AuthorJ.H. Verkerke
Our reading assignments this semester will include all of the elements
that make up a conventional casebook. You will read judicial opinions,
statutory provisions, academic essays, and hypotheticals. You will puzzle over
common law doctrines and carefully parse statutes. We will try to develop
theories that can predict and justify the patterns of judicial decisions we
Why study contract law?
The first semester of law school is mostly about learning to speak a
new legal language (but emphatically not “legalese”), to formulate and
evaluate legal arguments, to become comfortable with the distinctive style of
legal analysis. We could teach these skills using almost any legal topic. But we
begin the first-year curriculum with subjects that pervade the entire field of
law. Contract principles have a long history and they form a significant part
of the way that lawyers think about many legal pro blems. As you will
discover when you study insurance law, employment law, family law, and
dozens of other practice areas, your knowledge of contract doctrine and
theory will be invaluable.
Why collaborative teaching materials?
The ultimate goal of this project is to involve many professors in
producing a library of materials for teaching contracts (and other subjects).
For the moment, I will be solely responsible for collecting public domain
content and generating problems and explanatory essays. These embryonic
reading materials will grow and evolve as I use and expand them and as other
professors join in producing additional content. I gratefully acknowledge the
extraordinary work of my talented research assistants who have been
instrumental in helping me to put these materials together. Thanks to Sarah
Bryan, Mario Lorello, Elizabeth Young, Vishal Phalgoo, Valerie Barker and
Jim Sherwood.
I believe that it is equally important to involve students in the
ongoing process of refining and improving how we teach legal subjects. Our
collaboration site will provide a platform for student-generated content and
lively dialogue. With your enthusiastic engagement, we will finish the
semester with an excellent understanding of contracts and a useful collection

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