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Contract and Related Obligation: Theory, Doctrine, and Practice (American Casebook Series) Hardcover – December, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0314249951 ISBN-10: 0314249958 Edition: 4th
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The McRoberts Research Professor of Law at the Cornell Law School, is a frequent lecturer on the Uniform Commercial Code for continuing legal education programs across the country. He lectured most recently with Professor James J. White on Remedies Under Article Two of the Uniform Commercial Code with Special Emphasis on Warranties. Professor Summers was educated at the University of Oregon and Harvard Law School. He practiced in Portland, Oregon with King, Miller, Anderson, Nash and Yerke, and later taught at the University of Oregon School of Law from 1960-1969. He is a member of the Oregon and New York bars. Professor Summers has authored many articles, including the classic treatment of the general obligation of good faith under the Uniform Commercial Code. In total, he has authored or co-authored ten books in the fields of commercial law and jurisprudence.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1201 pages
  • Publisher: West Group; 4th edition (December 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0314249958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0314249951
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,854,566 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Martens on May 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The two previous reviewers of this casebook were probably both right about it - on one hand, it is an excellent guide for covering difficult material if someone is able to glean the broader meaning from the cases through self study. To some extent, that's part of the law school experience for better or worse. On the other hand, this book could have made that process easier, as one reviewer noted.

The cases and discussion, though, are quite interesting and are appropriately edited to focus on the important material. There are far worse casebooks in general use in law school, so I'd put this one towards the top of my limited experience.

That said, this casebook coupled with Hillman's Hornbook (blue paperback) would be an OUTSTANDING way to tackle a moderately difficult subject. I did that and I learned a ton from them as a combined resource. Either one alone just won't be sufficient.
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Format: Hardcover
I was fortunate enough to have Professor Hillman for contracts law many years ago. Of all the classes I took and the casebooks I studied over those three years, his materials had the biggest impact on my professional career, and I still sometimes consider the case materials even to this day. (Remarkably, I am not nerdy, but I suppose my credibility is probably now shot for the rest of this review...!)

In addition to teaching the "basics" of common law contracts through a study of the seminal cases in the field, this text also covers the evolution of related obligations (the title is apt, of course) as they evolved in the courts of England and the U.S. This book also highlights and asks critical questions the legal theory that the Law & Economics crowd has been pushing in recent years. Finally, the book covers the growing impact on contracts of the Uniform Commercial Code, which I can tell you is often overlooked by practicing attorneys.

Contrary to what another reviewer wrote, this book and its materials are not obscure or exceptionally difficult. However, they are thoughtful and socratic in nature. The book often cites key aspects of key decisions, and then encourages the reader to develop an understanding for why the court decided a particular way. This is the essence of critical thinking.

As such, this book is for anyone that wants to learn how to think like a lawyer--who really wants to learn the process of critical thinking. This is why a few of the reviewers panned the book--they wanted black & white rules and guidelines. The legal world rarely works that way. And the best law books prepare you for this.

With respect to another reviewer, in general Hillman's book and contracts is not particulary time consuming as studies go. That said, most courses in law school involve a 3:1 ratio for study to class time. Frankly, most practitioners will tell you to expect even longer total hours in the actual practice of law.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was my absolute favorite casebook of my 1L year. Aside from a great selection of cases (including many older cases, which I loved), the book includes excerpts from important treatises and articles about contract law, which I found to be both enriching and helpful (though not all of my classmates would agree with me on this). For me, these articles provided a solid framework within which I could begin to understand the law for myself, from its current applications, to its development, to the theories and philosophies underlying it. I get rather annoyed with the impossible questions posed by the notes of some casebooks, and I found this book to have blessedly few of those open-ended monsters. I wish all of my casebooks had such thoughtful organization, well-edited cases, and enlightening notes.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Miller on May 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This was the best law case book I've ever used. If you want the law spoon fed to you, yes, this book is a difficult tool. Professors Summers and Hillman, however, are firm believers that the best way to teach the law is by motivating the students to teach themselves. Their approach with this book is thought-provoking, thorough, and, yes, challenging. If you want an easy read, use a commercial outline. The law, however, is not supposed to be easy. You are supposed to wrangle with every word, to challenge every opinion, and search why the judges' reasoning is faulty. Professors Summers and Hillman triumph mightily with their text. Their holistic approach to teaching contracts is, undoubtedly, revolutionary. Much like Lon Fuller's text Basic Contract Law, it is a departure from the normal format. In fact, you won't find Hawkins v. McGee anywhere in the book, save for a footnote. If you are lucky enough to use this casebook, take advantage of it, and the incredible learning opportunity it presents. By the end of the course, you will have a view of the entire forest, to use the oft-used metaphor, as well as an in-depth understanding of each tree.
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