Marquette University
Press Release

Contract law expert Robert E. Scott to give Marquette Law School’s Boden Lecture

Robert E. Scott will present “Contract Design and the Goldilocks Problem.”

By - Sep 29th, 2014 09:53 am

MILWAUKEE – Robert E. Scott, the Alfred McCormack Professor of Law and director of the Center on Contract and Economic Organization at Columbia Law School, will present “Contract Design and the Goldilocks Problem” for Marquette Law School’s Boden Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m. in Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.

Over the past 40 years, Professor Scott’s teaching focus has substantially shifted from analysis of the parties’ arguments in cases to consideration of how they could have designed their contract to avoid the dispute entirely. He brings this same focus to his scholarship and this lecture.

In drafting contracts, lawyers must anticipate disputes that might arise and the strategies that parties might pursue to resolve those disputes in their favor. Strategies that aren’t covered by specific contract terms are delegated to a court—which may be tempted to police opportunistic, shading-the-truth behavior but often is ill-equipped to determine when parties are actually engaged in it.

Is there an alternative? Professor Scott will suggest that sophisticated parties can design their contracts in ways that invite a court to police for opportunism only when the court is likely to get the question right.

Professor Scott is a nationally recognized scholar and teacher in the fields of contracts, commercial transactions and bankruptcy. He served for 10 years as the dean of the University of Virginia School of Law and from 1982 to 2003 as the school’s Lewis F. Powell Jr. Professor of Law. In addition to his numerous books and articles, Professor Scott’s extensive professional engagement has included service as a member of the Uniform Commercial Code Article 9 Study Committee and the Article 2 Drafting Committee.

Seating for the general public is at capacity; a webcast of the event will be available online. Media members interested in attending should contact Chris Jenkins in the Office of Marketing and Communication at (414) 288-4745 or

This annual lecture remembers the late Robert F. Boden, who served as dean of Marquette University Law School from 1965 to 1984.

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