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Articles 1 - 6 of 6

Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine P. Wells May 2010

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine P. Wells

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This paper addresses two related questions. The first relates to Langdell and his development of a doctrinal theory of contract law. The substance and method of Langdell’s work has not been well understood and this paper uses a variety of historical materials to remedy this problem. It begins with a review of contract law prior to Langdell. Contract law at this time was in a very primitive state. The available treatises were confusing and the cases themselves offered little guidance for predicting future case outcomes. The paper then proceeds to examine Langdell’s method by describing certain logic texts ...


The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jun 2006

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The common law often is casually referred to as an iterative process without much attention given to the detailed attributes such processes exhibit. This Article explores this characterization, uncovering how common law as an iterative process is one of endless repetition that is simultaneously stable and dynamic, self-similar but evolving, complex yet simple. These attributes constrain the systemic significance of judicial discretion and also confirm the wisdom of traditional approaches to studying and learning law. As an iterative system, common law exhibits what physicists call sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This generates a path dependency from which it may be ...


Finance Theory And Accounting Fraud: Fantastic Futures Versus Conservative Histories, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jan 2005

Finance Theory And Accounting Fraud: Fantastic Futures Versus Conservative Histories, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Intellectual tension between the fields of finance and accounting may help to explain explosion of public company frauds. Finance theory diminishes the relevance of accounting information. Enron exploited this consequence while the SEC bought into it. After widespread frauds were exposed, Congress passed laws that address symptoms of finance's futurism, not disease. Laws essentially prohibit pro forma financial reporting and regulate the selective flow of futuristic information to financial analysts. Untouched is the underlying disease of regulatory mandates requiring extensive disclosure of forward-looking information. Until the 1970s, the SEC prudently prohibited such futuristic disclosure as inherently unreliable; assisted by ...


Facilitating Auditing’S New Early Warning System: Control Disclosure, Auditor Liability And Safe Harbors, Lawrence A. Cunningham Apr 2004

Facilitating Auditing’S New Early Warning System: Control Disclosure, Auditor Liability And Safe Harbors, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article considers the interplay between new auditing standards governing audits of internal control over financial reporting and pre-existing legal standards governing auditor liability for audit failure. The interplay produces skewed liability incentives that, if unadjusted, threaten to impair the objective of this new control-audit regime. The regime’s objective is, in part, to provide an early warning to financial statement users when current financial statements are reliable but control weaknesses indicate material risk of a company’s future inability to produce reliable financial statements. To be meaningful, auditor disclosure of material weaknesses and potential effects is necessary. While liability ...


Fiduciary Relationships Are Not Contracts, Scott T. Fitzgibbon Jan 1999

Fiduciary Relationships Are Not Contracts, Scott T. Fitzgibbon

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article, which explores the nature of fiduciary relationships, demonstrates that these relationships arise and function in ways that are alien to contractualist thought. While the relationships may, like marriage relationships, be part of the same genus, they are indeed members of a different species. Fiduciary relationships differ both in doctrinal structure and ethical basis. However, some contractualist writing denies one or the other of these two propostitions. This Article, therefore, aims to establish that both are in fact true. The author presents that fiduciary relationships have value and serve purposes that are largely unknown to contractualists. Furthermore, these relationships ...


The Misuse Of Tax Incentives To Align Management-Shareholder Interests, James R. Repetti Jan 1997

The Misuse Of Tax Incentives To Align Management-Shareholder Interests, James R. Repetti

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The U.S. tax system contains many provisions which are intended to align management of large publicly traded companies more closely to stockholders. This article shows that many of the tax provisions that have been adopted are of questionable effectiveness because they fail to address the complexities of stockholder-management relations in attempting to motivate management to act in the best interests of stockholders. The article proposes that rather than Congress attempting to identify the best way that it can use the tax system to motivate management, Congress should eliminate tax provisions which subsidize management's inefficiencies in order to encourage ...