Elinor Ostrom's work has enhanced legal scholars'
understanding of property. Although the richness of these contributions
cannot be distilled into a single thesis, their flavor can be captured
in a maxim Lee Anne Fennell calls Ostrom's Law: A resource arrangement that works in
practice can work in theory. Ostrom's scholarship challenges the
conventional wisdom by examining how people interact over resources on
the ground. She identifies recurring
institutional features associated with long-term success. In this essay, Fennell traced some of the ways that Ostrom's focus on situated examples has
advanced interdisciplinary dialogue about property as a legal
institution and as a human invention for solving practical problems. Ostrom's scholarship yields
insights for, and employs insights from, property theory and, importantly, is very concerned with how these observed systems scale which carries profound implications for law. The conclusion offers some observations about interdisciplinarity as it relates to
research on the commons and in scholarship generally.