The Legal Instinct: Lawmaking as a Branch of Biolaw

24 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2018 Last revised: 27 May 2018

See all articles by James Ming Chen

James Ming Chen

Michigan State University - College of Law

Date Written: January 10, 2018


In her 2017 book, Rules for a Flat World, Gillian Hadfield upbraids the legal profession and the legal academy for ascribing supremacy, even exclusivity, to traditional legal institutions. Legal infrastructure, especially in the poorest countries, depends on entrepreneurs willing to shatter these myths.

Hadfield prescribes possible solutions to the problem of inspiring and fostering entrepreneurship for legal infrastructure. This review essay describes how Rules for a Flat World envisions the reinvention of markets for legal rules and institutions in the image of Silicon Valley startups.

This essay also describes humans’ intrinsic longing for social ordering and dispute resolution. If the legal instinct is biologically based and mediated, then lawmaking should be evaluated as a branch of biolaw.

Suggested Citation

Chen, James Ming, The Legal Instinct: Lawmaking as a Branch of Biolaw (January 10, 2018). Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, volume 58, pages 353-376 (spring 2018). Available at SSRN:

James Ming Chen (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - College of Law ( email )

318 Law College Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300
United States

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