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Research Programs

Foundations of Private Law

  • Henry Smith at his desk talking

    New Private Law: looking at traditional interpersonal law in a different light

    August 31, 2015

    HLS Professors John C.P. Goldberg and Henry E. Smith’s “New Private Law” blog launched recently in an effort to expand interest in the notion that traditional interpersonal, "private" law deserves a fresh look.

  • ‘Inexcusable Wrongs’

    December 16, 2013

    In many areas of law, excuses can defeat liability. Criminal law recognizes duress or provocation as excuses to reduce a criminal defendant’s punishment. In Contracts,…

  • John Goldberg appointed to the Goldston chair at HLS (video)

    August 22, 2012

    Harvard Law School Professor John C.P. Goldberg has been appointed to the Eli Goldston Professorship of Law. Goldberg, an expert in tort law, tort theory and political philosophy, joined HLS as a tenured faculty member in 2008. Previously, he was Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Research at Vanderbilt University.

  • HLS Professor Henry E. Smith

    In chair lecture, Henry Smith explores relationship between law and equity (video)

    April 8, 2011

    On March 31, Professor Henry Smith delivered his Chair Lecture in honor of his appointment as Fessenden Professor of Law. His lecture, entitled Equity Revisited, explored the relationship between law and equity. He examined, through the lens of economic analysis, equity as a solution to opportunism on the part of those who exploit bright-line law, with a focus on equitable maxims, defenses, and remedies.

  • Professors Smith and Goldberg reinvigorate the study of Private Law at HLS

    March 2, 2011

    HLS Professors John Goldberg and Henry Smith are working to reinvigorate the study of contracts, torts, and property with the new Private Law Workshop, which they co-teach as part of the Project on the Foundations of Private Law at Harvard Law School. The workshop, said Goldberg, is “an opportunity to introduce students to some of the emerging literature that’s aiming to rethink the significance of private law in modern legal systems.”