Conceptualizing the Evolution of Corporate Law

7 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2013

See all articles by Amitai Aviram

Amitai Aviram

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2013


While many law schools offer a rich selection of courses in corporate law spanning doctrinal, clinical and interdisciplinary approaches, courses on the history of corporate law (and more broadly the law of business organizations) are largely absent. This essay, submitted to an American Journal of Legal History symposium on the teaching of legal history, explains the structure of a course I teach on the legal history of corporate law and finance.

The course surveys key developments in organizational law (from early regulation of lending to modern corporate law) through three dimensions: “history” (a chronological dimension), “law” (a functional dimension that tracks the development and debates over key traits of business organizations), and “evolution” (a social dimension that explores key policy and political forces that shape corporate law).

Keywords: teaching legal history, evolution of law, corporate governance, asset partioning, private ordering, path dependence

JEL Classification: A29, K22, N20, N40, O16

Suggested Citation

Aviram, Amitai, Conceptualizing the Evolution of Corporate Law (August 1, 2013). American Journal of Legal History, 2013 (Forthcoming), Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS14-05, Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 13-50, Available at SSRN:

Amitai Aviram (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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