12 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2008
Date Written: 1998
William T. Allen, Delaware's Chancellor since 1985 has had an enormous influence on the classroom. His thoughts have directly shaped the views of literally thousands of law students through the prominent placement of his judicial opinions and articles in the major corporations textbooks used in virtually all American law schools. In moving from a distinguished career on the bench to a professorship at New York University School of Law, Chancellor Allen will both effect and affect law in a way matched by only Joseph Story. This article offers a précis of the pedagogical settings for Chancellor Allen's work. The article first examines how textbook editors utilize Chancellor Allen's judicial opinions and articles to expose students to the fundamental corporate law settings. The article then discusses the range of issues for which Chancellor Allen's opinions are used. One major reason why Chancellor Allen's writings are consistently selected by casebook editors is because his prose is absolutely pellucid while maintaining an unparalleled level of brevity. The conciseness and precision of his opinions affords students the ability to grasp complex transactions with greater ease. Students are then better equipped to understand the result of choosing one rule over another. Chancellor Allen's writings are also highly teachable because they tie in the origin of the rule at issue by providing doctrinal background while also abstracting the legal question to precisely the level at which the casebook is pitched. In that way, Chancellor Allen's writings help students to understand how rules are shaped by placing cases in contexts where students can connect with what has come before and what is to come afterward.
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