The first part of this essay is a discourse on how two of the last half century’s most influential contributions to legal thinking: Law and Economics Jurisprudence and Feminist Legal Theory, whose adherents are normally adversaries, can function synergistically to create a greater analytic power. Using business law issues as an example - historically law and economics’ terrain but recently explored by feminism - I comment on how each can unravel different knots but each standing alone leave other conundrums unresolved.
Expanding on the feminist concept of “masculine thinking,” I discuss how, just as law and economics’ analytic style (i.e., “masculine thinking”) by itself with regard to business law concerns is both enlightening but also limiting, so is feminism (i.e., “feminine thinking.”) A collaboration of the two would create a greater whole then either of the individual parts.
This essay is a contribution to an international anthology in honor of Yvette Merchiers, who in addition to being the first woman law professor and first woman dean of the Law Faculty at Ghent University, Belgium, was also one of the leading business law scholars in Europe in her time. As Professor Merchiers entered the all-male world of law academia in a heretofore all male field of business law to great success, it seems appropriate to examine the development of her career and her scholarly contributions with the conjoined lens of “masculine” and “feminine” thinking. Not surprisingly, though Professor Merchiers’ career began well before the prominence of the 2nd wave of feminism, we find that she intuitively adopted both “masculine” and “feminine” thinking in her writings, her professional development and her personal style.
Business Lawyer, Woman Warrior: An Allegory of Feminine and Masculine Theories, in Liber Amicorum, Yvette Merchiers (Universiteit Gent/La Chatre, October 2001)