Crowdsourced Contract Interpretation
A Faculty Lecture
featuring Professor Lior Strahilevitz, Sidley Austin Professor of Law
Latham & Watkins LLP
330 North Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Interpreting the language of contracts is the most common and least satisfactory task courts perform in contract disputes. In recently published work with his Law School colleague, Omri Ben-Shahar, Professor Lior Strahilevitz proposed to take much of this task out of the hands of lawyers and judges, entrusting it instead to the public. Strahilevitz’s talk will propose a novel regime — the “survey interpretation method” — in which interpretation disputes are resolved though large surveys of representative respondents, by choosing the meaning that a majority supports. This method has rich potential to examine variations of contractual language that could have made an intended meaning clearer. A similar survey regime has been applied successfully in trademark and unfair competition law to interpret precontractual messages. To demonstrate the technique, Professor Strahilevitz will apply the survey interpretation method to several real cases in which courts struggled to interpret contracts.
The Law School thanks Jason Gott, '12, and Latham & Watkins for hosting this event.