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Full-Text Articles in Law

Debunking The Efficacy Of Standard Contract Boilerplate: Part I, David Spratt Oct 2020

Debunking The Efficacy Of Standard Contract Boilerplate: Part I, David Spratt

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

Many contracts start with an introductory paragraph like this one: THIS AGREEMENT is made and entered into said 5th day of June, 2020, by and between JOHN JONES (hereinafter referred to as "Jones") and MARY SMITH (hereafter referred to as "Smith"), hereinafter referred to together as "the parties." Where do I find my red pen? There are so many problems with this introduction, I might run out of ink.


Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Innovation Versus Encrustation: Agency Costs In Contract Reproduction, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

This article studies the impact of exogenous legal change on whether and how lawyers across four different deal types revise their contracts’ governing law clauses in order to solve the problem that the legal change created. The governing law clause is present in practically every contract across a wide range of industries and, in particular, it appears in deals as disparate as private equity M&A transactions and sovereign bond issuances. Properly drafted, the clause increases the ex ante economic value of the contract to both parties by reducing uncertainty and litigation risk. We posit that different levels of agency costs …


Contractual Arbitrage, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

Contractual Arbitrage, Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Standard-form contracts are likely to be incomplete because they are not tailored to the needs of particular deals. In an attempt to reduce incompleteness, standard-form contracts often contain clauses with vague or ambiguous terms. Terms with indeterminate meaning present opportunities for strategic behavior well after a contract has been executed. This linguistic uncertainty in standard-form commercial contracts creates an opportunity for “contractual arbitrage”: parties may argue ex post that the uncertainties in expression mean something that the contracting parties did not contemplate ex ante. This chapter argues that the scope for contractual arbitrage is a direct function of the techniques …