Monday, October 10, 2016
Exciting news! JOTWELL (the Journal of Things We Like - Lots!) has a new Contracts section - and it has just gone live! David Hoffman (Temple) and I are the Section editors. Aditi Bagchi (Fordham), Dan Barnhizer (Michigan State), Shawn Bayern (Florida State), Omri Ben-Shahar (Chicago), Martha Ertman (Maryland), Robert Hillman (Cornell), Hila Keren (Southwestern), Florencia Marotta-Wurgler (NYU), Eboni Nelson (South Carolina), Robert Scott (Columbia), Tess Wilkinson-Ryan (Pennsylvania) and Eyal Zamir (Hebrew University) are contributing editors so expect to see articles from them over the next few months.
The inaugural article is by Prof. Robert Hillman of Cornell and reviews Aaron Perzanowski & Chris Jay Hoofnagle's article, What We Buy When We Buy Now, (forthcoming U. Pa. L. Rev.). The article raises interesting issues about ownership of digital "goods" and has already sparked interest in the popular press.
Welcome to the world of contracts JOTWELL!
Monday, September 5, 2016
A few days ago, I posted a blog here on Amtrak raising the rent on backyard lots neighboring Amtrak's railroad lines in New York. The rent in some cases went up by 100,000% (!) according to the website of Congressman Joseph Crowley.
Professor Bruckner posed the relevant question of whether the now hotly contested leases are truly new leases or the renegotiation of existing ones. I've been trying to find out, but not having seen the actual letter from Amtrak (yet), I've dug through news reports and website of legislators. This is the upshot as best as I can find out right now: It looks like Amtrak is upping the price on _existing_ leases after having had very low prices for years. See, e.g., these statements: "For decades, Amtrak has leased the property underneath the trusses to homeowners for a nominal fee which releases the agency from the burden of maintaining the premises. Residents were given a 30-day notice to accept an unconscionable annual rent increase – in some cases as much as 100,000 percent or tens of thousands of dollars" and "[i]n a letter addressed to homeowners, Amtrak argues that a review of the lease and the premises it covers, indicates the lease is substantially undervalued. For some, the rent will go up from $25 annually to over $26,000 annually. Failure to approve the new rental amount would result in the termination of the lease 30 days from the notice."
To me, that does indeed seem if not outright unconscionable, then certainly in violation of reasonable contractual expectations and the contractual terms what appears to be an already existing contract.
As mentioned, Amtrak does have a good argument in its prices having been exceptionally low for decades, but perhaps market prices should be introduced over time as the lessees get replaced over time with the existing leases somehow being grandfathered in? Granted, the turnover in the NYC real estate market may not be high in the case of lucrative deals, but on the other hand, nobody lives in any home forever. Underlying this story does seem to be the fact that Amtrak got upset not so much about the low rents per se, but the fact that some renters were making profits off them.
Monday, July 11, 2016
A group of 1L students recently caused a stir-up at an anonymous law school by posting an anonymous complaint after their criminal law professor wore a "Black Lives Matter" t-shirt "on campus" (not "to class," apparently). See the letter and the professor's great response here. (For full disclosure, our colleagues on the TaxProf Blog also wrote about the story here ).
Do students, because they enter into a contract with a private law school (or even a public one), have a legitimate reason to complain that their professors wear t-shirts with a socially and legally provocative or at least thought-provoking message? The students wrote, "We do not spend three years of our lives and tens of thousands of dollars to be subjected to indoctrination or personal opinions of our professors."
Is this reasonable, in your opinion? First, this comparison is not apt. In fact, it is an extreme over-exaggeration that barely needs commenting on. The students also comment that the "BLM" movement does not have anything to do with the law, which demonstrates the sad state of ignorance about the law and society in which many of our students - and perhaps especially those in conservative areas such as Orange County, California - find themselves (that's where the anonymous law school is thought to be located). The movement is clearly about very little but the law and policy. Second, students can and should expect to get a quality legal education when attending an ABA-accredited law school, but simply because they pay money for it does not entitle them to only hear about the version of the law that _they_ prefer. In fact, as the professor so correctly notes in his response, the consumer theory should not apply to the content of one's legal education. In other words, students don't pay to only hear part of the message. And as the professor said: students certainly don't pay us _not_ to have an opinion about the classes we teach (note that the Tshirt was worn in connection with a criminal procedure class).
What are your thoughts on this? And why does the law school not publish its name?
Monday, July 4, 2016
Emory University Law School is proud to announce the creation of the Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills. The award will be presented at Emory’s sixth biennial conference on the teaching of transactional law and skills in June of 2018.
Tina L. Stark, the founding director of Emory Law’s Center for Transactional Law and Practice and the author of the groundbreaking textbook “Drafting Contracts: How and Why Lawyers Do What They Do,” has worked tirelessly to assure that law students have the opportunity to graduate as practice-ready transactional attorneys. Through her enthusiasm and perseverance, and with considerable grace and vision, she has nurtured the efforts of transactional law and skills educators the world over.
In honor of Tina’s considerable achievements, and in further recognition of her continued service as a beloved teacher and a cherished mentor, the Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills will be awarded to an educator who is:
- committed to training students to be practice-ready transactional attorneys
- dedicated to engaging, inspiring, motivating and nurturing students
- devoted to teaching with passion, using creative and innovative methods
- known for achievement in curriculum or program development and pedagogy
- pledged to advance the cause of transactional law and skills education
Nominations for the 2018 Tina L. Stark Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Transactional Law and Skills will be accepted beginning in June of 2017. Please see the Center for Transactional Law and Practice website for further details about the nomination and selection process in 2017 when the nomination window opens.
If you have any questions about the award, please contact Sue Payne at email@example.com.
H/T: D.C. Toedt, On Contracts
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Pretty darned bad! Imagine this: A law student starts giving professional legal advice while still in law school. The advice is rendered to a 78-year-old Chinese-American with limited English skills and experience with the American legal system. The student renders the advice in person, over the phone, and in extensive e-mail exchanges. He even persuades the client to “assign” the lawsuit to the student so that the student would be “better able to control the suit and properly advise” the client. In doing so, the student promises to “minimize any legal costs to [the client] before [the student] getting [sic] his license by doing all the work he can carry on for said case.” The students subsequently graduates (from a California law school not accredited by the ABA, according to the website of the State Bar of California), passes the bar, and becomes the formally retained lawyer for the client.
The new graduate sues a party on behalf of his client. The graduate also names his own client on a lawsuit for an unrelated matter “only as a matter of legal procedure.” Additionally, the graduate sues his client’s defendants! The advice he renders is thought to be legally incorrect by a mediator. The client thus fires the graduate. The State Bar of California brings disciplinary proceedings against the new graduate for conflict of interest matters as well as the unauthorized practice of law. The graduate stipulates to the charges and is suspended for some time. Trial is brought against the graduate by his former client for professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, unlawful business practice, breach of contract, and fraud. The client wins a judgment of $552,412.
You guessed it! The graduate does not pay. Rather, he appears in some subsequent judgment debtor proceedings, but disputes the court’s personal jurisdictions (that argument is waived once an appearance has been made, by the way). He submits briefs to the court misciting passages from outdated Matthew Bender Civil Procedure practice treaties. He refuses to produce tax returns to show his income. The court has to order him to do so. He goes bankrupt, and produces a “myriad” of inconsistent stories in the case. As the court said, “a few examples should suffice:
- Yan testified he sold his membership in an LLC to two persons for $650,000, but could not remember their names.
- Yan testified that his mother provided him checks, but could not remember: whether the checks numbered more than a hundred; when the most recent check was received; or when his mother last worked or her last job.
- Yan testified that he was the sole support for his children, supported solely by his income, which for 2014 was “less than [$]10,000.” The support included rent, which included $8,400 in 2014, but he refused to provide the identity of the person to whom the rent was paid. Yan was asked the source of the money to pay his children's rent, and he said it was from his “income.” Asked if that was from legal fees, Yan said, “I don't know.”
- Enough is enough.”
The monetary judgment against the graduate was affirmed. Years later, at least one other disciplinary matter has been brought against the graduate.
The question is: is this just one example of an unusually rotten apple? Or does this point to the assertion made by many that California really does not need a number of unaccredited law schools on top of the already large amount of ABA-accredited ones? (But note too that even the trial court record contains “no evidence of anything, only assertions as to what occurred, though [the plaintiff’s] assertions are supported by various exhibits” and not disputed by the defendant. There were, for example, “no reporter’s transcript, nor any real evidence – that is, sworn evidence….”
Comment below! The case is Charles Li v. Demas Yan, 2016 WL 1757283.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
We now reach the last of our series of posts highlighting the proceedings at the KCON XI: The Eleventh International Conference on Contracts, with videos covering the final concurrent sessions held on Saturday, February 27, 2016. This ending is a worthwhile moment point to note that KCON XII is set for next February at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. I hope we will get to see many of you in southern California next year! Details will certainly show up in this space.
International Contract Law
- Moderator: Mark Burge, Texas A&M University
- Pablo Lerner, Ramat Gan School of Law, Constructive Trusts in Israeli Land Contracts – Contract as Key
- Dr. Lachmi Singh-Rodrigues, University of West of England, Avoidance of the Contract and the Seller’s Right to Cure Under the CISG
- Qi Gao, Beihang University School of Law, Consumer Protection under Chinese Contract Law
- Watch the panel video
Public Policy Considerations in Contract Law
- Moderator: David A. Grenardo, St. Mary’s University School of Law
- Wayne Barnes, Texas A&M University, Arrested Development: Rethinking the Age of Majority in the 21st Century
- Mayanna Dellinger, University of South Dakota, Contracts to Kill Endangered Species: Public Policy Arguments
- Joan MacLeod Heminway, The University of Tennessee College of Law, The LLC Operating Agreement and its Relation to Contract
- Hao Jiang, Tulane University, Freedom of Contract Under State Supervision
- Watch the panel video
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Here, we continue our series of posts highlighting the proceedings at KCON XI, which are available courtesy of our friends at St. Mary's University School of Law. This set comes from the second concurrent sessions held on Saturday, February 27, 2016. You can view each video by clicking on the link following the applicable list of speakers.
- Moderator: Dov Waisman, Southwestern Law School
- Danielle Hart, Southwestern Law School, Contract Law & Ideology
- Creola Johnson, The Ohio State Univesity Moritz College of Law, Contractual Duplicity: Creditors Force Consumers into Arbitration While Exploiting the Criminal Justice System to Arrests Consumers Who Cannot Pay
- Hila Keren, Southwestern Law School, Scalia on Contracts: The Dissemination of Neoliberal Logic
- Matthew Titolo, West Virginia, Neoliberalism’s Fine Print
- Watch the panel video
- Moderator: Colin P. Marks, St. Mary’s University School of Law
- Daniel Barnhizer, Michigan State University College of Law, Contracts and Automation: Exploring the Normativity of Codability
- Stacy-Ann Elvy, New York Law School, The Internet of Things (IOT) and Bargaining Disparity
- Max N. Helveston, DePaul University, Regulating the Digital Marketplace
- Watch the panel video
Monday, March 14, 2016
Video recordings of most of the proceedings at KCON XI are available courtesy of our friends at St. Mary's University School of Law, and we are pleased to highlight and share those with you here. This set comes from the first concurrent sessions held on Saturday, February 27, 2016. You can view each video by clicking on the link following the applicable list of speakers.
- Moderator: Jennifer Martin, St. Thomas University
- Shawn Bayern, Florida State University, The Failure of Law and Economics
- Sidney DeLong, Seattle University, Jephthah’s Daughter and Morally -Efficient Breach
- Orit Gan, Sapir College, Peres Academic Center, The Many Faces of Contractual Consent
- Val D. Ricks, South Texas College of Law, Contract Doctrine as Contract Theory
- Watch the panel video
- Moderator: Nancy Kim, California Western School of Law
- Yehuda Adar, University of Haifa, Pre-Contractual Disgorgement
- Moshe Gelbard, Netanya Academic College School of Law, Pre-Contractual Disgorgement
- Roger Halson, University of Leeds, UK, Liquidated Damages and “Penalty” Clauses in the UK: A New Approach
Sunday, March 13, 2016
Video recordings of most of the proceedings at KCON XI are available courtesy of our friends at St. Mary's University School of Law, and we are pleased to highlight and share those with you here. This set comes from the presentation on Friday, February 26, 2016, of the conference's Lifetime Achievement Award to Professor Peter Linzer of the University of Houston Law Center. In keeping with the theme of honoring Professor Linzer, the presentation is paired with a panel that he moderated on Saturday, February 27, 2016 on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can view each video by clicking on the link following the applicable description.
Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony Honoring Peter Linzer (held at the Plaza Club)
- Moderator: Peter Linzer, University of Houston
- Richard Frankel, Drexel University
- Ramona Lampley, St. Mary’s University School of Law
- Jean Sternlight, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
- Watch the panel video
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Video recordings of most of the proceedings at KCON XI are available courtesy of our friends at St. Mary's University School of Law, and we are pleased to highlight and share those with you here. This set comes from the third concurrent sessions held on Friday, February 26, 2016. You can view each video by clicking on the link following the applicable list of speakers.
- Moderator: Daniel Barnhizer, Michigan State University College of Law
- Mark Edwin Burge, Texas A&M University, Contract Law in Emerging Payment Systems
- Catherine Christopher, Texas Tech University, Virtual Currency
- Angela Walch, St. Mary’s University School of Law, Blockchains as Infrastructure
- Watch the panel video
- Moderator: Danielle Hart, Southwestern Law School
- Nadelle Grossman, Marquette University, Transactional Contracts and Textbook Simulation Discussion
- Russell Korobkin, UCLA School of Law, Bargaining with the CEO: The Case for “Negotiate First, Choose Second”
- Jane Winn, University of Washington, Framework Contracts and the New Managerial Revolution
- Watch the panel video
Friday, March 11, 2016
Video recordings of most of the proceedings at KCON XI are available courtesy of our friends at St. Mary's University School of Law, and we are pleased to highlight and share those with you here. This set comes from the second concurrent sessions held on Friday, February 26, 2016. You can view each video by clicking on the link following the applicable list of speakers.
Innovations in Teaching and Mentoring
- Moderator: Robert D. Brain, Loyola Law School Los Angeles
- Keith A. Rowley, UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
- Frank G. Snyder, Texas A&M University
- Ben Templin, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, The New Pedagogy: Here’s the ball. Let’s play catch
- Watch the panel video
Contract Law in an Administrative and Regulatory Context
- Moderator: James W. Fox Jr., Stetson University College of Law
- Hazel Beh, University of Hawai’i, Insurance as the AntiContract
- David Friedman, Willamette University College of Law, Refining Advertising Regulation
- Peter Marchetti, Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Bankruptcy “Clawback” Provisions: Congress Needs to Amend Section 546
- Chris French, Penn State Law, The Illusion of Insurance Contracts
- Watch the panel video
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Video recordings of most of the proceedings at KCON XI are available courtesy of our friends at St. Mary's University School of Law, and we are pleased to highlight and share those with you here. This set comes from the first concurrent sessions held on Friday, February 26, 2016. You can view each video by clicking on the link following the applicable list of speakers.
Professorial Professions: Creating a Student-centered Contracts Classroom
- Moderator: Hazel Beh, University of Hawai’i
- Charles Calleros, Arizona State University
- Myanna Dellinger, University of South Dakota
- Frank G. Snyder, Texas A&M University
- Adrian J. Walters, Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Deborah Post, Touro Law Center, Politically Conscious Pedagogy
- Watch the panel video
What You Thought You Knew About Remedies in Sales Transactions May Not Be True: Highlights in Article 2 Remedies and Contracting for Limitations
- Moderator: Mark Burge, Texas A&M University
- Sidney DeLong, Seattle University, The Notice of Breach Dilemma: Conflict and Cooperation in Eastern Airlines v. McDonnell Douglas
- Nancy Kim, California Western School of Law, Teaching UCC Remedies from Concept to Clause
- Colin Marks, St. Mary’s University School of Law, On-Line and As Is
- Jennifer Martin, St. Thomas University, Opportunistic Resales and the UCC
- Watch the panel video
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Ian Kerr of the University of Ottawa's Centre for Law, Technology and society has an interesting post from last September on a topic of that has been of occasional discussion on this blog, and which I came across only recently. In "The Arrival of Artificial Intelligence and 'The Death of Contract,'" Kerr outlines some of the foreseeable challenges facing today's students of contract law due to disruptive technology:
On the market today are a number of AI products that carry out contract review and analysis. Kira, an AI system used to review and analyze more than US$100 billion worth of corporate transactions (millions of pages), is said to reduce contract review times by up to 60%. Likewise, a Canadian product called Beagle (“We sniff out the fine print so you don’t have to”) is faster than any human, reading at .05 seconds per page. It reads your contract in seconds and understands who the parties are, their responsibilities, their liabilities, how to get out of it and more. These are amazing products that improve accuracy and eliminate a lot of the “grunt work” in commercial transactions.
But hey—my Contracts students are no dummies. They can do the math. Crunch the numbers and you have a lot of articling students and legal associates otherwise paid to carry out due diligence who now have their hands in their pockets and are looking for stuff to do in order to meet their daily billables. What will they do instead?
In some ways, such concerns are just teardrops in an ocean full of so-called smart contracts that are barely visible in the murky depths of tomorrow. Their DRM-driven protocols are likely to facilitate, verify, and enforce the negotiation and performance of contracts. In some cases, smart contracts will obviate the need for legal drafting altogether—because you don’t actually need legal documents to enforce these kinds of contracts. They are self-executing; computer code ensures their enforcement.
Kerr's concludes that smart contracts and their technological relatives are no more the death of contract than what Grant Gilmore pronounced, but that the change is worrisome, including to our relational understanding of contract doctrine and its practice:
I suspect we will face some significant changes and I am not sure that it’s all good. Self-executing contracts, like the DRM-systems upon which they are built, are specifically designed to promote the wholesale replacement of relational aspects of contract such as trust, promise, consent and enforcement. As such, they do injury to traditional contract theory and practice. While I have no doubt that an AI-infused legal landscape can to some extent accommodate these losses by creating functional equivalents where historical concepts no longer make sense (just as e-commerce has been quite successful in finding functional equivalents for the hand-written signature, etc.), I do worry that some innovations in AI-contracting could well have a negative effect on human contracting behavior and relationships.
The entire post is worth a read for anyone interested in the impact of technology on contracts.
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
I'm posting this proposal and solicitation of comments at the request of some valued contracts-prof colleagues named below. I hope you'll take them up on their request for feedback, which you can provide directly by clicking on the links associated with their names.
More law schools are no longer regularly or frequently offering courses in (1) payment systems, (2) secured transactions, and/or (3) sales. In part, this happens because these schools do not have faculty members who want to teach the courses. And, in other cases, because students do not sign up for commercial law courses--even if the commercial law courses are taught from 11-12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Most students do not need 42 class hours of payment systems, 42 hours of secured transactions, and 42 hours more of sales. ["What?! I'm appalled by this heretical statement!" - Ed.] Lawyers in a general civil practice do, however, need to have familiarity with core commercial law concepts in order to master the specific statutory provisions that govern the transaction or litigation matter on which they are working. ["Okay, that's better." - Ed.] And, before that, there is a need to pass the state bar exam.
We propose that the needs of such students can best be meet in a two-credit course covering only core commercial law concepts, and we are working on course materials for such a course. We welcome your reasoned arguments against this proposal. Even more welcome would be your suggestions as to how 28 class hours can most effectively be used by students learning core commercial concepts.
We look forward to seeing you at the AALS and receiving your emails.
Hmmm. The idea of commercial law in two credits makes this teacher of payment systems and sales a little queasy (see my initial reaction in the selfie photo at left). Still, I probably wouldn't argue with the proposition that some exposure to commercial law is better than none. I'm curious what the broader contracts community thinks, so I've opened up the comments below. Meanwhile, take advantage of this opportunity to help our colleagues with an interesting project.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Greetings! I am very excited to be joining the fantastic ContractsProf Blog team, and I am especially grateful to Myanna Dellinger for providing the opportunity. I can't wait to get started digging into contract law issues here.
I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, and my specialty is actually intellectual property, with a focus on copyright and trademark. In addition to dealing with IP and entertainment law contracts in my classes, I also teach first-year Contracts.
I've devoted a lot of my scholarly energy to the IP implications of fandom (if you want to talk to me about fanfiction, my inbox is always open!) and am more broadly interested in the ways in which legal regimes get practically interpreted by laypeople in everyday life. Of course, in our contract-heavy lives in which every website we visit assumes we've read their terms and conditions, inexpert understandings (and misunderstandings) of contract law arise all the time (my favorite is the citation to the UCC to protect the privacy of Facebook statuses that circulates every once in a while). I am really looking forward to blogging about these and other contract law issues and exploring contract law with all of you and the rest of the awesome contributors!
I have been looking forward to the resumption of my posts on ContractsProf blog, but sometimes events overtake us. It is with the greatest regret that I report that our colleague Louis F. Del Duca, Professor Emeritus at Penn State Law, died suddenly on 30 November 2015. An announcement from his law school is available here.
Lou was one of my co-authors on Global Issues in Contract Law (“GICL”), and a beloved friend and colleague for all of us. He was the longest-serving faculty member in the history of Penn State – Dickinson Law, and an internationally recognized scholar in commercial and comparative law. His influence in the “internationalization” of American legal education was profound. His inspiration on the development of West Academic’s Global Issues series was palpable.
At the time of his passing, Lou, I and our coauthors were finishing up the preparation of the GICL second edition. We all feel fortunate to have had this one last interaction with Lou, and I look on GICL second as a small remembrance of our friend and colleague. Godspeed Lou!
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Changes are underway at the ContractsProf Blog, and I am delighted to be one of them. Thanks to Myanna Dellinger for giving me the opportunity to join a team building on over a decade of quality content established by our founder (and my faculty colleague) Frank Snyder, outgoing editor Jeremy Telman, and many others throughout the years.
Who is this guy, anyway? Glad you asked. I am an Associate Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law in Fort Worth, proud home for two years of the esteemed International Conference of Contracts that, as Jeremy mentioned here, has been closely associated with this blog since its inception. My major scholarly interests are in contracts (seriously, did you think I would NOT say "contracts" here?), commercial law (especially payment systems), and the interaction of both fields with legal skills and practice. I came to the academy after eight years of practice in the areas of business and commercial litigation and related transactions. Despite some occasional flirtations with theory, I have yet to shake off my greater interest in how lawyers actually make things work. So I've learned to live with that, and I'm most fortunate to be at a law school with colleagues and an administration who support the grab-bag of things I do.
My current work, which I hope to discuss here occasionally (while skillfully avoiding off-putting narcissism in the process), involves the intersection of private contract law with public regulation in the rapidly developing area of emerging payment systems. Where exactly are the best dividing lines between private and public law, especially in an age where the lag between technology and law seriously strains the institutional capacity of legal systems? Perhaps we can find some answers to that overarching question and have some fun along the way. I should, in the interest of full disclosure, confess that I think contract law is fun.
I look forward to the adventure, and I appreciate anyone who is along for the ride.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Bumping this back up to the top:
Here are the basics:
11th International Conference on Contracts (KCON XI)
Feb. 26 and 27, 2016
St. Mary’s University School of Law
San Antonio, Texas
The St. Mary’s University School of Law is pleased to host the International Conference on Contracts — a two-day conference designed to afford contracts scholars and teachers at all experience levels (including those preparing to enter the academy and those whose primary teaching appointment is not in a law school) an opportunity to present/demonstrate and discuss (formally and informally) recently-published and accepted-but-not-yet-published scholarship, works-in-progress, thought experiments, as-yet-fully-formed ideas for scholarship, and pedagogical innovations and to network with colleagues — and potential collaborators or mentors — from around the country and other parts of the world.
This year, we will be honoring Professor Peter Linzer of the University of Houston Law Center (pictured) with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of contract law.
Call for Papers
Submissions are cordially invited for the 11th Annual International Conference on Contracts, the largest annual scholarly and educational conference devoted to Contracts and related areas of commercial law. Papers and works in progress are welcome from those who study contracts from any perspective, whether doctrinal, pedagogical, theoretical, empirical, historical, economic, critical, comparative or interdisciplinary.
Works that take an international or civil law approach are also welcome. Junior scholars are particularly encouraged to participate. Those interested in proposing and organizing panels of three to five presenters on specific themes are especially encouraged to do so.
Individual submissions should be made by a brief abstract (one page is sufficient) of the paper or work in progress that includes contact information for the author(s). Individual submissions will be placed on panels with like submissions. Panel proposals should include the name and contact information of the moderator or organizer, and a summary of the proposed papers or works in progress. There is no publication commitment for the conference, but organizers of individual panels are free to arrange for publication on their own.
Submissions: The deadline is Monday, Dec. 11, 2015. Proposals submitted earlier will be accepted on a rolling basis. Proposals submitted after the deadline will be accepted on a space-available basis.
Submissions should be directed to:
Professor Colin P. Marks
The conference program will begin both Friday and Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. Breakfast and conversational opportunities will start earlier. The conference will continue until about 5:30 p.m. each day.
The Menger Hotel in downtown San Antonio is holding a block of rooms from the nights of Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016 through Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at a rate of $139 per night (plus tax) for a single or double occupancy room or $149 per night (plus tax) for a triple or quadruple occupancy room.
The deadline for hotel registration at the conference rate is Feb. 5, 2016. The sooner you book the more likely we will be able to get the hotel to make the conference rate available to additional attendees once the initial block is booked and the deadline passes.
Though shuttles will be provided to and from the conference and hotel, should you wish to drive, parking rates for the group are: $20 valet plus tax, (subject to change/for Hotel guest only). There are also various city lots around the hotel which cost between $12 and $20 per day.
We’ll provide transportation between the Menger and the law school for the conference as well as forFriday’s dinner venue at the Plaza Club in downtown San Antonio. Attendees who prefer to stay elsewhere are responsible for their own transportation.
Your registration fee will cover the costs of breakfast and lunches both days and a reception and dinnerFriday evening, as well as morning and afternoon refreshments during breaks, which will include coffee, fruit, baked goods and other items.
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Congratulations to Cardozo Law's Mitchell Engler (pictured) on the publication of his Pay for Play: The Compensated Leisure Flow of Contract Damages, available for download here on SSRN. The article is published in the George Mason Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Contract damages aim to leave the injured party in as good a position as if the contract had been fulfilled. But discharged laborers often obtain a much better result due to the lack of a reduction for their excused work effort on breach. After first exposing the problematic ramifications of this unjustified deviation, this Article then provides two workable corrections.
Legal neglect of the labor/leisure tradeoff primarily explains the defect. Under this economic principle, workers must sacrifice valuable leisure to get paid. Contract law, however, can provide discharged workers compensated leisure: full payment despite retention of their leisure time after the breach. Interestingly, legal disregard of the leisure tradeoff also permeates the current firestorm over the value of a law degree. Evidencing a pattern of leisure time neglect, legal analyses similarly overstate service contract damages and the value of a law degree.
Practicalities also play a role as recognition of the flaw does not itself yield a ready solution. Current law’s mitigation offset for new work might seem to be the most feasible response. But mitigation does not apply if the new work is insufficiently comparable or if the worker could handle both jobs under the lost volume doctrine. Given mitigation’s limited scope, I demonstrate a superior offset. In theory, the contract price should be reduced by the worker’s lowest acceptable price for the job. With such reduction, the worker would receive just his real benefit, limited to the “surplus” value of the deal. I propose a novel way to estimate this proper offset: a sliding scale percentage reduction keyed to probability findings on job comparability or lost volume capacity. Labor elasticity studies provide another innovative way to estimate the offset as such studies calibrate the impact of wage changes on hourly work choices. Either approach would enhance the law’s coherence, fairness, and efficiency.