But so long as a lawyer may stay in the same place for decades, the firms have to confront the costs of a relaxed approach to pay and retention. They respond by making their associates compete and then showing most of them the door. It is another example of how economic forces can shape the space allowed to antieconomic norms; perhaps the norms themselves may be said to compete.

Source: p 157-158, The Legal Analyst, Ward Farnsworth

I guess that Definition 2 applies here, but how does this make sense? Here, I'm venturing that norms refers only to antieconomic norms, so how can [the same norms] compete with [the same norms]?

1 Answer 1


My reading of this passage is that there are certain norms (with the definition you indicated) in the legal profession, and some of them are economic -- serving to help a law firm's profitability -- while others are antieconomic -- hindering profitability.

The author is suggesting that due to harsher economic pressures, antieconomic norms are experiencing competition from opposing economic norms. (Perhaps such economic norms are hypothetical in current practice, but could be adopted in place of the prevailing antieconomic ones.)

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