Last week I bid farewell to my Fall 2012 1L Contracts class. This is the first time I’ve taught 1L Contracts in the USA and it’s been very good to get back to my transactional & common law roots. The book I used was Contracts: A Context and Practice Casebook by Michael Hunter Schwartz & Denise Riebe. I am very pleased with the choice, and informal feedback gathered from my students suggests they are too. The book does a great job of combining core legal knowledge, practical skills and material on professional ethics and professional identity formation. For folks that have my kind of teaching style and philosophy it is a very good fit as it provides a framework in which 1Ls can at least make a start in recognizing & evaluating standard contract provisions such as merger clauses, agreed damages clauses, force majeure clauses and so on. It is also a book designed from the premise that different students have different learning styles. As far as I am concerned, anything that helps me try to meet students where they are deserves to be heartily commended. For anyone wishing to read more about Michael Schwartz’s educational philosophy, I recommend this.
Finally, for the benefit of my students here are some fun reminders of a few of the cases we read and discussed:
- On the tendency of courts to find ways to uphold commercial deals wherever possible, try this charming rendition of Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon:
- On the meaning of “chicken”, consider this reenactment of Frigaliment Importing Co v. B.N.S. International Sales Corp (hat tip to Mohit Bangia for drawing this one to my attention):
- And for a grand finale, here’s actress Shirley Maclaine’s encounter with the doctrine of mitigation of damages in Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.:
Enjoy the holidays.