Upcoming Conferences

The Tenth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations, scheduled to be held at Harvard Law School on July 14-17, 2020, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. Check back here for information about future private law conferences at Harvard Law School.


Private Law Workshop: Presenters and Papers

Fall 2021

Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Lauren Scholz, FSU College of Law
“The Significance of Private Rights of Action in Privacy Law”

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
Gabriel Rauterberg, University of Michigan Law School
“The Origin Myth of Contract”

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Irit Samet, King’s College London
“What’s Wrong with Massively Discretionary Trusts?” (with Hanoch Dagan)

Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Michael Simkovic, USC School of Law
Taxing Consumer Contracts (with Meirav Furth-Matzkin)

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Sadie Blanchard, Notre Dame Law School
“Nominal Damages and the Ends of Adjudication”

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Sandy Steel, Oxford
“Justifications and Tort Liability”

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Richard Brooks, NYU School of Law
“The Loyalty Game”

Fall 2020

Wednesday, September 20, 2020
Erik Encarnacion, University of Texas School of Law
“Living Well is the Best Revenge”

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Henry Smith, Harvard Law School
“Property as a Complex System”

Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Daniel Kelly, Notre Dame Law School
“Double Deterrence”

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Felipe Jiménez, USC School of Law
“Rethinking Contract Remedies”

Wednesday, November 4, 2020
Molly Brady, Harvard Law School
“Turning Neighbors into Nuisances”

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Rebecca Tushnet, Harvard Law School
“Mapping Confusion”

Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Nora Engstrom, Stanford Law School
“Pursuing Public Health Through Litigation: Lessons from Tobacco and Opioids”

Fall 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Christina Mulligan, Brooklyn Law School
“Data as Property”

Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Zorina Khan, Bowdoin College
“Inventing Ideas: Patents and Innovation Prizes in the Knowledge Economy”

Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Gregory Keating, USC Gould School of Law
“Is Tort Law Private?”

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Dan Priel, Osgoode Hall Law School
“Political Theory for Private Law”

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Samuel Bray, Notre Dame Law School
“Equity Will Not . . .”

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
“Private Law Attorneys General”

Fall 2018

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
John Oberdiek, Rutgers Law School
“Relational Duties and Wrongs: How Personal is Too Personal?”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Nita Farahany, Duke Law School
“The Cost of Changing Our Minds”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Chaim Saiman, Villanova University School of Law
“The Domain of Private Law: An Anglo v. American Comparison”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Nicolas Cornell, University of Michigan Law School
“Competition Wrongs”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Zoë Sinel, Western Law
“A Right Against Spite?”

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Mark Gergen, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
“Equitable Wrongs in Modern American Law”

Fall 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Shyamkrishna Balganesh, University of Pennsylvania Law School
“Copyright as ‘Legal Process’: The Evolution of American Copyright Law”

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Rebecca Williams, University of Oxford
“The ECJ’s ‘Remedies Jurisprudence’ and the Role of Domestic Courts”

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Yun-chien Chang, Institutum Iurisprudentiae, Academia Sinica,
“Redrawing the Legal Family Tree: Empirical Comparative Law Using Data on Property Doctrines”

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Eric Claeys, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
“Interest-Based Rights and the Harm-Benefit Distinction in Property Law”

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Lisa Bernstein, University of Chicago Law School
“Revisiting the Maghribi Traders (Again): A Social Network and Relational Contracting Perspective”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Molly Brady, University of Virginia School of Law
“From Rocks to Rods: Legibility in Property Systems”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Todd Rakoff, Harvard Law School
“The Five Justices of Contract Law”

Fall 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Nathan B. Oman, Marshall-Whyte School of Law, College of William and Mary
“Reconsidering Contractual Consent: Why We Shouldn’t Worry Too Much about Boilerplate and Other Puzzles”

Workshop Summary

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Hanoch Dagan, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
Michael Heller, Columbia Law School

“The Choice Theory of Contracts”

Workshop Summary

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Chris Newman, Scalia Law School, George Mason University
“Hohfeld and the Theory of In Rem Rights: An Attempted Reconciliation”

Workshop Summary

Wednesday, October 12, 2016
John Harrison, University of Virginia School of Law
“Immunity Rules”

Workshop Summary

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Patricia McMahon, Yale Law School
“The Interplay between Codes and the Fusion of Law and Equity in the Nineteenth Century: A Comparison between England and New York”

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Rebecca Stone, Harvard Law School & UCLA School of Law
“A Positive Theory of Promise Keeping”

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Oren Bar-Gill, Harvard Law School
“Disclosure Rules in Contract Law”

Fall 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Ben Zipursky, Fordham University School of Law
“Civil Recourse, Pragmatism, and the Law of Torts”

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Rebecca Stone, UCLA School of Law

“Economic Analysis of Contract Law from the Internal Point of View”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Avihay Dorfman, Harvard Law School

“Egalitarian Due Care”

Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Ben McFarlane, University College London

Simon Douglas, University of Oxford, Faculty of Law
“Property and Analogy”

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
James Penner, King’s College London

“We All Make Mistakes: A Duty of Virtue Theory of Liability for Restitution of Mistaken Payments”

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Paul Miller, McGill University

“Authority: Personal and Fiduciary”

Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Andrew Gold, Harvard Law School
“Accommodating Loyalty”

Fall 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Robert Sitkoff, Harvard Law School
“The Prudent Investor Rule, Market Risk and Volatility”

 Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Taisu Zhang, Duke School of Law
“Cultural Paradigms in Property Institutions”

 Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Larissa Katz, University of Toronto Faculty of Law
“Property’s Sovereignty”

 Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, University of Pennsylvania Law School
“Incentives to Breach”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Alexander Stremitzer, UCLA Law School
“Promissory Estoppel and Reliance Investments-Experimental Evidence”

 Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Catherine Sharkey, NYU School of Law
“The BP Oil Spill Settlement, Classwide Punitive Damages, and Societal Deterrence”

 Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Jeffrey Pojanowski, Notre Dame Law School
“Reading Statutes in the Common Law Tradition”


Spring 2014

Monday, February 3, 201413
Gregory Klass, Georgetown Law

“Convergence by Design, or Who Contracts and the Plural Functions of Contract Law”

Monday, February 10, 2014
Wendy Gordon, Boston University School of Law

“Dissemination Must Serve Authors: Back to Basics”

Monday, February 17, 2014
Martin Stone, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Monday, February 24, 2014
Barak Richman, Duke University School of Law

“A Theory of Stateless Commerce”

Monday, March 10, 2014
Robert Ellickson, Yale Law School

“Ancient Rome: Legal Foundations of the Growth of an Indispensable City”

Monday, March 24, 2014
Kathryn Spier, Harvard Law School

“Irreconcilable Differences:  Resolving Business Deadlocks with Shotgun Mechanisms”

Monday, March 31, 2014
Alan Schwartz, Yale Law School

Monday, April 7, 2014
Christopher Essert, Queen’s Law

“Legal Powers in Private Law”

Monday, April 14, 2014
Tamar Frankel, Boston University School of Law

“Toward Universal Fiduciary Principles”

Monday, April 22, 2014
Lisa Austin, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law

“Formalism and Critique: Private Power, Private Law, Private Selves


Spring 201319

Monday, February 4, 2013
Dan Kelly, University of Notre Dame Law School
“The Right to Include”

Monday, February 11, 2013
Aditi Bagchi, Fordham University School of Law
Voluntariness and Contract Interpretation

Monday, February 18, 2013
Ted Sichelman, University of San Diego Law School
“The Mathematical Structure of the Law”

Monday, February 25, 2013
Mark Geistfeld, New York University School of Law
Compensation as a Tort Norm

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”

Monday, April 22, 2013
Arthur Ripstein, University of Toronto, Department of Philosophy
Possession and Use


Spring 2012

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 5, 2012
Andrew Gold, DePaul University College of Law

A Theory of Redressive Justice

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, March 26, 2012
James Goudkamp, Balliol College, Oxford and University of Oxford

A Taxonomy of Tort Defences

Monday, April 2, 2012
Duncan Kennedy, Harvard Law School

A Transnational Genealogy of Proportionality in Private Law

Monday, April 9, 2012
Martha Chamallas, Moritz College of Law, Ohio State University

The Measure of Injury” (Introduction and Chapter 5)


Spring 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 201115
Kenneth Simons, Boston University School of Law

Statistical Knowledge Deconstructed

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Richard Brooks, Yale Law School

The Efficient Performance Hypothesis
“Participation Interests”

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Charles Fried, Harvard Law School

Contract As Promise

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Connecticut  v. American Electric Power Co.

Public Nuisance as Mass Liability Tort” (excerpt)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Thomas Merrill, Columbia Law School

Is Public Nuisance a Tort?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Brian Lee, Brooklyn Law School

The Idiosyncratic Premium in Eminent Domain