Section Description Provided by Instructor
This is a basic introductory course in contract law. The study of contracts is the study of the legal enforcement of promises. When and how should the law enforce a promise against a reluctant promiisor? The answer to this and related questions determines when and how society, through its legal system, intervenes in private contractual relationships. In part, the course will focus on how lawyers make legal arguments; how they use the various doctrines of contract law to advance their clients interests. Here we will study the consideration doctrine and the various bases for enforcing promises, the dynamics of the bargaining process including precontractual liability, how courts police the bargain for fraud and duress, the standards for performance and the consequences of non-performance including the remedies for breach of contract, and, finally, the consequences of uncertainty about the future (mistake, impracticability, and frustration). In addition, however, the course will also focus on the practical uses of contract theory. We ask: what purposes are the various legal rules (as announced in cases and statutes) designed to serve? Are the policy goals desirable and how effectively are they implemented through contract doctrine? And, most importantly, how can a transactional lawyer, aware of both doctrine and theory, design a contract that implements her client's goals? In this way, the course examines both contract law and theory so as to provide the student with the capacity to predict how courts will resolve future disputes as well as how to engage in contract planning to forestall those disputes.