Lisa Bernstein

Lisa Bernstein

Wilson-Dickinson Professor of Law

Bernstein received a BA in economics from the University of Chicago in 1986 and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1990. She was a visiting research fellow in law and economics at Harvard Law School and began teaching at Boston University in 1991. After she visited at the University of Pennsylvania and the Georgetown Law Center, she joined the Georgetown faculty in 1995. After visiting the Law School in the fall of 1997 and Columbia Law School in the spring of 1998, Bernstein joined the Law School faculty. She has also been a visiting professor of law at Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University, The College of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, University of Paris West Nanterre, and Bar Ilan University. Bernstein is also an International Research Fellow, Center For Corporate Reputation, Said School of Business, the University of Oxford, and a fellow at World Commerce and Contracting.

Professor Bernstein's research interests are in the area of contracts and commercial law with a special emphasis on modern supply chain relationships (with an emphasis on the manufacturing sector), social network analysis, and the intersection of strategy and relational contracting. She is also interested in the design of commercial courts in emerging and transitioning economies, industry specific dispute resolution, and the relationship between social structures and economic development.

Education

Harvard Law School

JD, cum laude, 1990
John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics
John M. Olin Prize 

University of Chicago

BA in economics with general and departmental honors, 1986
Phi Beta Kappa

Permanent Academic Appointments

University of Chicago Law School

Wilson-Dickinson Professor of Law, 1998-present

Georgetown University Law Center

Professor of Law, April 1996-Spring 1998
Associate Professor of Law, Fall 1995-April 1996

Boston University School of Law

Associate Professor of Law, 1991-1995 

Visiting and Fellowship Appointments

International Association for Contract & Commercial Management

Fellow

Said School of Business, University of Oxford

International Research Fellow, Center for Corporate Reputation

Copenhagen Business School

Otto Monsted Visiting Guest Professor

World Commerce and Contracting

Fellow

Center for Law and Economics, Tilburg University

Coase Visiting Professor, 2016

Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Short Courses

Ramat Gan College of Law and Business

Short Courses

Faculty of Law, Bar Ilan University

Short Courses

Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (Now Reichman University)

Short Courses

Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense

Short Courses

Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Short Courses (Contracts and Corporate Governance)

Columbia University School of Law

Visiting Professor of Law, Spring 1998 (Corporate Law)

University of Pennsylvania School of Law

Visiting Associate Professor of Law, Spring 1995 (Corporate Law, Advanced Corporate Law)

Harvard Law School

Visiting Research Fellow in Law and Economics, Spring 1991

Books (Editor)

  • Customary Law and Economics. (Edward Elgar, 2014) (edited with Francesco Parisi). cu

Journal Articles

  • "Managerial Contracting: A Preliminary Study," 14 Journal of Legal Analysis 176 (2022) (with Brad Peterson). cu www
  • "Contract Governance in Small-World Networks: The Case of the Maghribi Traders," 113 Northwestern University Law Review 1009 (2019). ssrn cu www
  • "The Myth of Trade Usages: A Talk," 23 Barry University Law Review 119 (2018). ssrn cu
  • "Black Hole Apparitions," 67 Duke Law Journal Online 102 (2017). cu www
  • "Custom in the Courts," 110 Northwestern University Law Review 63 (2015). cu www
  • "Beyond Relational Contracts: Social Capital and Network Governance in Procurement Contracts," 7 Journal of Legal Analysis 561 (2015). cu www
  • "Private Orderings," 7 Journal of Legal Analysis 247 (2015) (with Alan B. Morrison & J. M. Ramseyer). cu www
  • "Not What You Wanted to Know: The Real Deal and the Paper Deal in Consumer Contracts - Comment on the Work of Florencia Marotta-Wurgler," 12 Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies 128 (2015) (with Hagay Volvovsky). cu www
  • "Foreword to Reviews (Books on the Law of Contracts)," 81 University of Chicago Law Review 2039 (2014). cu
  • "Copying and Context: Tying as a Solution to the Lack of Intellectual Property Protection of Contract Terms," 88 NYU Law Review Online 1 (2013). ssrn cu www
  • "An (Un)Common Frame of Reference: An American Perspective on the Jurisprudence of the CESL," 50 Common Market Law Review 169 (2013). ssrn cu
  • "Private Commercial Law in the Cotton Industry: Creating Cooperation Through Rules, Norms, and Institutions," 99 Michigan Law Review 1724 (2001). ssrn cu
  • "The Secrecy Interest in Contract Law," 109 Yale Law Journal 1885 (2000) (with Omri Ben-Shahar). ssrn cu
  • "The Questionable Empirical Basis of Article 2's Incorporation Strategy: A Preliminary Study," 66 University of Chicago Law Review 710 (1999). ssrn cu
  • "The New Chicago School: Myth or Reality?," 5 University of Chicago Law School Roundtable 1 (1998) (with Richard A. Epstein, Eric A. Posner & Randal C. Picker). cu
  • "Foreword: The Internet and Shasta County," 73 Chicago-Kent Law Review 941 (1998). cu
  • "Merchant Law in a Merchant Court: Rethinking the Code's Search for Immanent Business Norms," 144 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1765 (1996). ssrn cu
  • "The Silicon Valley Lawyer as Transaction Cost Engineer?," 74 University of Oregon Law Review 239 (1995). cu
  • "An Economic Analysis of Mary Carter Settlement Agreements," 83 Georgetown Law Journal 2215 (1995) (with Daniel Klerman). cu
  • Comment, "Social Norms and Default Rules Analysis," 3 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 59 (1993). cu
  • "Understanding the Limits of Court-Connected ADR: A Critique of Federal Court-Annexed Arbitration Programs," 141 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 2169 (1993). cu
  • "Opting Out of the Legal System: Extralegal Contractual Relations in the Diamond Industry," 21 Journal of Legal Studies 115 (1992). cu

Book Sections

  • "Merchant Law in a Modern Economy," in Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law, Gregory Klass, George Letsas & Prince Saprai eds. (Oxford University Press, 2014). ssrn cu www
  • "Customary Law: An Introduction," in Customary Law and Economics, Lisa Bernstein & Francesco Parisi eds. (Edward Elgar, 2014) (with Francesco Parisi). ssrn cu
  • "Private Commercial Law," in 3 New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law 108.1998). cu
  • Beyond Relational Contracts: Social Capital and Network Governance in Procurement Contracts: American Economic Association, 2018
  • Managerial Contracting: A Preliminary Study (Coauthored by Brad Peterson): IOEA Conference Corsica, 2023; University of Paris Dauphine, 2023; University of Innsbruck Evening Lecture Series, 2022; Academy of Management Annual Meeting, 2021; American Law and Economics Association, 2021; Workshop on Relational Contracts, 2021; Canadian Economics Association, 2021; Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador Workshop; Academic Symposium | Relational Contracts: Theory and Practice, 2021; Yale Faculty Workshop, 2021; Columbia Law School, Conference on the Work of Henry Hansman, 2021; Asian Law and Economics Association Annual Conference, 2020; European Association of Law and Economics, 2020; Italian Law and Economics Annual Meeting; Asian Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting Stanford Law and Economics Workshop, 2020; George Mason Faculty Workshop, 2020; Harvard Law and Economics Workshop, Fall and Spring 2020; University of Arizona Law School Faculty Workshop, 2020; San Diego Economics Department, Conference on “Changing Norms and Relational Contracts, 2019; Indian Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting
  • Reexamining Ethnically Homogeneous Trade: A Social Network Approach: University of Paris Dauphine, 2023; Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, 2020; Israeli Law and Society Association Keynote, 2019
  • Seminar in Private Law–Inside and Outside the Firm (with Oliver Hart), Yale Law School, 2022
  • Northwestern Law Review Symposium, Fraud and the Evasion of Trust, Commentator, 2022
  • Academic symposium: Advancing Sustainable Contracting, Panelist, WCC and Leeds University Business School, 2022
  • Custom, University of São Paulo, 2020
  • Coase Lecture, University of Chicago, 2020
  • Innovation and Technology in Contracting: WCC Global Academic Symposium, Panelist
  • Comment on Schwartz and Seppe: Lessons from Holgstrom on Mechanism Design, 2020
  • Structuring Interactions Through Managerial Contracting and the Management of Disagreements, Academic Symposium on Commercial and Contract Management, IACCM and University of Leeds Law School and Business School,
  • The Myth of the Law Merchant, Queen Mary University, 11th Transnational Commercial Law Teachers' Meeting and Conference (with Emily Kadens), 2019
  • Contract Governance in Small-World Networks: The Case of the Maghribi Traders: Copenhagen Business School, 2019; University of Paris Dauphine; Harvard Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 2019; Bar Ilan Law School, Conference on Networks and Relational Private Law, 2018; PIPES Workshop at the Ostrom Workshop, 2018; Case Western Law School, Faculty Workshop, 2018; Hebrew University Law and Economics Workshop, 2018; Harvard Law School, Private Law Workshop, 2017; American Law and Economics Association, 2017; Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, 2017; Tel Aviv University, Private Law Reading Group, 2017; Relational Contracts Workshop, Kellogg School of Business, 2016
  • Comment: Investment Bankers, Lawyers, and Procurement: Towards Managerial Contracting: Relational Contracts Meetings, 2018; Reputation Symposium, Said School of Business, University of Oxford, 2018
  • Comment on Wallis, Relational Contracts Meetings, 2018
  • The Future of Reputation Research, Reputation Symposium, Said School of Business, University of Oxford, 2018
  • The Myth of Trade Usage, University of Montpellier Workshop, Center for Usage, 2017
  • Black Hole Apparitions, Conference on Contractual Black Holes, Duke Law School, 2017
  • Comment: Reexamining the Ethnically Homogeneous Trade Model: A Social Network Perspective on the Work of Landa and Richman, Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, 2016
  • Internal and External Remedies (with Avery Katz), Warren Schwartz Memorial Conference (2016)
  • Comment: A Network Theory of Reputations Demise, Conference on Empirical Legal Studies (2016)
  • Comment: Toward a Theory of Nonlegal Equity, Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, 2016
  • A Comment on Brooks and Restitution, Contracts as Promise Workshop, Yale Law School, 2016
  • A Keynote Revisited, University of Tilburg Law and Economics Workshop, 2016
  • The Myth of Public Order, Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, 2016
  • Private Ordering, Social Capital and Network Governance in Procurement Contracts: A Preliminary Exploration: University of Oxford, Said School of Business, Private Orderings Conference; Chicago Booth Organizations and Markets Workshop, 2015; International Society for the New Institutional Economics, 2015; Yale Private Law Meeting, 2015; Boulder Colorado Flatirons Conference; University of Colorado Law School Workshop; Kidwell Memorial Lecture, University of Wisconsin; University of Chicago Faculty Workshop; American Law and Economics Association, 2015; Stanford Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 2015; Harvard Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 2015; Columbia Law School, Contracts Workshop, 2015; Tel Aviv University Law and Economics Workshop, 2014
  • Comment: Morozo and Spiller at American Law and Economics Association, 2015
  • The Real Deal and the Paper Deal in Consumer Contracts at the Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies Conference on the Work of Florencia Marotta-Wurgler, Winter 2014
  • Trade Usage in the Courts: The Flawed Evidentiary Basis of Article 2’s Incorporation Strategy: American Law and Economics Association, 2013; IACCM Academic Forum, 2012; University of Amsterdam Faculty Workshop; Israeli Law and Economics Association Meeting; Canadian Law and Economics Association, 2012; Oxford Business School Reputation Symposium, 2012; University of Virginia Law and Economics Workshop, 2012; Harvard Law School Law and Economics Workshop, 2012; Northwestern University Law School Law and Economics Workshop, 2012; Duke Law School Law and Social Science Workshop, 2012; Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, 2011; Notre Dame Law and Economics Workshop; University of Chicago Law and Economics Workshop; University of Iowa Faculty Workshop, 2011; Georgetown Contract as Promise Workshop, 2011; Hebrew University International Contracts Conference, 2011; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty Workshop, 2011; Ramat Gan College of Law and Business, 2011; Empirical Legal Studies Conference, 2011; Columbia University Legal Theory Workshop, 2010; Tel Aviv University Law and Economics Workshop, 2010
  • Merchant Law for a Modern Economy, University College London Conference on the Philosophical Foundations of Contract Law, 2012
  • Comment on Interpretation, Berkeley Conference on Mel Eisenberg’s Contracts Book
  • A Workshop on Workshops, Haifa University Law School (with Robin Effron)
  • The Diamond Industry, University of Utrecht Department of History, 2011
  • Comment: The Merchant Promise as Contract, Suffolk Law School, Contract As Promise Symposium, 2011
  • Contracts and Innovation Conference: Comment on Davis, Tying as a Substitute for Intellectual Property Protection, New York University Law School, 2010
  • A Comment on Voight, Tilburg University Law and Economics Center, 2010
  • Keynote Speaker: The Limits of Private Order, Tilburg University Law and Economics Center, 2010
  • Custom in the Courts, Northwestern University Law School, 2003
  • Creating Cooperation: Private Commercial Law in the Cotton Industry, Yale Faculty Workshop, 2001
  • On Compensation and Information: The Secrecy Interest in Contract Law: Michigan Law and Economics Workshop, 2000; Georgetown Law and Economics Workshop; University of Toronto Law and Economics Workshop; University of Chicago, (With Omri Ben-Shahar)
  • The Cost of Compensation: Revisiting Expectation Damages in Repeat Play Contexts, Canadian Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting, 1999 (with Omri Ben Shahar)
  • Revisiting Expectation Damages in Repeat Play Contexts, American Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting, 1999 (with Omri Ben Shahar)
  • The Questionable Empirical Basis of Article 2's Incorporation Strategy: Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, 1999; American Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting, 1999; University of Virginia, Faculty Workshop, 1999; Columbia Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 1999; University of California at Berkeley, Law and Economics Workshop 1999; University of Montreal Law School Workshop, 1999; Harvard Law School Law and Economics Workshop, 1999; University of Chicago Law School, Legal Formalism Revisited Symposium, 1999; Northwestern University Law School, Symposium on the Work of Ian MacNeil, 1999
  • Private Commercial Law in the Cotton Industry: Creating Cooperation through Rules, Norms and Institutions: ISNIE Conference,1998; Tel Aviv University Law School Conference on Contract Theory; Tel Aviv University Law and Economics Workshop; University of Michigan, Law and Economics Workshop, 1997; University of Michigan, Symposium on Empirical Research in Commercial Law; American Law and Economics Association, Annual Meeting Panel on Norms, 1997; American Bar Foundation Workshop
  • Private Commercial Law, Vanderbilt Law School, Faculty Workshop, 1998
  • Private Commercial Law in the United States: Tel Aviv University, Conference on Contracts and Intermediation, 1997; Hebrew University, Faculty Workshop, 1996
  • Discussant, George Mason University Law School Conference on formalism and freedom of contract,
  • 1996
  • Discussant, European Law and Economics Association, 1996
  • Merchant Law in a Merchant Court: Rethinking the Code's Search for Imminent Business Norms: Tel Aviv University, Law and Economics Workshop, 1996; Georgetown Law and Economics Workshop, 1996; Stanford Law and Economics Workshop; University of California Berkeley Law and Economics Workshop; Quinnipiac College of Law, Faculty Workshop, 1996; Canadian Law and Economics Association, Annual Meetings, 1996; European Law and Economics Association, 1996; American Law and Economics Association, Annual Meetings, Panel on Contracts, 1996; American Bar Foundation Workshop, 1996; University of Pennsylvania Law Review symposium on Law, Economics & Norms; Northwestern University School of Law, Faculty Workshop, 1996; Harvard Law School, Faculty Workshop, 1996; Harvard Law and Economics Workshop; Yale Law School, Law, Economics & Organization Workshop, 1996; New York University School of Law, Faculty Workshop, 1996
  • Merchant Law and Merchant Reality: Private Commercial Law in the Grain and Feed Industry: Harvard University Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 1996; University of Pennsylvania Law School, Symposium on Law, Economics and Social Norms, 1996; Georgetown University Law Center, Law and Economics Workshop, 1995
  • Default Rules Analysis and the Teaching of Contracts, Association of American Law Schools, Annual Meeting, 1996
  • The New Law Merchant: Private Commercial Law in the United States: Association of American Law Schools, Annual Meeting, 1996; University of California at Berkeley, Law, Economics and Organization Workshop 1995; Stanford University Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 1995; American Law and Economics Association, Panel on Law, Economics and Sociology, 1995; Boston University School of Law, Faculty Workshop, 1995; George Mason University, Faculty Workshop, 1995; University of Toronto, Law and Economics Workshop, 1995; Columbia Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 1995; University of Pennsylvania Law School, Legal Studies Workshop, 1995; University of Chicago Law School, Law and Economics Workshop,1995; University of Michigan Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 1994; IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law, 1994
  • The Silicon Valley Lawyer as Transaction Costs Engineer, University of Oregon, Symposium on Business Transactions, 1994
  • Commentator, Georgetown University Law Center, Olin Foundation Conference on Litigation Reform, 1994
  • An Economic Analysis of Mary Carter Type Settlement Contracts: Georgetown University Law Center, Law and Economics Workshop, 1994; Boston University School of Law Faculty Workshop; American Law and Economics Association Annual Meeting, 1994 (with Daniel Klerman)
  • Comment: The Hired Gun as Transaction Cost Engineer, University of Wisconsin at Madison Conference on Emerging Trends in Business Disputing, 1993
  • Understanding the Limits of Court-Annexed ADR: A Critique of Federal Court-Annexed Arbitration Programs, Georgetown University Law Center, Law and Economics Workshop, 1993
  • Social Norms, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Default Rules Analysis: A Reply to Feinman, University of Southern California Law Center, Symposium on Default Rules and Contractual Consent, 1993
  • "The Use of Wisemen in Negotiation: A Comment on Sebanius," Stanford Law School Theoretical Approaches to Disputing Conference, 1993
  • An Economic Analysis of Federal Court-Annexed Arbitration: American Law and Economics Association, Annual Meeting, 1993; Stanford Law School, Workshop on the Legal Profession, 1993; Harvard Law School, Law and Economics Workshop, 1992; Emory University Law School, Faculty Colloquium, 1992; Boston University Faculty Workshop

Grants/Project/Misc.

  • Recipient, Big Ideas Grant (declined)
  • Invited Participant, Burt and Small’s OUP Networks Workshop, 2022-23
  • Served numerous terms on the Council of the Senate and the Committee of the Council (Faculty Governance)
  • Learn IOE MOOC (2019). Click for videos: "The Medieval Law Merchant," "The Contemporary Law Merchant ," and "The Modern Law Merchant."
  • Recipient, National Science Foundation three-year $100,000 grant to research a book on private commercial law
  • Organizer of Relational Contracts Symposium sponsored by Oxford Business School, the Becker-Friedman Institute, World Commerce and Contracting, and the Workshop on Relational Contracts
  • Organizer, Relational Contracts Workshop (BFI, 2023)
  • Organizer, Network Theory and Relational Private Law (with Benny Shmueli and Oren Perez) (2018), held at Bar Ilan University
  • Organizer, Relational Contracts 2018 (co-organized with G. Zanarone and M. Troya), held at the Becker-Friedman Institute
  • Co-Organizer (with Alan Morrison), Theory of the Firm, held at Oxford University, Said School of Business (2017)
  • Co-Organizer (with Alan Morrison), Private Orderings, held at Oxford University, Said School of Business (2014), published in the Journal of Legal Analysis
  • Co-organizer (with Omri Ben-Shahar), Empirical Commercial Law, held at the University of Michigan Law School, published in the Michigan Law Review
  • Co-organizer (with Richard McAdams and Eric Posner) of Law, Economics and Social Norms, held at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law (1996), published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review
  • Co-organizer and co-editor, The Internet and Legal Theory symposium at the IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law (1998), published in the Chicago-Kent Law Review
  • Co-organizer, Formalism Revisited, held at the University of Chicago Law School (1999), published in the University of Chicago Law Review
  • Co-organizer (with Lucian Bebchuk), Symposium on Corporate Law, held at the University of Chicago Law School (2002)

Memberships and Boards

  • Journal of Law, Economics & Policy, Board of Advisors
  • Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation, Editorial Board Member
  • European Management Review, Consulting Editor (Management and Law), current
  • Association of American Law Schools, Section on Law and Economics, Chair (1997-1998)
  • Association of American Law Schools, Section on Contracts, Chair (2010-2011)
  • SSRN Contracts and Commercial Law Abstracts, Advisory Board (1998-present)
  • SSRN Law, Norms and Informal Order eJournal, Advisory Board
  • American Law and Economics Review, Advisory Board of Editors (founding to 2012)
  • Illinois Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (three year term)
  • Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, Program Committee (2017), Executive Committee (2019)
  • Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics, Board Member (2016-2019)
  • American Law and Economics Association, Board Member (1999-2001, 2019-2022)
  • MIT Press; Oxford Press; Cambridge Press; UChicago Press; The Law and History Review; Journal of Legal Studies; Journal of Law, Economics and Organization; Law and Social Inquiry, Reviewer