As a field of study, “regulated industries,” the integrated study of transportation, energy, and communications law, has been missing from American law schools for decades. As distrust of public administration grew in the U.S., so did calls for deregulation of these utility-like sectors – on both sides of the political spectrum – and legal education followed suit.
Yet today, these sectors, and similar ones like banking and tech platforms, raise some of the most pressing public policy challenges, from storm-related power outages and financial exchange collapses to flight cancellations.
“Lawyers—to the extent that they grapple with these kinds of issues at all—tend to analyze them in isolation from each other…. In contemporary legal thought, there is little recognition that these fields might in fact be closely related,” write the authors of Network, Platforms & Utilities, a new law school casebook co-authored by Vanderbilt Law School Professors Morgan Ricks and Ganesh Sitaraman, along with Shelley Welton from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, and Lev Menand from Columbia Law School.
The Yale Journal on Regulation has just concluded a 2-week symposium for the book, featuring posts from top scholars opining on the state of the field, as well as the book’s significance and its potential for use in the classroom.
“The history so deeply and thoroughly rescued in Networks, Platforms, and Utilities reopens the possibility of returning capacious, social fact- and reality-based institutional and empirical scholarship to the center of American law and economics inquiry,” writes William J. Novak, Professor of Law at University of Michigan.
“This casebook is one of the best I’ve read in a very long time,” writes Villanova’s Brett Frischmann in his post. “I plan to design a new class around it, and I look forward to continuing conversations with the authors and the community of scholars they’ve brought together with this book.”
To read all posts from the symposium, click here.