The modern law merchant


In the first lecture, Professor Bernstein stressed the idea that the myth of the Medieval law merchant has had a profound effect on the development of modern commercial law. In this video, Professor Bernstein will discuss case studies that explore the existence or nonexistence of unwritten trade usages in more modern merchant communities. In particular, these studies are shown to cast doubt on whether unwritten customs and usages of trade existed in Ameri-can merchant communities at the turn of the 19th Century.


Lisa Bernstein, Merchant Law in a Merchant Court: Rethinking the Code’s Search for Immanent Business Norms, 144 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1765 (1996)

Lisa Bernstein, The Questionable Empirical Basis of Article 2’s Incorporation Strategy: A Preliminary Study, 66 U. Chi. L. Rev. 76 (1999).

Lisa Bernstein, Private Commercial Law in the Cotton Industry: Creating Cooperation Through Rules, Norms, and Institutions, 99 U. Mich L. Rev. 1724 (2001)

Lisa Bernstein, An (Un)common Frame of Reference: An American Perspective on the Jurisprudence of the CESL, Common Market L. Rev., Issue ? pp. 169-186 (2013)

Lisa Bernstein, Merchant Law for a Modern Economy, in PHILOSOPHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CONTRACT LAW, Gregory Klass, George Letsas & Prince Saprai eds. (Oxford University Press, 2014)

Lisa Bernstein, Custom in the Courts, 110 Nw. U. L. Rev. 63 (2015).

Jody S. Kraus & Steven D. Walt, In Defense of the Incorporation Strategy, in THE JURISPRUDENTIAL FOUNDATIONS OF CORPORATE AND COMMERCIAL LAW 193 (Jody S. Kraus & Steven D. Walt eds., 2000).

James Whitman, Note, Commercial law and the American Volk. A Note on Llewellyn's Germanic Sources for the Uniform Commercial Code, 97 YALE L.J. 156, 159-66 (1987)