David Trubek, Voss-Bascom Professor of Law, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Projects
My current research focuses on the intersection of socio-legal studies and political economy. I am presently engaged in three major projects:

1. Law and the new developmental state

     We are seeing a revival of the developmental state. Although state activism came under attack in the hey-day of neo-liberalism, today states in many developing countries are once again actively promoting economic growth and social development. These initiatives build on prior experiences but often take new forms as states cope with the challenges of growth under conditions of globalization. This new state activism tends to be more export oriented, more concerned with competiveness and innovation, and more aware of the need for incomes policy. These "new" developmental states prefer to support and partner with the private sector rather than supplant it.  Such changes in state policy and practice have an impact on the legal order. They may make new uses of existing legal tools, deploy different enforcement practices, and create the need for new laws and new forms of governance. This project, carried out by the network on Law and the New Developmental State (LANDS) explores relations between the legal order and new state policies in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.

2. Globalization, lawyering, and emerging economies

      As major emerging economies like China, India, and Brazil increase their role in the global economy, new demands are placed on their legal professions.  Lawyers working in the corporate sector must develop new skills, new forms of organization, and new alliances while lawyers working for social movements face new issues, new arenas, and new possibilities for action.  The most significant impact of globalization is likely to be felt in the corporate sector but other parts of the legal order including legal education, "public interest" practice, and the judiciary are likely to be directly or indirectly affected. This project involves the creation of a network of scholars in China, India, Brazil and the US who will study specific aspects of these developments.

 3. The rise of new governance and the transformation of law

      In recent years, new forms of governance have emerged that may supplement or replace more traditional forms of law. The emergence of a new governance paradigm creates a challenge for law and may lead to transformations in the legal order. This project seeks to chart the emergence of these new forms, understand the causal processes behind their emergence, and track their impact on legal thought and practice in the US, Europe, and in global space.

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