The LPE student group at Yale Law School is part of a growing movement in law to expose how legal rules concentrate economic and political power among dominant social groups. We reject the divide between private and public law, and the idea of a natural, self-regulating, neutral market. Instead, we seek to center questions of power, inequality, and democracy in all areas of the law, and work to reimagine the legal, social, and economic order.
The student group initially grew from the same institutional roots as the LPE Project and the LPE Blog. In 2016, a group of YLS students asked Amy Kapczynski to teach a seminar that would allow them to better understand the social, political, and legal structures that gave rise to the election of Donald Trump. To build this first seminar, students pulled in scholarship from existing critical traditions to (1) locate law’s role in building the current political economy and (2) understand how the law might support movements seeking a better one. This seminar gave rise to the LPE blog, which created space for legal scholars to discuss these questions across methodological and geographic divides. The student group formed as a student-centered corollary with several distinct priorities. First, we work to expand LPE beyond academic discourse by making it relevant and accessible to law students who want to practice law. Second, we work to build community with alumni, practitioners, and students at other law schools. Third, we are interested in law school curriculum reform that unseats the dominance of Law and Economics in legal pedagogy and centers power.
Law school can be an isolating experience for leftists. In many spaces both in and outside of the classroom, conversations are narrowed by assumptions about what law should do and how it best serves the public good. The LPE student group fosters community for leftists on campus by bringing speakers, facilitating reading groups, supporting student scholarship, discussing left ideas, and hanging out! If you have any questions, please email LPE co-presidents Philine Qian(email@example.com) or Matt Buck (firstname.lastname@example.org).