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Full-Text Articles in Law

Expecting Specific Performance, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David Hoffman, Emily Campbell Nov 2023

Expecting Specific Performance, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, David Hoffman, Emily Campbell

Articles

Using a series of surveys and experiments, we find that ordinary people think that courts will give them exactly what they bargained for after breach of contract; in other words, specific performance is the expected contractual remedy. This expectation is widespread even for the diverse array of deals where the legal remedy is traditionally limited to money damages. But for a significant fraction of people, the focus on equity seems to be a naïve belief that is open to updating. In the studies reported here, individuals were less likely to anticipate specific performance when they were briefly introduced to the …


Defeating The Empire Of Forms, David Hoffman Nov 2023

Defeating The Empire Of Forms, David Hoffman

Articles

For generations, contract scholars have waged a faint-hearted campaign against form contracts. It’s widely believed that adhesive forms are unread and chock full of terms that courts will not, or should not, enforce. Most think that the market for contract terms is broken, for both employees and consumer adherents. And yet forms are so embedded in our economy that it’s hard to imagine modern commercial life without them. Scholars thus push calibrated, careful solutions that walk a deeply rutted path. Notwithstanding hundreds of proposals calling for their retrenchment, the empire of forms has continued to advance into new areas of …


Exit Engineering, Rachel Landy Oct 2023

Exit Engineering, Rachel Landy

Articles

How do business lawyers create value? For nearly forty years, scholars have conceptualized the business lawyer as a “transaction cost engineer” who helps contracting parties efficiently break negotiation stalemates to create more valuable deals. This theory provides meaningful insights about sophisticated corporate law practice, where outside lawyers parachute in to make one-off deals happen. However, it fails to explain the behavior of startup lawyers, who develop long-term relationships with their clients and counsel them on seemingly routine matters, well before a major transaction materializes. These lawyers are not just transaction cost engineers, they are exit engineers.This Article offers a novel …


Stopping Runs In The Digital Era, Luís C. Calderón Gómez Jul 2023

Stopping Runs In The Digital Era, Luís C. Calderón Gómez

Articles

Bank runs, and the financial crises they catalyze and amplify, are incredibly costly-to individuals, families, society, and the economy writ large. Banking regulation has, for the most part, protected us from traditional bank runs for the last ninety years. However, as we saw in the devastating 2008 financial crisis, bank runs can still occur in lightly regulated or opaque segments of the financial sector.

The recent crypto market downturn dramatically forewarned regulators of the potential and significant risks that novel assets could pose to our financial system's stability. In particular, a novel, systemically important asset (stablecoins) revealed its vulnerability to …


Provisional Measures In Aid Of Arbitration, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2023

Provisional Measures In Aid Of Arbitration, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

The success of the New York Convention has made arbitration a preferred means of dispute resolution for international commercial transactions. Success in arbitration often depends on the extent to which a party may secure assets, evidence, or the status quo between parties prior to the completion of the arbitration process. This makes the availability of provisional measures granted by either arbitral tribunals or by courts fundamental to the arbitration. In this Article, I consider the existing legal framework for provisional measures in aid of arbitration, with particular attention to the sources of the rules providing for such measures. Those sources …


Public Ownership And The Wto In A Post Covid-19 Era: From Trade Disputes To A 'Social' Function, Paolo Davide Farah, Davide Zoppolato Jan 2023

Public Ownership And The Wto In A Post Covid-19 Era: From Trade Disputes To A 'Social' Function, Paolo Davide Farah, Davide Zoppolato

Articles

Public ownership is closely bound to the need of the government to protect and guarantee the well-being of its citizens. Where the market cannot, or does not want to, provide goods and services, the State uses different tools to intervene, influence, and control some aspects of the private sphere of expression of its citizens in the name and interest of the collectivity. Although, in the past century, this behavior was accepted as one of the expressions of the public authority and part of the social contract, this perception has shifted partially in accordance with the wave of privatization programs initiated …


Government By Code? Blockchain Applications To Public Sector Governance, Pedro Bustamante, Meina Cai, Marcela Gomez, Colin Harris, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Wilson Law, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Nataliia Shapoval, Annette Vee, Martin B. H. Weiss Jun 2022

Government By Code? Blockchain Applications To Public Sector Governance, Pedro Bustamante, Meina Cai, Marcela Gomez, Colin Harris, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Wilson Law, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Nataliia Shapoval, Annette Vee, Martin B. H. Weiss

Articles

Studies of blockchain governance can be divided into analyses of the governance of blockchains (such as rules and power dynamics within a given network) and governance by blockchains (such as how blockchains can be implemented to improve self-governance of community-based peer production networks). Less emphasis has been placed on applications of distributed ledgers to public sector governance. Our review clarifies that the decentralization and distributive features that enable blockchains to link up loosely connected private organizations and public agencies to improve efficiency and transparency of government transactions. However, most blockchain applications lack clear advantages over the conventional digital recording of …


Is Bitcoin Prudent? Is Art Diversified? Offering Alternative Investments To 401(K) Participants, Edward A. Zelinsky Apr 2022

Is Bitcoin Prudent? Is Art Diversified? Offering Alternative Investments To 401(K) Participants, Edward A. Zelinsky

Articles

Whether 401(k) plans’ investment menus should feature “alternative” investments is a fact-driven inquiry applying ERISA’s fiduciary standards of prudence, loyalty, and diversification. Central to this fact-driven inquiry is whether the alternative investment class in question is broadly accepted by investors in general and by professional defined benefit trustees in particular. A similarly salient concern when making this inquiry is the financial unsophistication of many, perhaps most, 401(k) participants. Accounting for these considerations, this Article concludes that REITs, private equity funds, and hedge funds can, with limits, today be offered as investment choices to 401(k) participants, but that cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin), …


Contract Schemas, Roseanna Sommers Oct 2021

Contract Schemas, Roseanna Sommers

Articles

This review draws on the notion of “contract schemas” to characterize what ordinary people think is happening when they enter into contractual arrangements. It proposes that contracts are schematically represented as written documents filled with impenetrable text containing hidden strings, which are routinely signed without comprehension. This cognitive template, activated whenever people encounter objects with these characteristic features, confers certain default assumptions, associations, and expectancies. A review of the literature suggests that contract schemas supply (a) the assumption that terms will be enforced as written, (b) the feeling that one is obligated to perform, and (c) the sense that one …


Deal Protection Devices, Albert H. Choi Jun 2021

Deal Protection Devices, Albert H. Choi

Articles

In mergers and acquisitions transactions, a buyer and a seller will often agree to contractual mechanisms (deal protection devices) to deter third parties from jumping the deal and to compensate a disappointed buyer. With the help of auction theory, this Article analyzes various deal protection devices, while focusing on the two most commonly used mechanisms: match rights and target termination fees. A match right gives the buyer a right to “match” a third party’s offer so as to prevent the third party from snatching the target away, while a termination fee compensates the buyer when a third party acquires the …


Contract Design When Relationship-Specific Investment Produces Asymmetric Information, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis Jun 2021

Contract Design When Relationship-Specific Investment Produces Asymmetric Information, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis

Articles

Under conventional contract theory, contracts may be efficient by protecting relationship specific investment from holdup in subsequent (re)negotiation over terms of trade. This paper demonstrates a different problem when specific investment also provides significant private information to the investing party. This is fairly common: for example, a manufacturer invests to learn about its buyer's idiosyncratic needs or a collaborator invests to learn about a joint venture. We show how such private information can lead to subsequent bargaining failure and suboptimal ex ante relationship-specific investment. We also show that this inefficiency is worse if the parties enter into a binding and …


The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg Jun 2021

The Separation Of Voting And Control: The Role Of Contract In Corporate Governance, Gabriel V. Rauterberg

Articles

The default rules of corporate law make shareholders’ control rights a function of their voting power. Whether a director is elected or a merger is approved depends on how shareholders vote. Yet, in private corporations shareholders routinely alter their rights by contract. This phenomenon of shareholder agreements—contracts among the owners of a firm— has received far less attention than it deserves, mainly because detailed data about the actual contents of shareholder agreements has been lacking. Private companies disclose little, and shareholder agreements are thought to play a trivial or nonexistent role in public companies. I show that this is false—fifteen …


The Hague Judgments Convention In The United States: A “Game Changer” Or A New Path To The Old Game?, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2021

The Hague Judgments Convention In The United States: A “Game Changer” Or A New Path To The Old Game?, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

The Hague Judgments Convention, completed on July 2, 2019, is built on a list of “jurisdictional filters” in Article 5(1), and grounds for non-recognition in Article 7. If one of the thirteen jurisdictional tests in Article 5(1) is satisfied, the judgment may circulate under the Convention, subject to the grounds for non-recognition found in Article 7. This approach to Convention structure is especially significant for countries considering ratification and implementation. A different structure was suggested in the initial Working Group stage of the Convention’s preparation which would have avoided the complexity of multiple rules of indirect jurisdiction, each of which …


The Vulnerable Sovereign, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2021

The Vulnerable Sovereign, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

The connection between sovereignty and law is fundamental for both domestic (internal sovereignty) and the international (external sovereignty) purposes. As the dominant forms of government have evolved over time, so has the way in which we think about sovereignty. Consideration of the historical evolution of the concept of sovereignty offers insight into how we think of sovereignty today. A term that was born to represent the relationship between the governor and the governed has become a term that is used to represent the relationships between and among states in the global legal order. This article traces the history of the …


Unwaivable: Public Enforcement Claims And Mandatory Arbitration, Myriam E. Gilles, Gary Friedman Nov 2020

Unwaivable: Public Enforcement Claims And Mandatory Arbitration, Myriam E. Gilles, Gary Friedman

Articles

This essay, written for a conference on the “pathways and hurdles” that lie ahead in consumer litigation, is the first to examine the implications of California’s recent jurisprudence holding public enforcement claims unwaivable in standard-form contracts of adhesion, and the inevitable clash with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisional law interpreting the Federal Arbitration Act. With its rich history of rebuffing efforts to deprive citizens of public rights through private contract, California provides an ideal laboratory for exploring this escalating conflict.


The Behavioral Effects Of (Unenforceable) Contracts, Evan Starr, Jj Prescott, Norman Bishara Nov 2020

The Behavioral Effects Of (Unenforceable) Contracts, Evan Starr, Jj Prescott, Norman Bishara

Articles

Do contracts influence behavior independent of the law governing their enforceability? We explore this question in the context of employment noncompetes using nationally representative data for 11,500 labor force participants. We show that noncompetes are associated with reductions in employee mobility and changes in the direction of that mobility (i.e., toward noncompetitors) in both states that do and do not enforce noncompetes. Decomposing mobility into job offer generation and acceptance, we detect no evidence of differences in job search, recruitment, or offer activity associated with noncompetes. Rather, we find that employees with noncompetes—even in states that do not enforce them—frequently …


Making Employment Arbitration Fair And Accessible, Theodore J. St. Antoine May 2020

Making Employment Arbitration Fair And Accessible, Theodore J. St. Antoine

Articles

Mandatory arbitration agreements require employees, as a condition of employment, to agree to arbitrate all employment disputes instead of filing court suits. The Supreme Court has approved such agreements but many labor experts oppose them. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to prohibit pre-dispute agreements, the common form for mandatory arbitrations. This article argues that the House bill would have the practical effect of virtually eliminating employment arbitration. Instead, proposals are presented for either legislative or judicial steps to ensure that employment arbitration is fair and accessible. Requirements would include: (1) voluntary agreements on the part of …


Consumer Psychology And The Problem Of Fine Print Fraud, Roseanna Sommers, Meirav Furth-Matzkin Mar 2020

Consumer Psychology And The Problem Of Fine Print Fraud, Roseanna Sommers, Meirav Furth-Matzkin

Articles

This Article investigates consumers' beliefs about contracts that are formed as a result of fraud. Across four studies, we asked lay survey respondents to judge scenarios in which sellers use false representations to induce consumers to buy products or services. In each case, the false representations are directly contradicted by the written terms of the contract, which the consumers sign without reading. Our findings reveal that lay respondents, unlike legally trained respondents, believe that such agreements are consented to and will be enforced as written, despite the seller's material deception. Importantly, fine print discourages consumers from wanting to take legal …


Designing And Enforcing Preliminary Agreements, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis Feb 2020

Designing And Enforcing Preliminary Agreements, Albert H. Choi, George Triantis

Articles

Preliminary agreements—variously labeled as memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, term sheets, commitment letters, or agreements in principle—are common in complex business transactions. They document an incomplete set of terms that the parties have agreed upon, while anticipating further negotiation of the remaining provisions. They often create legal obligations, particularly a duty to negotiate in good faith. This duty has been the subject of a substantial number of judicial opinions over the past few decades and yet continues to be regarded as a confusing and unpredictable issue in contract law. Legal scholarship is hamstrung in its analysis of the case …


Tools For Data Governance, Michael J. Madison Jan 2020

Tools For Data Governance, Michael J. Madison

Articles

This article describes the challenges of data governance in terms of the broader framework of knowledge commons governance, an institutional approach to governing shared knowledge, information, and data resources. Knowledge commons governance highlights the potential for effective community- and collective-based governance of knowledge resources. The article focuses on key concepts within the knowledge commons framework rather than on specific law and public policy questions, directing the attention of researchers and policymakers to critical inquiry regarding relevant social groups and relevant data “things.” Both concepts are key tools for effective data governance.


Tuition As A Fraudulent Transfer, David G. Carlson Jan 2020

Tuition As A Fraudulent Transfer, David G. Carlson

Articles

Bankruptcy trustees are suing universities because the insolvent parent of an adult student has written a tuition check while insolvent. The theory is that the university is the initial transferee of a fraudulent transfer that has provided benefit to the student but not to the parent debtor. This article claims that the university is never the initial transferee of tuition dollars. Rather, the student is. Where the university has no knowledge of parent insolvency, the university can count educating the student as a good faith transfer for value, thus immunizing the university from liability. The unpleasant side effect is that …


Mere Conduit, David G. Carlson Oct 2019

Mere Conduit, David G. Carlson

Articles

"Mere conduit" is a legal fiction in fraudulent transfer and other avoidance cases. This article argues that the legal fiction is misleading, unnecessary and rendered obsolete by the Supreme Court's recent opinion in Merit Management Group v. FTI Consulting, Inc. (2018). The article further contends that a huge majority of leading cases confound fraudulent transfer law with the law of corporate theft. This error leads to depriving financial intermediaries of their opportunity to avoid liability on the ground of being bona fide transferees for value. Finally, courts often mistake banks as initial transferees of fraudulent transfers (absolutely liable in spite …


Are Literary Agents (Really) Fiduciaries?, Jacqueline Lipton Jul 2019

Are Literary Agents (Really) Fiduciaries?, Jacqueline Lipton

Articles

2018 was a big year for “bad agents” in the publishing world. In July, children’s literature agent Danielle Smith was exposed for lying to her clients about submissions and publication offers. In December, major literary agency Donadio & Olson, which represented a number of bestselling authors, including Chuck Palahnuik (Fight Club), filed for bankruptcy in the wake of an accounting scandal involving their bookkeeper, Darin Webb. Webb had embezzled over $3 million of client funds. Around the same time, Australian literary agent Selwa Anthony lost a battle in the New South Wales Supreme Court involving royalties she owed to her …


Ostrom Amongst The Machines: Blockchain As A Knowledge Commons, Herminio Bodon, Pedro Bustamante, Marcela Gomez, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Martin B. H. Weiss Jan 2019

Ostrom Amongst The Machines: Blockchain As A Knowledge Commons, Herminio Bodon, Pedro Bustamante, Marcela Gomez, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy, Michael J. Madison, Ilia Murtazashvili, Jennifer Brick Murtazashvili, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Martin B. H. Weiss

Articles

Blockchains are distributed ledger technologies that allow the recording of any data structure, including money, property titles, and contracts. In this paper, we suggest that Hayekian political economy is especially well suited to explain how blockchain emerged, but that Elinor Ostrom’s approach to commons governance is particularly useful to understand why blockchain anarchy is successful. Our central conclusions are that the blockchain can be thought of as a spontaneous order, as Hayek anticipated, as well as a knowledge commons, as Ostrom’s studies of self-governance anticipated.


Harry Flechtner--A True Teacher/Scholar, With Rhythm, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2019

Harry Flechtner--A True Teacher/Scholar, With Rhythm, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

This is a tribute to Professor Emeritus Harry Flechtner upon his retirement from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Professor Flechtner was a leading scholar on the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), a stellar teacher, a musician who used that skill in the classroom as well as the Vienna Konzerthaus, and a genuinely nice person.


The Past, Present And Future Of The Cisg (And Other Uniform Commercial Code Law Initiatives), Harry Flechtner Jan 2019

The Past, Present And Future Of The Cisg (And Other Uniform Commercial Code Law Initiatives), Harry Flechtner

Articles

As the keynote speaker of the Spring 2019 CISG Conference, Harry M. Flechtner, Professor Emeritus, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, candidly shares his perspectives on the development and progress of the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG) through the years. He begins with his initial introduction to the convention and then reflects upon several important issues and challenges facing the CISG, particularly involving uniform international law initiatives. Professor Flechtner looks hard at what's working and what's not and with a critical eye he draws attention to crucial matters yet to be resolved. While his perspective is light …


Contracts Mattered As Much As Copyrights, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz Jan 2019

Contracts Mattered As Much As Copyrights, Robert W. Gomulkiewicz

Articles

Scholars have begun to appreciate the fundamental role that contracts played in the development of copyrights. Contracts gave copyrights vitalilty. This article explores the network of book publishing contracts that formed the legal infrastructure for a pre-modern “internet” at the dawn of copyright law in Great Britain in the eighteenth century. Drawing on insights from archival research, the article shows how this network of copyright contracts advanced an important goal of copyright: the spread of ideas and information throughout all parts of society. Appreciating the historical significance of copyright contracts provides valuable context for modern debates about copyright policy. Indeed, …


Is Blockchain The Next Step In The Evolution Chain Of [Market] Intermediaries?, Marcela Gomez, Pedro Bustamante, Martin B. H. Weiss, Ilia Murtazashvili, Michael J. Madison, Wilson Law, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Herminio Bodon, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy Jan 2019

Is Blockchain The Next Step In The Evolution Chain Of [Market] Intermediaries?, Marcela Gomez, Pedro Bustamante, Martin B. H. Weiss, Ilia Murtazashvili, Michael J. Madison, Wilson Law, Tymofiy Mylovanov, Herminio Bodon, Prashabnt Krishnamurthy

Articles

The blockchain is a decentralized solution for handling transactions where we are concerned (among other aspects) with the accuracy and verification of transactions. One of its main promises is to eliminate the need for centralized entities or intermediaries and legal enforcement. Rather than trusting self-interested human intermediaries, the blockchain provides an alternative that relies on transparent computational protocols (Werbach 2018).

In this paper, we delve into this broker-less claim and analyze whether the blockchain needs an intermediary to allow for widespread access to its functionality and whether the blockchain itself is an intermediary. The latter would turn the blockchain into …


No-Hire Provisions In Mcdonald's Franchise Agreements, An Antitrust Violations Or Evidence Of Joint Employer?, Andrele Brutus St. Val Jan 2019

No-Hire Provisions In Mcdonald's Franchise Agreements, An Antitrust Violations Or Evidence Of Joint Employer?, Andrele Brutus St. Val

Articles

As the archetypical franchisor and industry leader, McDonald’s has come under much public and legal scrutiny in recent years for its business practices and its effects on low-wage and unskilled employees. Its no hire provision—which is a term included in its franchise agreements with franchisees that bars franchisees from hiring each others employees—has been found by economist to suppress wages and stagnate growth. This provision is being challenged under antitrust law while its employment practices are being disputed under labor law. McDonald’s is defending its business practices by presenting two seemingly contradictory defenses. This article explores how McDonald’s position in …


The Cisg: Applicable Law And Applicable Forums, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2019

The Cisg: Applicable Law And Applicable Forums, Ronald A. Brand

Articles

Despite being in effect for over thirty years, a debate continues on whether the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) has been a success. With 89 Contracting States, it clearly is widely accepted. At the same time, empirical studies show that private parties regularly opt out of its application. It has served as a model for domestic sales law, and as an important educational tool. But has it been a success? In this article I consider that question, and suggests that the scorecard is not yet complete; and that it will perhaps take significantly …