Foundations of Market Contracts Symposium
It is tempting to open this symposium with yet another “boilerplate” salute to the challenge that standard-form contracts pose for contract law doctrine. You may have seen many tributes to this fundamental problem. If I were to offer my own variation on this familiar introduction, I would have perhaps tried to come up with an original spin to induce you to read forward another paragraph or two. I would probably have talked about a major divide within contract law between the “law of negotiations” and “product regulation.” The former is the body of doctrines that determine the legal consequences of bargaining behavior; the latter is the assortment of substantive limitations on terms of bargains, some general to all contracts, others industry-or area-specific. I would then have argued that the study of standard form belongs to the latter, not the former, and that this distinction can help overcome many difficulties in contract law doctrine.