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The Law Market

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Today, a California resident can incorporate her shipping business in Delaware, register her ships in Panama, hire her employees from Hong Kong, place her earnings in an asset-protection trust formed in the Cayman Islands, and enter into a same-sex marriage in Massachusetts or Canada—all the while enjoying the California sunshine and potentially avoiding many facets of the state's laws.

In this book, Erin O'Hara and Larry E. Ribstein explore a new perspective on law, viewing it as a product for which people and firms can shop, regardless of geographic borders. The authors consider the structure and operation of the market this creates, the economic, legal, and political forces influencing it, and the arguments for and against a robust market for law. Through jurisdictional competition, law markets promise to improve our laws and, by establishing certainty, streamline the operation of the legal system. But the law market also limits governments' ability to enforce regulations and protect citizens from harmful activities. Given this tradeoff, O'Hara and Ribstein argue that simple contractual choice-of-law rules can help maximize the benefits of the law market while tempering its social costs. They extend their insights to a wide variety of legal problems, including corporate governance, securities, franchise, trust, property, marriage, living will, surrogacy, and general contract regulations.

The Law Market is a wide-ranging and novel analysis for all lawyers, policymakers, legislators, and businesses who need to understand the changing role of law in an increasingly mobile world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Law Market promises to add some much-needed clarity and common sense to a 'largely ignored field of law.'"—Harvard Law Review

"One of the most important metrics for evaluating the success of an academic work is the degree to which it sparks further questions...Evaluated along this dimension, The Law Market must be deemed a smashing success."—Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society's Practice Groups

"O'Hara and Ribstein's book is a breakthrough in legal scholarship. Recognizing that the unprecedented mobility of today's society gives economic actors substantial choice over the law that will govern their affairs, the authors analyze law as a product that is produced by states and marketed to consumers. The authors thereby identify a fundamental feature of contemporary business law that has until now been overlooked or only imperfectly understood. The book is chock-full of original insights into the operation of this 'market for law', and offers a valuable analysis of the pros and cons of this development from the standpoint of public policy." —Geoffrey P. Miller, New York University Law School

"O'Hara and Ribstein are the first to expose how the ability of private persons to choose the law that shall govern them - in business and in their personal lives - is transforming our legal system. Drawing on public policy and economics in an approachable, commonsense way, they sketch the implications of the law market for our world today, and show how its emergence calls for a careful balance between individual freedom and regulation to advance the public good. This book is a must-read, not only for lawyers with real-world clients but also for every corporate general counsel and legislative staff member grappling with our globalized law market." —Richard A. Nagareda, Vanderbilt University Law School

"This is a pathbreaking book - theoretically sophisticated and carefully applied. O'Hara and Ribstein's concept of the 'law market' captures an essential truth about the conflicts revolution, and their thesis carries profound implications for wide swaths of the law, ranging from international investment disputes to same-sex marriage." —Peter B. Rutledge, University of Georgia Law School

"The Law Marker significantly enriches the discussion about jurisdictional competition and enhances our understanding of the underlying forces."—American Journal of Comparative Law

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195312898
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/9/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,383,317
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Erin A. O'Hara is Professor of Law, and Director of the Law & Human Behavior Program at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of The Economics of Conflict of Laws.

Larry E. Ribstein is Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law, and co-Director of the Program on Business Law & Policy at the University of Illinois. He is the co-author of Business Associations and The Economics of Federalism.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Policy Arguments
3. Choice-of-Law Principles
4. The Creation of a Law Market
5. Arbitration and The Law Market
6. The Corporate Law Market
7. Consumer Contracts
8. Marriage and Other Social Issues
9. Property
10. A Federal Choice-of-Law Statute
11. Summary and Implications

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