248.62 sec. 001 - The Law and Economics of Complexity (Fall 2020)
Instructor: Kenneth Ayotte (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Due to COVID-19, this class is remote for Fall 2020.
- W 6:25 PM - 7:15 PM
From August 19, 2020
To November 24, 2020
Course End: November 24, 2020
Class Number (1Ls): 34319
Enroll Limit: 11
As of: 09/23 11:58 PM
An important role of business lawyers is to anticipate and to manage complex transactions. In many commercial contexts, we observe contracts becoming increasingly complex over time. What are the fundamental causes of this complexity, what problems does it create, and what strategies are used for managing it and/or exploiting it? The course will be a mix of conceptual and practical. The conceptual part will involve reading and discussing scholarship from economists and legal scholars on how imperfect, “boundedly rational” agents make decisions in complex environments and compare this perspective to the classic, rational perspective that is common in the law and economics field. We will also explore the emerging world of complexity science and discuss applications of those tools in legal applications. The practical part will involve case studies of business transactions and environments where complexity caused unanticipated challenges and responses. No background is necessary, but an interest in business contracts and a willingness to brainstorm and wrestle with complexity will be helpful. One skill we will all work on together is the ability to break down a complex transaction and explain it clearly to a non-expert.
This class is among the special Fall 2020 1L elective seminars designed to give entering 1Ls an extra opportunity to form connections despite our remote form of interaction. In light of that goal, these classes will expect real-time attendance and may not be recorded. These classes will all be graded on a Credit/No Credit basis and total written work requirement will be no more than 8 double-spaced pages.
This course is only open to 1Ls.
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.