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Contracts in the Real World: Stories of Popular Contracts and Why They Matter Paperback – June 21, 2012
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--Ian Ayres, Yale University
"Lawrence Cunningham has written a highly original and important book. For novices and long-time contract law scholars alike, the book is educational and insightful. The author presents a fun accounting of the essence of contracts both historically and in the present. One is moved from the position of viewing canonical contract cases as mere milestones of evolution to an understanding that the rationales behind these cases remain embedded in modern contract law. Cunningham has performed a service to legal scholarship by breathing new life into the relics of the past in order to better understand the cases of today."
- Larry A. DiMatteo
Huber Hurst Professor of Contract Law & Legal Studies, University of Florida
"In Lawrence Cunningham's engaging new book, Contracts in the Real World, old chestnuts, the foibles of contemporary celebrities and holes-in-one are delivered with flair and without legalese. The neophyte will be informed by this fun book. I am sure Professor Kingsfield would enjoy it much as I did."
- Joseph M. Perillo
Distinguished Professor of Law Fordham Law School
"The stories are fascinating, the issues are important, and the explanations are compelling. Lawrence Cunningham has written a splendid book."
- Steven Lubet
Williams Memorial Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
"Contracts in the Real World is a fascinating account of how contract disputes are argued and decided, engaging the reader with stories involving celebrity parties or gut-wrenching disputes without losing scholarly sophistication. It is fit for general readers and students of the law, amply demonstrating the common sense that the common law of contracts brings to bear on the battles inevitably arising when promises are broken."
- Donald Langevoort
Thomas Aquinas Reynolds Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
"In a perhaps natural turn for legal realism in the age of reality television, the last decade has seen an explosion of interest in legal 'stories'. Too often, however, such stories recount more than they teach. In exploring the Law of Contract through a set of carefully chosen exemplars Lawrence Cunningham does much more. Contracts in the Real World offers an invaluable set of reference points, drawn from both the classics and the modern day, to connect legal doctrine to the life of the law."
- Robert B. Ahdieh
Professor of Law Emory Law School
"This book will be a fascinating reading for teachers, students, and indeed for anyone with an interest in contracting generally. It runs the gamut from Lady Duff-Gordon to Lady Gaga, and taught me things I didn't know about cases I thought I knew well, as well as telling me about cases I had never heard of -- while at the same time weaving a pattern of the common law of contract. An unusual and rewarding book."
- Charles L. Knapp
Joseph W. Cotchett Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Hastings College of the Law
Contracts in the Real World is a long overdue and illuminating alternative. That is, in a academic field where the coin of the realm is case law about matters such as Blackacre, mason fruit jars, Carbolic smoke balls, and Shirley MacLaine, . . . in that world it is refreshing to have a book that brings modernity onto the stage of legal education. While Professor Cunningham pays due deference to the above-mentioned old chestnuts, what is so stimulating about his book is that he highlights how today's contract law bears upon the likes and business dealings of everyone from Bernard Madoff and Donald Trump to Lady Gaga and Paris Hilton, and 50 Cent, too. Likewise, he identifies and understands the real-world contexts of modern contract law involving everything from electronic transactions and confidentiality of information, to agreements re season tickets subscriptions for sports events, to entertainment contracts, to Amazon's provider contracts, to any variety of contemporary non-disclosure agreements, et cetera. In all of these ways and many others, Contracts in the Real World stands alone as a work that ushers the law of contracts into the world of the living.
- Ronald K.L. Collins
Harold S. Shefelman Scholar, University of Washington, School of Law
"Cunningham explores contract issues by utilizing a series of contemporary and interesting contract cases, many involving celebrities, and uses them to explain contract law issues. [Makes] cases and concepts come alive and feel more relevant."- Matthew Mantel,
University of Houston Law Library
Top Customer Reviews
Prior to reading this book, I thought that I had produced the best business book of 2012, "Moats : Competitive Advantages of Buffett & Munger Businesses." However, I now say to friends that "Contracts In The Real World" by Larry Cunningham is the best business book of 2012, and mine is the second best.
After recalling the amount of reading that we did in business school, I am also hoping that "Contracts In The Real World" can also be made into an audio cd and or audible.com product download. I would like to hear the author read these stories/cases. And, I would like to be able to review cases by switching audio tracks that match each chapter.
Bud Labitan, author of books on investment decision framing and decision making.
An increasing number of law professors are critical, and rightfully so, of the appellate-court-centric perspective offered in so many law school courses and texts.Read more ›
Cunningham explains the difference between tort law and contract law. Tort law "arises from behavior required of all people living in a civil society." Fraud and negligence are tort claims. "Contract law concentrates on bargained-for transactions." A key difference is that tort cases can include punitive damages, whereas contract cases cannot. "Contract law looks to compensate injured parties by putting them in the position performance would have. This gives them the benefit of their bargain. It precludes damages that would overcompensate and excludes damages for emotional distress, those for pain and suffering, and punitive awards. Tort remedies are essentially the opposite."
"The language parties choose governs, at least so long as it is clear and does not yield absurd results. Evidence beyond the four corners of a document, especially evidence that preceded its execution, is admitted only when the writing itself is ambiguous." Small details can have a big impact. "Linguistics cues abound, such as the telltale word 'notwithstanding,' or its opposite phrase, 'except as otherwise provided.'"
The difference between "shall" and "must" is another subtlety. The former indicates a promise, whereas the latter signals a condition. "Promises must be performed or else a remedy paid; conditions limit the scope of a promise. If a condition does not occur, then the limited promise never ripens, and, therefore, it need not be performed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is terrific for my contracts teaching -- it wraps all kinds of familiar (from law school and business life) concepts into pop-culture-accessible actual cases.Published 10 months ago by Phil O.
Wonderful read helping to explain common misconceptions in contract law. Very accessible with cases ripped from the headlines. Read morePublished on November 3, 2013 by Chris Mitchell
In my contracts class we had the typical casebook and learned the concepts from 100-year old decisions. Read morePublished on May 10, 2012 by L. Martucci