American Contract Law, an original and unique teaching

If you’re tired of the theoretical courses of French law schools, the course “American Contract Law” is made for you!

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Professor Fred Einbinder © Christophe Rabinovici

Today’s topic is about Contract Law, or a very original course that makes the Grande Ecole du Droit so unique.

Indeed, during the second semester of our second year at the Grande Ecole du Droit, we attend classes of American contract law (in English of course) taught by the American Professor Einbinder, lawyer at the Illinois Bar. Through courses and also presentations given by students every week, Professor Einbinder gives us the opportunity to explore the nuances of American Contract Law and compare them with French Contract Law.

But what made this course so exciting for us, GED students — or as he likes to call us, “GEDi students” — was the mounting of a mock trial out of a very famous case in the United States on Mergers & Acquisitions: Texaco, Inc. v. Pennzoil Co.

The facts were the following: “ Pennzoil and Getty Oil entered into a merger agreement according to which Pennzoil would acquire Getty. Pennzoil and Getty signed a Memorandum of Agreement subject to the approval of each board and issued a press release. However, Texaco made an alternative offer to Getty’s board. Getty repudiated its agreement with Pennzoil and accepted Texaco’s offer. So, Pennzoil sued Texaco for tortious interference with contract. ”

Texaco mock trial (3)

© Emma Demesse

The making of this mock trial and the mock trial in itself were very interesting for several reasons.

First of all, as GED students, we are directed to Business Law. That’s why studying an acquisition case was a very concrete approach that we found very enriching. Moreover, this fake trial was particularly appealing because it was, among our French theoretical law courses at the university, an oral exercise to reveal our theatrical skills and to get into a lawyer’s skin — or should we say into the Gedi Knight robe!

This exercise was also beneficial because it was the occasion to work in an independent and autonomous way by writing a script according to the different roles that we were given.

Texaco mock trial (2)

© Emma Demesse

But more especially, it was the occasion for our class to work as one big team. There were at first several groups of about five students each, but in the end all the groups ended up working together in order to make the trial seem real and to coordinate all the characters speeches, so that the whole thing would turn out as accurate as it could be. And, believe us, it was not a piece of cake!

Eve Tullio & Adrien Aing