Preston Torbert : Courses and Seminars
Drafting Contracts: The Problem of Ambiguity
This seminar is unique. It is a very interesting, very intellectual, and very practical learning experience. The main features are: 1. Students will learn some extremely useful tools for analyzing and drafting contracts. They will acquire them by an inductive process of reviewing many examples of ambiguity from case law, eminent legal scholars, and the lecturer’s practice. They will learn to identify and eliminate ambiguity in drafting contracts. These tools are the creation of the lecturer and will give students unique practical skills that no other American law students (except the lecturer’s prior students) have. 2. The course materials come from the in-house seminars for the firm’s China Practice lawyers that the lecturer conducted for many years as a partner at Baker & McKenzie and that established the profession’s best practices for China-related contracts. 3. The historical examples of ambiguity in the seminar are of human, as well as intellectual, interest. They show that ambiguity can lead to the hanging of an individual for piracy or treason, a damages award of more than U.S. $10 billion, and even a change in the course of World War II. 4. The seminar facilitates student learning. At the beginning of each class, an audience response system (called “clickers”) provides students immediate, comparative, and anonymous feedback on their understanding of the reading assignment. The course also allows each student to see what he or she has learned in the course by comparing his or her analysis of a specific contract for the first class and for the last class. This contract analysis, like the final exam, gives each student the experience of a practicing lawyer reviewing a contract. Grades will be based on a proctored final exam.