A Thank You Letter (or Hate Mail) for Fred Rodell

Fred Rodell, the once revered Yale Law School professor and the “bad boy of American legal academia”[1] wrote that “[t]here are two things wrong with almost all legal writing. One is its style. The other is its content.”[2] His harrowing words acutely capture my conflicting relationship with (legal) writing, but more on point, it makes the path laid out before me (as someone in legal academia), a more difficult one to take.

In his renowned and (secretly) admired article, Goodbye for Law Review, Rodell professes his dislike for “long sentences, awkward constructions, and fuzzy-wuzzy words that seem to apologize for daring to venture an opinion…” often found in many legal publications. He also takes issues with how editors and publishers presume every writer “to be a liar until he proves himself otherwise with a flock of footnotes,” and describes reading through the sea of legal jargons and overly-cautious opinions as “kicks in the pants.” To him, legal writing is formulaic, pedantic, and spineless. While Rodell’s criticism is an attempt to roast the entire legal community, I feel his disappointed glare directed right at me, for I have committed many of these sins with my very own hands.

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10 Years After Romania’s Accesion to the EU: European Contract Law (Doctrinal and Empirical Observations)


The Maastricht European Private Law Institute and the Legal Research Institute of the Romanian Academy (Centre for the Study of European Law – CSDE) are organising a conference on current issues of European contract law. 2017 marks a decade after Romania’s accession to the European Union, which is a meaningful moment for legal researchers to evaluate various aspects in different sub-areas of private law with respect to the development of the Romanian legal system as a legal system of the European Union.

The conference will include both doctrinal and empirical observations on European contract law. At the same time, the conference will serve as a dissemination platform for the first empirical study on the application of European law by Romanian national judges.

The event will also honour Prof. Nicolae Turcu, the former president of the Romanian Legislative Council’s Civil Law Section, who passed away earlier this year, to the grief of both legal academia and practice.

The full programme of the event can be found here (in Romanian/English).

Registration requests can be sent to ardae2007@gmail.com until 20 October 2017.

The conference is free of charge.

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The UK and European Private Law, what’s next?

In the past I have reported on this forum about a simulation that William Bull and I run with Maastricht European Law School Students called the Maastricht Project. In this project, which runs in our course on European Private Law (focusing on contract, property and a bit of tort), we divide students amongst Member State delegations, the European Commission, a presidency and a fictive institute of European Institutional Economics (with the specific aim to bring economic arguments forward). We then run a 7-week negotiation simulation with our students in which we simulate a Council of the EU working group. Students play the role of delegate members and debate a fictive proposal on EU private law, made by the European Commission delegation students. For this, students borrow from the CESL, DCFR and Digital Assets proposals of the European Commission.

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Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology (Pavia, 8 February)

On 8 February I had the pleasure to accompany Jan Smits for a visit to Pavia, where we gave a presentation titled ‘Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology’, on the third day of the Innovating Legal Studies and Practice Winter School 2017.

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Technology, law and the promise of interdisciplinarity: Technolawgy

Smart devices already communicate with each other, why shouldn’t we? When law meets technology: a creative workshop bringing together the fields of law and artificial intelligence through student engagement (see event website here).

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Maastricht Private Law Lecture 2017: Prof. dr. Reinhard Zimmermann

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The Maastricht Private Law Lecture, hosted by the Maastricht Department of Private Law, is an annual event at which a most distinguished scholar is invited to give a lecture on a topic related to the wide field of private law. The lecture is preceded by an interactive seminar with PhD-researchers.

The 2017 Maastricht Private Law Lecture will be given by Prof. dr. Reinhard Zimmermann  (Director of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in Hamburg) on 27 January.

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