Legal Theory

Our Faculty

Many leading contemporary legal theorists call NYU home, and the Law School has embraced the interdisciplinary study of law as an organizing principle of the legal education it provides its students.  Students taking classes with the many members of our permanent faculty, they will also find that some professors hold more than one appointment at the University, crossing from the Law School to the Graduate School of Arts and Science and beyond.

Faculty Director

Lewis A. Kornhauser

Frank Henry Sommer Professor of Law

An expert in microeconomics, Lewis Kornhauser approaches legal analysis by imagining a "very simple world." In his article, "An Economic Perspective on Stare Decisis," he describes this "simple" approach: The world has a single judge, named Liza. She faces a dilemma. A very strange judicial practice called "precedent" dictates that she must adhere to her own holding in a prior case even though she now thinks she decided it wrongly.

In analyzing her dilemma, Kornhauser first explores the reasons why Liza now thinks the decision is wrong. For each reason, how desirable or undesirable would it be for Liza to stick with the wrong holding? Then, Kornhauser adds a layer of complexity by imagining the existence of other judges besides Liza, and separately examining each possible combination of judges and reasons. Read more...

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