Jody Kraus

Jody Kraus

  • Patricia D. and R. Paul Yetter Professor of Law

J.D., Yale Law School, 1990
Ph.D., University of Arizona, 1987
M.A., University of Arizona, 1984
B.A., Ohio State University, 1982

Areas of Specialty

Commercial Law
Law and Economics
Philosophy of Law
Political Philosophy

A lawyer and philosopher, Jody Kraus focuses his scholarship on the relationship between moral and economic theories of law in general, with particular emphasis on contract law. He is co-author (with Columbia Professor Robert E. Scott) of a leading casebook, Contract Law and Theory (fifth edition). Kraus and Scott also recently co-authored The Case Against Equity in American Contract Law (93 Southern California Law Review 1323 (2020)). Kraus has testified as an expert on contracts and the Uniform Commercial Code in both U.S. and foreign disputes, and he regularly consults on these subjects for attorneys around the world.

When Kraus joined the Law School faculty, in 2012, he was named a Columbia University professor of philosophy. He teaches introductory and advanced contracts courses and has taught courses on the philosophy of contract law, legal theory, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. He is on the faculty of the new Columbia Law School Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law program.

Kraus served as the area organizer for the contracts and commercial law section of the American Law and Economics Association. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the Advisory Board of Legal Theory, the Association of American Law Schools, the American Philosophical Association, and the New York and Virginia bars.


  • “The Case Against Equity in American Contract Law,” Southern California Law Review, 2020
  • “The Correspondence of Contract and Promise,” Columbia Law Review, 2009
  • “Personal Sovereignty and Normative Power Skepticism,” Columbia Law Review Sidebar, 2009
  • “Contract Design and the Structure of Contractual Intent,” (with Robert E. Scott), New York University Law Review, 2009
  • “From Langdell to Law and Economics: Two Conceptions of Stare Decisis in Contract Law and Theory,” Virginia Law Review, 2008
  • Contract Law and Theory, (with Robert E. Scott), LexisNexis, 2007
  • “A Critique of the Efficient Performance Hypothesis,” Yale Law Journal Pocket Part, 2007
  • “Transparency and Determinacy in Common Law Adjudication: A Philosophical Defense of Explanatory Economic Analysis,” Virginia Law Review, 2007
  • “Legal Indeterminacy and Moral Justification,” William and Mary Law Review, 2007
  • The Jurisprudential Foundations of Corporate and Commercial Law, (ed. with Steven D. Walt), Cambridge University Press, 2000
  • The Limits of Hobbesian Contractarianism, Cambridge University Press, 1993