Business Law and the Legal Environment, Standard Edition
A New Chapter: Practical Contracts
The contracts chapters in this and other business law texts focus on the theory of contract law. And that theory is important. But our students tell us that theory, by itself, is not enough. They need to know how these abstract rules operate in practice. They want to understand the structure and content of a standard agreement. Our students ask questions such as: Do I need a written agreement? What do these legal terms really mean? Are any important provisions missing? What happens if a provision is unclear? Do I need to hire a lawyer? How can I use a lawyer most effectively? These are the questions that we answer in this new chapter. As an illustration throughout the chapter, we use a real contract between a movie studio and an actor.
As a general rule, we want our cases to be as current as possible—reporting on the world as it is now. However, sometimes students can benefit from reading vintage cases that are still good law and also provide a deep understanding of how and why the law has developed as it has. Thus, for example, we have added Miranda v. Arizona. Reading this case provides students with a much better understanding of why the Supreme Court created Miranda rights. And this context helps students follow the recent Supreme Court rulings on Miranda. Other landmark cases include: Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, Hawkins v. McGee (the case of the hairy hand), Hadley v. Baxendale, Griggs v. Duke Power Co., and Chiarella v. United States.
We have made two changes to the CPA material. First, faculty have told us that they are sometimes pressured to teach the CPA material, even if not really necessary, because students feel cheated if they skip a chapter. To solve this problem, we have created a separate unit entitled Additional CPA Topics. In it, we have placed topics that are of primary interest to accounting students: Secured Transactions, Negotiable Instruments, and Accountants’ Liability. Certainly all professors have the option of including this material in their courses, but those who want to skip it will now have free rein to do so. Second, to reflect the changes in the new CPA exam, we have eliminated the chapter on Article 4 of the UCC, entitled Liability for Negotiable Instruments: Banks and Their Customers. We have taken this step for several reasons: (1) this material is no longer covered on the CPA exam, (2) it is not as relevant as it used to be and (3) faculty would like more breathing room in their syllabus. Also, we felt that class time would be better spent on Practical Contracts than on a third day of negotiable instruments.
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