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Contracts

2011

Catharine P. Wells

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Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine Wells Dec 2011

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine Wells

Catharine P. Wells

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 ...