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The following text fulfils this page's promise.. to tell you "about me". If I am your teacher or colleague, and you are curious about my background, this is the place to go. The more formal list of achievements can be found here. The material on this page reflects my views only and covers my entire background (not just at this University).  Indeed, this will probably jump with me as I move from engagement to engagement -- so much of this information may not reflect the specific appointment I have at the time..

          

I am jurist with a focus on the use of data (and other empirics) to handle legal drafting -- from international laws to two-party contracts.  Such work requires multidisciplinary skills: mixing the work of economist, policy analyst, management guru, sociologist and (of course) lawyers. Such data usually covers the following aspects of legal drafting:

 

a) future (and present) social costs/benefits - drafting requires thinking about the needs of your counterpart's grandchildren as much

as present needs. Particularly in the context of EU integration of Greater Chinese integration, the jurist must think about

how the legal draft will affect consumption, income, the creation of new ideas and other quantifiable variables. Building a model of even a group's future happiness (and particularly the externalities that affect that happiness) may require many assumptions. But that does not invalidate the entire exercise.

 

b) political acceptability- this often involves estimating the number of votes candidates will win or lose by supporting a legal draft. In an executive context, such calculation my involve the final user's legitimacy. These calculations usually involve splitting up people affected by the draft into groups and looking at economic impacts. Drafting un-implementable law does not help anyone... yet becoming political (or supporting explicitly political interests) often is forbidden. 

 

c) match with existing jurisprudence, black letter law and decisions (where relevant) -- this is what most people think of as lawyerly work. Yet, in many cases, its difficult to agree on what constitutes "jurisprudence." Voting and textual analysis provide some ways of building consensus among the non-quantitative. Yet, nothing replaces good lawyering and drafting skills. 

 

d) private benefits -- most legal drafting results in costs and benefits. Economics helps with some of these calculations, but many require in-depth use of marketing, operations management, strategic management and quantification of the other MBA/MPA arts.

 

e) strategic "acceptability" and bureaucratic strategy -- who says game theory can't help lawyers? Game theory involves plotting each person's interest, possible moves and pay-offs. In an applied context, such work revolves more around drawing pictures than solving integrals.

 

So where is the academics in this? Unsurprisingly, the best practitioners also make the best academics. Why learn from someone who has never actually done the thing they are teaching? Only by active engagement with the real-world (subject to our University employment contract!) can we hope to contribute to academics.

 

Case Study: Rulemaking on Serbian Public Procurement

My recent work on rules governing the operating of training related to the Serbian public procurement shows how even an empirical approach can help with drafting even simple, seemingly non-quantifiable regulations. That draft uses statistics to show where the greatest training risks existed, the costs of adoption (high) and ways to adopt the regulation in "tranches" to maximise the benefits-to-costs.   Most important, the draft targets outcomes -- not just outputs.

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Multidisciplinary and Global Background to Solve the Most Complex Problems 

 

A quick glance at my background will show visiting or "regular" stints at law faculties, business schools, politics and economics faculties and geography departments. Most academics and policymakers agree that the problems we tackle now too complex for any one specialty. On the minus side, commitment to a multidisciplinary education and career takes four times as long as a traditional career. On the plus side, you have all the tools you need to completely handle a problem -- from high political strategy to administrative procedure, from audit to economics. Such a commitment means moving around -- working on a gambit of projects and teaching assignments (from redesigning an Eastern European country's securitization law to inspecting cargo bags in a Central Asian airport). It's easy to say that academics should draw from various disciplines to make their own research better. It's quite another to actually use advanced statistics in a law journal article, internal audit evidence in a management review, and public finance in a politics article.

 

Engagement in the World

 

Theories require testing. Data needs collecting. Hypotheses need proving (actually lack of disproving). That means advising Cabinets, Boards of Directors or field-level specialists inspecting oil pipes. Knowledge without action is impotence (though this may require leaving the university for a time).  The best research questions lie in the real-world. The same skills which make for superiour academics makes for superior managers.

 

Firm Commitment to the Socratic Method of One-to-One Case Study

 

Lectures are fun... for listener and presenter. Yet, teaching is a painful process, of (playful) confrontation. Using theories (or legal doctrines) require real-life situations. I usually teach one-to-one (or in small groups), by asking series of questions. Learning to "think like a lawyer/economist/etc" requires more than just memorizing stuff. Through one-to-one sessions, we practice actually using the skills you will need in the future.

 

Use of the Healing Arts, Wherever in Need

 

Engagement with developing countries means using what you know to help others. This may include a marketing programme to maximise profits or rulemaking to save orphans. My employment contract may set limits... but I will never (if I have authority to do so and time) never turn away a person seeking to learn something from me or whose company, government agency or NGO benefits others.

 

Fancy Ideas, Simple Language

 

Since I was 18 years old, I had to express complex economics to smart (but often uneducated) policymakers without a background in the social sciences or English. That means I will try to express the complex in a simple way. Academics too often value stringing jargon words together or using high math to express simple ideas. Yet, I've seen how even doctors, lawyers or economics in the same area can't understand eachother because their fields have become to "specialised" (read jargon-infected). As Einstein famously supposedly said, if you can't explain an idea to a 15 year old, you probably don't understand it yourself!

 

Commitment to openness

 

Academics encourage openness -- open access to data, open discussion and so forth. This role may conflict with a particular assignment (like respecting the confidentiality of a government service). But the default must remain pushing for public openness. Special thanks to the officials I've worked with who have allowed public release of our work. If you have benefitted from someone putting their work online, don't forget to allow your own subordinates from doing the same!