Syllabus, Fall 2003
Advanced Topics in Contracts and Commercial Law
L9469, Spring 2008
Professor Avery W. Katz
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Optional paper





(Last updated:09/03/2003 04:50 PM)

Instructor: Prof. Avery Katz, 638 Jerome Greene Hall (854-0066, [email protected].) My regular conference hours will be announced at the beginning of the term, but students enrolled in my classes are generally welcome on a walk-in basis.  To make an appointment at other times, just call or e-mail me.   If you need to contact my faculty assistant, she is Amara Levy-Moore, 600/7 Jerome Greene Hall (854-0064, [email protected].)

Class meets: Wednesdays, 1:30– 3:20 pm, location to be announced.   Please check the official CLS curriculum guide for the most up-to-date information regarding any scheduling changes

Seminar description:  This seminar will consider a number of advanced topics in contract and commercial law that, while theoretically and practically important, do not fit naturally into any of the existing upper-level course offerings in the area and do not at present warrant a regular course of their own. The specific topics covered will vary from year to year.

For the Spring 2008 semester, the seminar will focus on consumer contracting transactions. Topics will be chosen from among the following: rationales for consumer protection, unfair and deceptive sales practices, usury, warranties, credit reporting, bank deposit contracts, the Truth in Lending Act, consumer leasing, subprime lending, debt collection, contracting in cyberspace, and the special problems of ordinary contract remedies in the consumer setting.

Requirements and format: The seminar will meet in weekly two-hour sessions throughout the semester. Regular attendance and participation is required; students may not miss more than one session without obtaining specific permission from the instructor.

The bulk of class time will be spent discussing the assigned readings, which will consist primarily of excerpts drawn from academic and practitioner journals and from other specialized publications, and which will average about 80-100 pages per week in length.  The readings will be available one week before class at the Secretariat Office, Room 711 Jerome Greene Hall, and also will be available online to registered students (you will need your network ID and password to access it from the law school server).

Additionally, beginning with the second session, students are required to submit a weekly two-page discussion memo that either critiques one of the assigned readings or that identifies and analyzes a particular issue raised but not adequately addressed by the readings as a whole.   Memos are due via e-mail attachment by midnight of the day before each class, so that I can read and comment on them before we meet as a group.  You may skip one memo of your choosing over the course of the semester. 

Grades will be based primarily on the weekly memos, and secondarily on contributions to class discussion.

Optional paper:  Students enrolled in the seminar have the option of writing an optional term paper, to be completed on an independent research basis in the subsequent semester. Successfully completed papers can be used to satisfy the CLS major writing requirement. Students wishing to exercise this option must submit a written proposal describing their project by mid-semester, and a more detailed outline by the end of the semester. The paper itself will be due by the end of the spring semester.  

First assignment:  For the first class meeting on Wednesday, January 16, please read and be prepared to discuss the first set of readings.  No discussion memo is required this week; and you may treat any material appearing in footnotes as optional reading.

Seminar outline

Here is a tentative schedule of topics and readings for the seminar.  These assignments may be modified as the semester goes along; weekly updates will be posted on the announcement page of the website.

Wednesday, 1/16 Class #1


Wednesday, 1/23 Class #2
Wednesday, 1/30 Class #3


Wednesday, 2/06 Class #4
Wednesday, 2/13 Class #5


Wednesday, 2/20 Class #6
Wednesday, 2/27 Class #7


Wednesday, 3/05 Class #8


Wednesday, 3/12 Class #9
Wednesday, 3/19   Spring break
Wednesday, 3/26 Class #10


Wednesday, 4/02 Class #11
Wednesday, 4/09 Class #12


Wednesday, 4/16 Class #13  
Wednesday, 4/23 Class #14