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Full-Text Articles in Law

Leases As Forms, David A. Hoffman, Anton Strezhnev Dec 2021

Leases As Forms, David A. Hoffman, Anton Strezhnev

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We offer the first large scale descriptive study of residential leases, based on a dataset of ~170,000 residential leases filed in support of over ~200,000 Philadelphia eviction proceedings from 2005 through 2019. These leases are highly likely to contain unenforceable terms, and their pro-landlord tilt has increased sharply over time. Matching leases with individual tenant characteristics, we show that unlawful terms are surprisingly likely to be associated with more expensive leaseholds in richer, whiter parts of the city. This result is linked to landlords' growing adoption of shared forms, originally created by non-profit landlord associations, and more recently ...


Crisis And Cultural Evolution: Steering The Next Normal From Self-Interest To Concern And Fairness, Robert A. Bohrer Jan 2021

Crisis And Cultural Evolution: Steering The Next Normal From Self-Interest To Concern And Fairness, Robert A. Bohrer

Faculty Scholarship

This essay examines the current time of crisis and offers a vision of the way in which our society and our law can evolve in response. Crises of this scale are evolution-forcing events and I argue that the current moment can move us towards a fundamentally different vision of law and justice. It is the first essay or article to show that the autonomous pursuit of self-interest was a common assumption or value in the major intellectual forces of the twentieth century: classical free market economics, behavioral economics, and sociobiology, as well as in the competing visions of a just ...


When Standards Collide With Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, And Microsoft V. Motorola, Cynthia L. Dahl Jun 2020

When Standards Collide With Intellectual Property: Teaching About Standard Setting Organizations, Technology, And Microsoft V. Motorola, Cynthia L. Dahl

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Technology lawyers, intellectual property (IP) lawyers, or even any corporate lawyer with technology clients must understand standard essential patents (SEPs) and how their licensing works to effectively counsel their clients. Whether the client’s technology is adopted into a voluntary standard or not may be the most important factor in determining whether the company succeeds or is left behind in the market. Yet even though understanding SEPs is critical to a technology or IP practice, voluntary standards and specifically SEPs are generally not taught in law school.

This article aims to address this deficiency and create more practice-ready law school ...


De Facto Shareholder Primacy, Jeff Schwartz Jan 2020

De Facto Shareholder Primacy, Jeff Schwartz

Maryland Law Review

No abstract provided.


Provisional Measures In Aid Of Arbitration, Ronald A. Brand Jan 2020

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, in advance, ensure that assets or evidence is secured in advance, or that the other party is required to take steps to secure the status quo. This makes the availability of provisional measures granted by either arbitral tribunals or by courts important to the arbitration process. In this chapter I consider the existing legal framework for such provisional measures in aid of arbitration. I give particular attention ...


Transactional Scripts In Contract Stacks, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman Jan 2020

Transactional Scripts In Contract Stacks, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Deals accomplished through software persistently residing on computer networks—sometimes called smart contracts, but better termed transactional scripts—embody a potentially revolutionary contracting innovation. Ours is the first precise account in the legal literature of how such scripts are created, and when they produce errors of legal significance.

Scripts’ most celebrated use case is for transactions operating exclusively on public, permissionless, blockchains: such exchanges eliminate the need for trusted intermediaries and seem to permit parties to commit ex ante to automated performance. But public transactional scripts are costly both to develop and execute, with significant fees imposed for data storage ...


The Myth Of Optimal Expectation Damages, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Sherrill, Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

The Myth Of Optimal Expectation Damages, Theresa Arnold, Amanda Dixon, Madison Sherrill, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

A much-debated question in contract law scholarship is what the optimal measure of damages for breach should be. The casebook answer-drawing from the theory of efficient breach-is expectation damages. This standard answer, which was a major contribution of the law and economics field, has come under attack by theoreticians within that field itself. To shed an empirical perspective on the question, we look at data on the types of damages provisions parties contract/or themselves in international debt contracts. Specifically, we examine issuer call provisions, which are economically equivalent to damages for prepayment, yet not viewed as legally problematic in ...


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 ...


Specific Performance, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2020

Specific Performance, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

When should specific performance be available for breach of contract? This question has engaged generations of legal economists and philosophers, historians and comparativists. Yet none of these disciplines have provided a persuasive answer. This Article provides a normatively-attractive and conceptually-coherent account. Respect for the autonomy of the promisor’s future self explains why expectation damages are, and should be, the ordinary remedy for contract breach. Also, this same normative commitment to the contracting parties’ autonomy best justifies the “uniqueness exception,” where specific performance is typically awarded, and the personal services exclusion, where it is not. For the most part, the ...


Stay In The Fight With Civility And Professionalism, David Spratt Jan 2020

Stay In The Fight With Civility And Professionalism, David Spratt

Articles in Law Reviews & Other Academic Journals

No abstract provided.


Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2020

Revising Boilerplate: A Comparison Of Private And Public Company Transactions, Stephen J. Choi, Robert E. Scott, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The textbook model of commercial contracts between sophisticated parties holds that terms are proposed, negotiated and ultimately priced by the parties. Parties reach agreement on contract provisions that best suit their transaction with the goal of maximizing the joint surplus from the contract. The reality, of course, is that the majority of the provisions in contemporary commercial contracts are boilerplate terms derived from prior transactions and even the most sophisticated contracting parties pay little attention to these standard terms, focusing instead on the price of the transaction. With standard-form or boilerplate contracts, this dynamic of replicating by rote the terms ...


The Paradox Of Contracting In Markets, Robert E. Scott Jan 2020

The Paradox Of Contracting In Markets, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Traditional economic analysis distinguishes economic organization along three dimensions: firm, contract, and market. This categorization is misleading in any number of respects, but none more so than the assumption that contract and market are separate modes of exchange. In fact, other than barter, which is almost unknown in contemporary commercial transactions, every market transaction is implemented by contract. Thus, in markets the two modes of exchange are inextricably combined. Moreover, the vast majority of contract activity occurs in some form of market, so it does not require much loss of generalization to say that not only are contracts in all ...


Bitcoin: Order Without Law In The Digital Age, John O. Mcginnis, Kyle Roche Oct 2019

Bitcoin: Order Without Law In The Digital Age, John O. Mcginnis, Kyle Roche

Indiana Law Journal

Modern law makes currency a creature of the state and ultimately the value of its currency depends on the public’s trust in that state. While some nations are more capable than others at instilling public trust in the stability of their monetary institutions, it is nonetheless impossible for any legal system to make the pre-commitments necessary to completely isolate the governance of its money supply from political pressure. This proposition is true not only today, where nearly all government institutions manage their money supply in the form of central banking, but also true of past private banking regimes circulating ...


Markets As A Moral Foundation For Contract Law, Nathan B. Oman Sep 2019

Markets As A Moral Foundation For Contract Law, Nathan B. Oman

Nathan B. Oman

No abstract provided.


Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Erik Lampmann Jan 2019

Hushing Contracts, David A. Hoffman, Erik Lampmann

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The last few years have brought a renewed appreciation of the costs of nondisclosure agreements that suppress information about sexual wrongdoing. Recently passed bills in a number of states, including New York and California, has attempted to deal with such hush contracts. But such legislation is often incomplete, and many courts and commentators continue to ask if victims of harassment can sign enforceable settlements that conceal serious, potentially metastasizing, social harms. In this Article, we argue that employing the public policy doctrine, courts ought to generally refuse to enforce hush agreements, especially those created by organizations. We restate public policy ...


The Role Of Groups In Norm Transformation: A Dramatic Sketch, In Three Parts, Robert B. Ahdieh Jun 2018

The Role Of Groups In Norm Transformation: A Dramatic Sketch, In Three Parts, Robert B. Ahdieh

Robert B. Ahdieh

Legal scholars, as well as economists, have focused limited attention on the role of coordinated groups of market participants - committees, clubs, associations, and the like - in social ordering generally and in the evolution of norms particularly. One might trace this neglect to some presumptive orientation to state actors (expressive law) and autonomous individuals (norm entrepreneurs) as the sole parties of interest in social change. Yet, alternative stories of social ordering and norm change might also be told. Dramatic recent changes in the contracting practices of the sovereign debt markets offer one such story.

Using the latter by way of illustration ...


Apple Pay, Bitcoin, And Consumers: The Abcs Of Future Public Payments Law, Mark Edwin Burge Jun 2018

Apple Pay, Bitcoin, And Consumers: The Abcs Of Future Public Payments Law, Mark Edwin Burge

Mark Edwin Burge

As technology rolls out ongoing and competing streams of payments innovation, exemplified by Apple Pay (mobile payments) and Bitcoin (cryptocurrency), the law governing these payments appears hopelessly behind the curve. The patchwork of state, federal, and private legal rules seems more worthy of condemnation than emulation. This Article argues, however, that the legal and market developments of the last several decades in payment systems provide compelling evidence of the most realistic and socially beneficial future for payments law. The paradigm of a comprehensive public law regulatory scheme for payment systems, exemplified by Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial ...


Not So Good: The Classification Of “Smart Goods” Under Ucc Article 2, Chadwick L. Williams Feb 2018

Not So Good: The Classification Of “Smart Goods” Under Ucc Article 2, Chadwick L. Williams

Georgia State University Law Review

Refrigerators can now tweet. Today, almost sixty years after the states widely adopted the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), the line between goods and services is more blurred than ever. When the UCC was drafted, a good was the simple opposite of a service. A good was something “movable” and tangible, and a service was not. Article 2 of the UCC, which governs sales, limits its scope to goods.

However, because Article 2 was drafted long before the proliferation of so-called “smart goods,” courts continuously struggle to determine when a smart good falls within Article 2’s scope. Courts have developed ...


How Well Do We Treat Each Other In Contract?, Aditi Bagchi Feb 2018

How Well Do We Treat Each Other In Contract?, Aditi Bagchi

William & Mary Business Law Review

One of the important contributions of Nathan Oman’s new book is to draw focus onto the quality of the relationships enabled by contract. He claims that contract, by supporting markets, cultivates certain virtues; helps facilitate cooperation among people with diverse commitments; and produces the wealth that may fuel interpersonal and social justice. These claims are all plausible, though subject to individual challenge. However, there is an alternative story to tell about the kinds of relationships that arise from markets--i.e., a story about domination. The experience of domination is driven in part by the necessity, inequality, and competition enjoined ...


A Pragmatist’S View Of Promissory Law With A Focus On Consent And Reliance, Robert A. Hillman Feb 2018

A Pragmatist’S View Of Promissory Law With A Focus On Consent And Reliance, Robert A. Hillman

William & Mary Business Law Review

This Article discusses Professor Nate Oman’s excellent new book, The Dignity of Commerce, which makes an impressive case for how markets can produce “desirable” outcomes for society. In addition to a comprehensive account of what he calls “virtues” of markets, such as their tendency to produce cooperation, trust, and wealth, the book is full of useful and persuasive supporting information and discussions.

Oman is not only a fan of markets, but he asserts that markets are the “center” of contract theory, and provide its normative foundation. Elaborating, Oman concludes that “contract law exists primarily to support markets” and that ...


Does Contract Law Need Morality?, Kimberly D. Krawiec, Wenhao Liu Feb 2018

Does Contract Law Need Morality?, Kimberly D. Krawiec, Wenhao Liu

William & Mary Business Law Review

In The Dignity of Commerce, Nathan Oman sets out an ambitious market theory of contract, which he argues is a superior normative foundation for contract law than either the moralist or economic justifications that currently dominate contract theory. In doing so, he sets out a robust defense of commerce and the marketplace as contributing to human flourishing that is a refreshing and welcome contribution in an era of market alarmism. But the market theory ultimately falls short as either a normative or prescriptive theory of contract. The extent to which law, public policy, and theory should account for values other ...


Contract, Promise, And The Right Of Redress, Andrew S. Gold Feb 2018

Contract, Promise, And The Right Of Redress, Andrew S. Gold

William & Mary Business Law Review

This Essay reviews Nathan Oman’s recent book, The Dignity of Commerce. The book is compelling, and it makes an important and original contribution to contract theory—a contribution that insightfully shows how markets matter. Yet, in the course of developing a market-centered justification for contract law, The Dignity of Commerce also downplays the significance of consent and promissory morality. In both cases, the book’s argument is problematic, but this Essay will address questions of promissory morality. Oman contends that promise-based accounts struggle with contract law’s bilateralism and with its private standing doctrine. Yet, promissory morality is a ...


Markets And Morals: The Limits Of Doux Commerce, Mark L. Movsesian Feb 2018

Markets And Morals: The Limits Of Doux Commerce, Mark L. Movsesian

William & Mary Business Law Review

In this Essay on Professor Oman’s beautifully written and meticulously researched book, The Dignity of Commerce, I do three things. First, I describe what I take to be the central message of the book, namely, that markets promote liberal values of tolerance, pluralism, and cooperation among rival, even hostile groups. Second, I show how Oman’s argument draws from a line of political and economic thought that dates to the Enlightenment, the so-called doux commerce thesis of thinkers like Montesquieu and Adam Smith. Finally, I discuss what I consider the most penetrating criticism of that thesis, Edmund Burke’s ...


Contract Law And The Common Good, Brian H. Bix Feb 2018

Contract Law And The Common Good, Brian H. Bix

William & Mary Business Law Review

In The Dignity of Commerce, Nathan Oman offers a theory of contract law that is largely descriptive, but also strongly normative. His theory presents contract law’s purpose as supporting robust markets. This Article compares and contrasts Oman’s argument about the proper understanding of contract law with one presented over eighty years earlier by Morris Cohen. Oman’s focus is on the connection between Contract Law and markets; Cohen’s connection had been between Contract Law and the public interest. Oman’s work brings back Cohen’s basic insight, and gives it a more concrete form, as a formidable ...


The Evolution Of Entrepreneurial Finance: A New Typology, J. Brad Bernthal Jan 2018

The Evolution Of Entrepreneurial Finance: A New Typology, J. Brad Bernthal

Articles

There has been an explosion in new types of startup finance instruments. Whereas twenty years ago preferred stock dominated the field, startup companies and investors now use at least eight different instruments—six of which have only become widely used in the last decade. Legal scholars have yet to reflect upon the proliferation of instrument types in the aggregate. Notably missing is a way to organize instruments into a common framework that highlights their similarities and differences.

This Article makes four contributions. First, it catalogues the variety of startup investment forms. I describe novel instruments, such as revenue-based financing, which ...


The Price Of Law: The Case Of The Eurozone's Collective Action Clauses, Elena Carletti, Paolo Colla, Mitu Gulati, Steven Ongena Jan 2018

The Price Of Law: The Case Of The Eurozone's Collective Action Clauses, Elena Carletti, Paolo Colla, Mitu Gulati, Steven Ongena

Faculty Scholarship

Do markets value contract protections? And does the quality of a legal system affect such valuations? To answer these questions we exploit a unique experiment whereby, after January 1, 2013, newly issued sovereign bonds of Eurozone countries under domestic law had to include Collective Action Clauses (CACs) specifying the minimum vote needed to modify payment terms. We find that CAC bonds trade at lower yields than otherwise similar no-CAC bonds; and that the quality of the legal system matters for this differential. Hence, markets appear to see CACs as providing protection against the legal risk embedded in domestic-law sovereign bonds.


Relational Contracts Of Adhesion, David A. Hoffman Jan 2018

Relational Contracts Of Adhesion, David A. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Not all digital fine print exculpates liability: some exhorts users to perform before the consumer relationship has soured. We promise to choose strong passwords (and hold them private); to behave civilly on social networks; to refrain from streaming shows and sports; and to avoid reverse-engineering code (or, worse, deploying deadly bots). In short: consumers are apparently regulated by digital fine print, though it’s universally assumed we don’t read it, and even if we did, we’ll never be sued for failing to perform.

On reflection, this ordinary phenomenon is perplexing. Why would firms persist in deploying uncommunicative behavioral ...


Markets And Morals: The Limits Of Doux Commerce, Mark L. Movsesian Jan 2018

Markets And Morals: The Limits Of Doux Commerce, Mark L. Movsesian

Faculty Publications

In this essay for a symposium on Professor Nathan Oman's new book, The Dignity of Commerce, I do three things. First, I describe what I take to be the central message of the book, namely, that markets promote liberal values of tolerance, pluralism, and cooperation among rival, even hostile groups. Second, I show how Oman's argument draws from a line of political and economic thought that dates to the Enlightenment, the so-called "doux commerce" thesis of thinkers like Montesquieu and Adam Smith. Finally, I discuss what I consider the most penetrating criticism of that thesis, Edmund Burke's ...


The Middleman’S Damages Revisited, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2018

The Middleman’S Damages Revisited, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

If A promises to sell to B who, in turn, promises to sell to C and either A or C breaches should B receive the gain it expected had both transactions occurred (lost profits) or the larger market/contract differential? Recent case law and commentary argues for the lost profit remedy. The argument is that there is a conflict between awarding market damages and making the nonbreacher whole. This paper argues that there is no conflict. If B were a broker, and C breached, then A would have an action against C for market damages. If B were party to ...


Why Autonomy Must Be Contract's Ultimate Value, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller Jan 2018

Why Autonomy Must Be Contract's Ultimate Value, Hanoch Dagan, Michael A. Heller

Faculty Scholarship

In “The Choice Theory of Contracts”, we develop a liberal theory of contract law. One core task of the book was to persuade advocates of economic analysis that they must situate their enterprise within our liberal framework. Autonomy, rightly understood, is the telos of contract.

Oren Bar-Gill pushes back strongly in “Choice Theory and the Economic Analysis of Contracts”. He offers a penetrating – perhaps devastating – critique of our approach. Bar-Gill notes the substantial convergence between choice theory and a welfarist view. If he is right, then what does choice theory add?

Our task in Part I of this Essay is ...