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The Project on the Foundations of Private Law is an interdisciplinary research program at Harvard Law School dedicated to the academic investigation of private law. "Private law" embraces the traditionally common law subjects (property, contracts, and torts), as well as related subjects that are more heavily statutory, such as intellectual property and commercial law. It also includes areas of study that are today less familiar to students and scholars, including unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies. The Project aims to further study of these areas, their relationships to and distinctiveness from each other, and questions about the status and nature of private law as a whole. The Project draws on multiple disciplines outside law, including economics, history, cognitive science, and philosophy. It also encourages comparative work, especially involving Commonwealth and civil-law systems with explicit notions of private law.
Janet Freilich, Qualcomm Postdoctoral Fellow in Private Law and Intellectual Property
Deadline: Friday, May 29, 2015
Watch for updates...
Private Law Courses 2013-14
Private law also includes courses in areas such as corporate law which are not listed individually here.
Foundations of Private Law Working Papers Series
Private Law: Workshop Presenters and Papers
Wasserstein Hall, Room 3009
1585 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
Monday, February 4, 2013
Dan Kelly, University of Notre Dame Law School
"The Right to Include"
Monday, February 18, 2013
Ted Sichelman, University of San Diego Law School
"The Mathematical Structure of the Law"
Monday, March 11, 2013
Ming Wai Lau
"The Nature of the Beneficial interest – Historical and Economic Perspectives"
Monday, March 25, 2013
Michael Kenneally, Fellow/Harvard University's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics
and Ph.D. candidate/Harvard Department of Philosophy
"Sowing Confusion: Preemption and the Morality Behind Misappropriation Doctrine"
Monday, April 1, 2013
Anna di Robilant, Boston University School of Law
"Property and Deliberation: The Numerus Clausus Principle, New Property Forms and New Property Values"
Monday, April 8, 2013
Jeannie Fromer, New York University School of Law (Visiting Professor Harvard Law School, Spring 2013)
"A Legal Tangle of Secrets and Disclosures in Trade: Tabor v. Hoffman and Beyond"
Monday, April 15, 2013
Don Herzog, University of Michigan Law School
"Defaming the Dead"
Previous Private Law: Workshop Presenters and Papers
Monday, January 30, 2012
Steven Shavell, Harvard Law School
"A Fundamental Cost Advantage of the Negligence Rule over Regulation"
Monday, February 6, 2012
Anita Bernstein, Brooklyn Law School
"Real Remedies for Virtual Injuries"
Monday, February 13, 2012
Daniel Markovits, Yale Law School
"Market Solidarity 1: Price as Commensuration, Contract as Integration"
Monday, February 20, 2012
Ward Farnsworth, Boston University
"Restatement Third, Torts: Liability for Economic Harm"
Monday, March 19, 2012
Gillian K. Hadfield, University of Southern California School of Law
"Law without Coercion: Examining the Role of Law in Coordinating Collective Punishment"
Monday, April 2, 2012
Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School
"A Transnational Genealogy of Proportionality in Private Law"
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
James Penner, Faculty of Laws, University College London
"Promises, Agreements and the Structure of Contract Law Doctrine"
"Promising, Intimate Relationships and Conventionalism"
"Voluntary Obligations and the Scope of the Law of Contract"
Monday, March 28, 2011
Seana Shiffrin, UCLA School of Law and Philosophy
"The Divergence of Contract and Promise"
"Inducing Moral Deliberation: On the Occasional Virtues of Fog"
Deadline: Monday, February 2, 2015
The Fellowship is a two-year, residential postdoctoral program specifically designed to identify, cultivate, and promote promising scholars early in their careers with a primary interest in private law. Private law embraces traditional common law subjects (property, contracts, and torts), as well as adjacent statutory areas such as intellectual property and commercial law. It also includes resurgent areas, such as unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies. Fellows have been selected from among recent graduates, young academics, and mid-career practitioners who are committed to pursuing publishable research likely to make a significant contribution to private law scholarship.
Fellows devote their full time to scholarly activities in furtherance of their individual research agendas. In addition, fellows contribute to the intellectual life of the Project and the Harvard Law School community through mentoring students, presenting their research in and attending faculty workshops and seminars, helping to organize and participating in Center events, and blogging.
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