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Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

Philosophical Legal Ethics: An Affectionate History, David Luban, W. Bradley Wendel Jul 2017

Philosophical Legal Ethics: An Affectionate History, David Luban, W. Bradley Wendel

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The modern subject of theoretical legal ethics began in the 1970s. This brief history distinguishes two waves of theoretical writing on legal ethics. The “First Wave” connects the subject to moral philosophy and focuses on conflicts between ordinary morality and lawyers’ role morality, while the “Second Wave” focuses instead on the role legal representation plays in maintaining and fostering a pluralist democracy. We trace the emergence of the First Wave to the larger social movements of the 1960s and 1970s; in the conclusion, we speculate about possible directions for a Third Wave of theoretical legal ethics, based in behavioral ethics ...


Contract Exposition And Formalism, Gregory Klass Feb 2017

Contract Exposition And Formalism, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Formalism in contract law has had many defenders and many critics. What courts need, however, is an account of when formalist approaches work and when they do not. This article addresses that need by developing a general theory of the rules of contract interpretation and construction—contract “exposition.” The theory distinguishes inter alia two forms of formalism. Formalities effect legal change by virtue of their form alone, and thereby obviate interpretation. Examples from contract law include “as is”, the seal and boilerplate terms. Formalities work when parties intend their legal effects, that is, when they perform juristic acts. Plain meaning ...


The Rules Of The Game And The Morality Of Efficient Breach, Gregory Klass Jan 2017

The Rules Of The Game And The Morality Of Efficient Breach, Gregory Klass

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

Moralists have long criticized the theory of efficient breach for its advocacy of promise breaking. But a fully developed theory of efficient breach has an internal morality of its own. It argues that sophisticated parties contract for efficient breach, which in the long run maximizes everyone’s welfare. And the theory marks some breaches—those that are opportunistic, obstructive, or otherwise inefficient—as wrongs that the law should deter, as transgressions that should not be priced but punished. That internal morality, however, does not excuse the theory from moral scrutiny. An extended comparison to Jean Renoir’s 1939 film, La ...