Author Archives: Ralf Michaels

Washington meeting

Private law theory goes global! After the successful small Cologne meeting, a bigger meeting took place in the United States. On July 28, 2010, Fernanda Nicola (American University, Washington College of Law) and Ralf Michaels (Duke Law School) organized a private law theory meeting. The date was chosen because it was the excursions date of the International Congress in Comparative Law, which made it possible to draw on participants in the Congress who preferred intellectual exchange to sightseeing. In addition, a great number of participants came just for the workshop. All in all some forty participants from came from five continents to present their thoughts; a number of others came just to listen and learn.
The workshop was centered around a keynote speech by private law theory star¬†Ernest Weinrib (Toronto), with comments from Michele Graziadei (Torino) and Isabel Jaramillo (Universidad de los Andes).¬†Otherwise, the format was unusual. Instead of inviting people we already knew, we wanted to bring together people who did not yet know each other and each other’s work. Therefore, everyone could participate as long as they met one requirement: to submit a brief scrap – texts between one paragraph and one page of length, summarizing how their work, or their ideas, could contribute to private law theory. This meant everyone had little time to speak and much time to listen, and the biggest benefit from the workshop came not from individual contributions but from their interaction.
A program of the workshop is here. Larry Backer wrote up a nice conference report on his blog.
We are also posting a document containing the participants’ scraps, but readers are asked to keep in mind their nature and purpose: these are not fully-fledged academic contributions, and they contain no references. Their purpose was to spur debates, not to develop positions. As a consequence, please do not cite these without individual consent; cite the participants’ published work. Or, better still, contact them personally: we are a network, after all.