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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Larry Cunningham Responds, Part III: What’s Next for Contracts in the Real World?

Lawrence A. Cunningham is the Henry St. George Tucker III Research Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School.  He is also the author of Contracts in the Real World.

The following post is cross-posted from an online symposium that previously appeared on Concurring Opnions.  The original post can be found here.

Cunningham_2009Thanks to all participants for their wonderful contributions to the on-line symposium about Contracts in the Real World: Stories of Popular Contracts and Why They Matter.  

As the reviews suggest about readers finding the stories fun and the lessons enjoyable, you may be able to guess that I found researching and writing them fun and enjoyable too.  Many of the stories were originally written, in a slightly different form, for this blog. Many of those stories generated productive comments.

I therefore must thank not only my fellow perma-bloggers here at Concurring Opinions for the opportunity to develop these ideas on this site, but also to many readers of the site for their thoughtful contributions. Double that gratitude for having allowed so much space to be devoted to the book these past several days.

Beyond contracts, several publishers and I believe that there is a series in this approach to the content and presentation of many law school subjects. That would certainly seem apt for other traditional 1L courses such as Torts, Property, Criminal Law and Civil Procedure.  

Real WorldMany are tempted to envision that such a series would resemble that forged a decade or so ago by Paul  Caron, but it would be entirely different in substance and audience.  Paul’s series dug deeply into the classics in the spirit of legal archeology, of tremendous interest and value to scholars, but less to students.  This series is almost the opposite: using the classics but moving away from them toward contemporary cases that draw upon and illuminate them.

As envisioned, each book in the new series would be written by a single author and consist in drawing on contemporary events to illustrate how the principles from the classic cases continue to be relevant.  Professors are a target audience, of course, but as colleagues such as Susan and others stress, students get enormous value from such works.  We also continue to believe that such books have strong appeal to some cohort within the segment of general readers of non-fiction.

What else is next for Contracts in the Real World? Miriam has written a full-length review essay of the book, entitled “Learning Contracts Through Current Events,” which will appear in the Hawaii Law Review.  (If there ever should be a live symposium of the book, the next book, or the series, I know where I’d propose it be held.)   Ron Collins and his colleagues have invited me to come to the University of Washington next term to give a faculty presentation on the book and its pedagogical aims.

In addition, the chief editor at Cambridge University Press, John Berger, promises to have a stack of the books with him at CUP’s booth at the 2013 AALS annual meeting in New Orleans (another potential symposium destination).  Scholars noodling on the idea of a series might wish to let John know about that–please let me know as well as I will be eager to coordinate such a project as series editor.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to this symposium (and to the preparation of the book).

[Posted by JT]

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