Law new refers to an alternative model of legal services that flourished after the GFC. It is characterized by the use of technology and the adoption of a new pricing model that provides legal services more affordable and convenient to clients.
There is no universal definition of law new, but some characteristics distinguish it from other forms of legal service: The use of technology to streamline workflow and improve efficiency in the delivery of legal services; the introduction of fixed fees that provide cost certainty; the abandonment of billable hours; and the focus on the use of online applications that enable value-added legal services at a fraction of the traditional cost.
The new term also suggests a shift from the traditional mode of argument in legal scholarship to one that involves cause-and-result analysis instead of process justification. This approach reflects the fact that legislators and administrators do not perceive law as an embodiment of general principles, but as an instrumentality for achieving policy goals.
This shift makes it imperative for scholars to consider the nature of law and its relationship to a society’s social goals in order to make effective scholarly arguments about how the law can be transformed. This means a shift from process justification, which can be used to analyze any form of law (including administrative regulations), to a focus on cause-and-result analysis, which is a particularly effective mode for discussing policy directives.
A good example of this shift is the recent emergence of the New Public Law, an area of law scholarship that explores how to translate policy into formally enacted rules. The goal of this work is to develop a theory that can be used by both legal scholars and decisionmakers to assess the efficacy of law in helping achieve political goals.
Despite the importance of this topic, there are some critics who argue that law new does not necessarily produce change. They point to two primary objections: That the New Public Law is not a replacement for existing theories; and that it will not be widely adopted by legislators or administrators who are concerned with implementing laws.
Both of these criticisms represent misunderstandings of the new scholarship. In the first case, they miss the point that a scholarly approach to a subject can be regarded as prescriptive only if it has an orientation that is structured by the underlying structure of the problem at hand and the cumulative develop ment of the discipline. In the second case, they erroneously assume that decisionmakers will always and only adhere to the recommendations of legal scholars.
To be clear, there will always be some legal scholars who will continue to think in a premodern manner about the subject at hand, even if the subject at hand becomes more complex and diverse. But in a field such as legal scholarship, this can be seen as a positive sign. As the field matures, it will be able to produce more sophisticated scholarly analyses of law and the social issues related to it.