Washington Law Review


Erik F. Gerding


This essay examines how patterns enable the transformation of contractual provisions into contracts, contracts into transactions, and transactions into markets. Although contract design patterns are broader than contract boilerplate (as described in Part II.C. below), some of the extensive legal scholarship on boilerplate19 helps explain how contract patterns generate agreements, transactions, and markets. The work of Henry Smith on the modularity of contract boilerplate proves particularly useful in this regard. Contract patterns perform several functions. Contract patterns break complex problems and bargains into components. Attorneys can then repeatedly apply these particular solutions to similar problems. Patterns also serve as heuristics for attorneys, i.e., devices to estimate quickly whether particular language solves certain bargaining problems, meets client objectives, and will be interpreted by courts in an anticipated manner.

First Page


Included in

Contracts Commons