Robert Ashford


This introductory Article to the Symposium Issue on Law and Socio-Economics (1) briefly explains the origin of the term “socio-economics,” (2) recounts the history of its formal introduction into legal education in 1997, (3) sets forth its underlying principles as a specific methodological approach to law-related economic analysis, (4) describes in greater detail some of its most important features, (5) compares the socio-economic approach to the narrower, neoclassical economic approach that dominates scholarship in “law and economics,” (6) explains the special connection between socio-economic principles and the ethical responsibilities of lawyers related to competence, candor, and the lawyer’s role as a client advocate and public citizen, and (7) briefly describes how each of the other Articles in this Symposium demonstrates the jurisprudential and social value of the socio-economic approach in particular contexts. This introductory Article concludes that a socio-economic approach to law-related economic analysis is superior to the dominant law and economics approach because a socio-economic approach better enables people to identify and secure their essential rights and responsibilities.