Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Temple Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School will host a workshop April 21, 2023 at Temple (Philadelphia) focusing on recent changes in Contracts pedagogy and law: (i) the effect of the last few years on the delivery of Contracts teaching materials (e.g., what is the role of the Contracts casebook?); and (ii) how, in early hindsight, have our predictions about COVID and Contract doctrine, documented in a 2021 issue of Law and Contemporary Problems, played out?
Anticipated speakers/participants will include Ed Cheng (Vanderbilt), Sarah Dadush (Rutgers), Pamela Foohey (Cardozo), Bob Hillman (Cornell), Dave Hoffman (Penn), Marissa Jackson (Richmond), Kish Parella (W&L), Dylan Penningroth (Berkeley), Mitra Sharafi (Wisconsin), Andrew Schwartz (Colorado), Gordon Smith (BYU) and Rip Verkerke (UVA), among others.
The COVID-19 pandemic taught us a great deal about the role and teaching of Contracts. Many feared widespread breach and litigation; others worried about how to teach the law of promising (and breach) through a flat screen. Some of us worried about both.
With memories still fresh, we wanted to gather those who participated in those discussions, and to welcome newcomers, to assess what we thought in the moment, and where we think COVID’s lingering effects will take Contracts scholarship and teaching.
On the educational side, we have learned that we can do many (but not all) things virtually or remotely. The pandemic appears, for example, to have accelerated a trend toward the disaggregation of educational content in general. Now, we use (consciously or not) videos, podcasts, YouTube clips and other online content to supply or supplement content for Contracts class. Indeed, there are now free and freemium materials from which one could teach an entire Contracts course. And, given increased focus on racial injustice as it manifests in various legal and social systems, many who teach Contracts seek to reckon more deliberately with the legacy of structural racism and inequality.
On the theory/doctrine/practice side, it appears that many of our worst systemic fears about COVID were not realized. While there was (and remains) plenty of litigation, the vast majority of problems appear to have been resolved consensually, whether through standstills or workouts or the like. Yet, some of those resolutions were better than others. Many front-line workers (here and abroad) may have been left with the very short end of the stick, for example.
For those of you who may have participated in the Contract and COVID (K-COVID) workshops hosted by Temple (or contributed to the resulting symposium issue of Law and Contemporary Problems, Contract in Crisis), this will be an opportunity to discuss developments since then. We also welcome and encourage new or aspiring Contracts teachers (and those who may be new to these issues) to join us.
This will be a continuation of the Kidwell Lecture, which has historically been held every year or so at Wisconsin, named in honor of Professor John Kidwell. Speakers including Lisa Bernstein, Cathy Hwang and (most recently) Rachel Rebouché have presented Contracts scholarship in the “law in action” tradition (or critiquing it).