Legal and Medical Services

Gillian K. Hadfield, Richard L. and Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law and Professor of Economics, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
The Cost of Law: Promoting Access to Justice Through the Corporate Practice of Law

Nuno Garoupa, Professor and H. Ross and Helen Workman Research Scholar, University of Illinois College of Law; Co-Director, Illinois Program on Law, Behavior, and Social Science
Globalization and Deregulation of Legal Services

Law Firms and Competition Between Lawyers

William D. Henderson, Professor of Law and Van Nolan Faculty Fellow, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Director, Center on the Global Legal Profession
From Big Law to Lean Law

Benjamin H. Barton, Professor of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law
A Glass Half Full Look at the Changes in the American Legal Market

Daniel Currell, Executive Director, Legal & Risk Compliance Practice, CEB, Inc.

M. Todd Henderson, Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School
Will Lawyers Be in the Driver’s Seat?

Reputation, Fiduciary Duties, and Agency Costs

Clifford Winston, Senior Fellow, Economics Studies, Brooking Institution
An Exploration of Price Competition Among Lawyers

Michael H. Bradley, F.M. Kirby Professor of Investment Banking Emeritus, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

Mitu Gulati, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law

Irving A. De Lira Salvatierra, Graduate Student, Department of Economics, Duke University
Lawyers: The Gatekeepers of the Soverign Debt Market?

Jason Scott Johnston, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law and Nicholas E. Chimicles Research Professor in Business Law and Regulation, University of Virginia School of Law
Consumer Protection in the New World of Commoditized and Unbundled Legal Products
From Nudges to Mandates: Dodd-Frank Mortgage Regulation as Case Study

Private Lawmaking and Adjudication

Robert G. Bone, G. Rollie White Teaching Excellence Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law
Decentralizing the Lawmaking Function: Should There Be Intellectual Property Rights in Law?

Barry E. Adler, Bernard Petrie Professor of Law and Business and Associate Dean for Information Systems and Technology, New York University School of Law
Lawyers as Lawmakers, Privilege and Agency

Erin O’Hara O’Connor, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Law, Vanderbilt University Law School

Peter B. Rutledge, Herman E. Talmadge Chair of Law, University of Georgia Law School
Arbitration, the Law Market, and the Law of Lawyering


The symposium issue of the International Review of Law and Economics has been published. It is Vol. 38, Supplement (June 2014). It can be found here:

Papers published are:

Butler, Henry N., and Kobayashi, Bruce H., “Unlocking the Law: Building on the Work of Larry E. Ribstein.”


Henderson, William D., “From Big Law to Lean Law.”

Curled, Daniel, and Henderson, M. Todd, “Can Lawyers Stay in the Driver’s Seat?”

Barton, Benjamin, H., “A Glass Half Full Look at the Changes in the American Legal Market.”


Hadfield, Gillian K., “The Cost of Law: Promoting Access to Justice Through the (Un)corporate Practice of Law.”


Epstein, Richard A., “Big Law and Big Med: The Deprofessionalization of Legal and Medical Services.”


Garoupa, Nuno, “Globalization and Deregulation of Legal Services.”


O’Connor, Erin O’Hara, and Rutledge, Peter B., “Arbitration, the Law Market, and the Law of Lawyering.”


Manne, Henry G., “How the Structure of Universities Determined the Fate of American Legal Education.”


McGinnis, John O., and Mangas, Russell D., “An Undergraduate Option for Legal Education.”


Bone, Robert G., “Decentralizing the Lawmaking Function: Private Lawmaking Markets and Intellectual Property Rights in Law.”


Adler, Barry E., “Lawyers as Lawmakers, Privilege, and Agency.”


Bradley, Michael, and Gulati, Mitu, and Salvatierra, Irving de Lira, “Lawyers: Gatekeepers of the Sovereign Debt Market?


Maheshri, Vikram, and Winston, Clifford, “An Exploratory Study of the Pricing of Legal Services.”