• “Contract as Promise" at 30: The Future of Contract Theory
Charles Fried

3/22/2011

Suffolk University Law School will mark the 30th anniversary of Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried’s seminal book on contract law, Contract as Promise, with a daylong symposium March 25 that will bring together distinguished contract theorists to offer papers and commentary.

Contract as Promise, published in 1981, is a powerful, provocative, and influential work that argues for the importance of moral reasoning in contract law. No scholarly discussion of the field can be complete without addressing its claims.

The daylong symposium, "Contract As Promise at 30: The Future of Contract Theory," is co-sponsored by Suffolk University Law School’s Center for Advanced Legal Studies and the Suffolk University Law Review. It will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, March 25, 2011, at the Law School, 120 Tremont St., Boston.

Panel discussion topics will include:

  • “How Moral Can a Contract Be?”
  • “Ethics and Economics of Promising”
  • “Promise Theory, Applied, Extended and Critiqued”
  • “The Future of Contract Theory”

Participating contract law experts and distinguished scholars will include Rachel Arnow-Richman, Randy Barnett, Lisa Bernstein, Jean Braucher, Curtis Bridgeman, Carol Chomsky, Richard Craswell, Barbara Fried, John C.P. Goldberg, Avery Katz, Gregory Klass, Juliet Kostritsky, Jody Kraus, Roy Kreitner, Daniel Markovits, Nathan Oman, T.M. Scanlon, Robert Scott, Seana Shiffrin, and Henry Smith.

The day’s panels will be followed by reflections from Fried. The papers and proceedings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Suffolk Law Review.

“This is an opportune moment to step back, review the alternative approaches to contract theory that have developed since 1981 and to offer views about future doctrinal or inter-disciplinary developments, whether based in moral philosophy, welfare economics, sociology, or other disciplines,” said Jeffrey Lipshaw, conference organizer and associate professor of law at Suffolk University Law School.

Charles Fried is the Beneficial Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and has taught there since 1961. He was solicitor general of the United States from 1985 to 1989 and an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from 1995 to 1999. His scholarly and teaching interests have been moved by the connection between normative theory and concrete institutions of public and private law.

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