ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Professor Spotlight: Lisa Bernstein

Lisa_bernstein_1 Ever since Mills v. Wyman, the first case of her first semester at law school, Lisa Bernstein (Chicago) knew that she wanted to spend her life teaching contracts.

It may have been the economic aspects of commercial law.  She came to law school having graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in economics in 1986.  She went to Harvard Law School, where she was a John M. Olin Fellow and graduated in 1990.  She clerked for the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, and started teaching as an associate professor at Boston University Law School in 1991.  After a stint at Georgetown University and visiting gigs at Columbia and Pennsylvania, she joined the University of Chicago faculty in 1998.  She is currently the Wilson-Dickinson Professor of Law and Co-Director of Institute for Civil Justice.

Lisa's research interests lies with private commercial law, and her re-thinking of many of the basic assumptions of the Uniform Commercial Code has had a substantial impact on modern scholarly thought.  She is the recipient of a three-year $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to research a book on the same subject.  Her studies focus on industries that utilize privately drafted commercial codes and arbitration tribunals to resolve disputes as opposed to the public legal system.  She currently teaches Law and Social Science; Corporations; Academic Law; and Advanced Corporate Law: Theory and Practice.

Since 1998, Lisa has served on the Editorial Board for SSRN Contracts and Commercial Law Abstract.  She is a former chair of the AALS Section on Law and Economics and has been a co-organizer of scholarly conferences on a wide range of topics, including Empirical Commercial Law, to be held at the University of Michigan Law School and published in the Michigan Law Review; Management and Control of the Modern Business Corporation, held at the University of Chicago Law School (February 2002) and published in the University of Chicago Law Review; Law, Economics and Social Norms, held at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (Spring, 1996) and published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review; The Internet and Legal Theory, held at the IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law (March, 1998) published in the Chicago-Kent Law Review; Formalism Revisited, held at the University of Chicago Law School (Feb. 1999) and published in the University of Chicago Law Review.

Among her recent publications are:  Private Commercial Law in the Cotton Industry: Creating Cooperation Through Rules, Norms, and Institutions, 99 Mich. L. Rev. 1724 (2001); The Questionable Empirical Basis of Article 2's Incorporation Strategy: A Preliminary Study, 66 U. Chi. L. Rev. 76 (1999); On Compensation and Information: The Secrecy Interest in Contract Law, 109 Yale L. J. 1885 (2000) (with Omri Ben-Shahar); and Comment, Symposium on the New Chicago School: Myth or Reality, 5 U. Chi. Roundtable 1 (1999).

Recently, Lisa participated in the Law and Society Association’s 40th Anniversary Panel, Law on the Books and Law in Action--Legal Realism, New Formalism, and The New Legal Realism, which explored the inception of the formalism critique and engaged scholars who consider themselves “New Formalists” and “New Legal Realists.”

It is known to students at the University of Chicago that she dislikes the UCC.  Her favorite number is 23, which perhaps coincidentally is Michael Jordan's old number with the Chicago Bulls.

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