Lawyers, Law and Contract Formation

19 Pages Posted: 19 May 2000

See all articles by Robert K. Rasmussen

Robert K. Rasmussen

University of Southern California Gould School of Law

Date Written: 2000


Significant recent empirical research in commercial law involves interviewing participants in commercial transactions. This comment posits that, in evaluating the findings of these studies, we should pay attention to whether those interviewed were lawyers or nonlawyers. Most people have a tendency to overstate their importance to the work that they do. Thus, one would expect that lawyers would overstate the importance of law (or at least the need for them to manage the law) whereas nonlawyers would have a bias toward understating law's significance. This suggests that lawyers are more likely to view expenditures on negotiating contract terms than are nonlawyers. Professor Dan Keating's recent work on the "battle of the forms" is consistent with these conclusions.

Suggested Citation

Rasmussen, Robert K., Lawyers, Law and Contract Formation (2000). Vanderbilt Law Joe C. Davis Research Paper No. 99-16. Available at SSRN: or

Robert K. Rasmussen (Contact Author)

University of Southern California Gould School of Law ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0071
United States
213-740-6473 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

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