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August 30, 2005

Press Contact:
Allegra Young, UT Law Communications, (512) 471-7330.

Commercial Law Historian Emily Kadens Joins Law Faculty

Fulbright scholar will teach contracts and the history of Western Legal Tradition

Emily Kadens Professor Emily Kadens

AUSTIN, Texas —This fall Emily Kadens, an expert in the history of European commercial law, will join The University of Texas School of Law as Assistant Professor. She is a specialist in European legal and commercial history, studying specifically how commercial practices among merchants became binding custom, and how those customs, centuries later, were codified into commercial codes.

Kadens will teach contracts, a workshop on appellate clerkship writing, and a legal history course entitled Western Legal Tradition. The latter will use primary source legal texts to study the fundamental issues of importance in Western law from the ancient Romans to the Napoleonic Code.

"I am delighted that Emily Kadens is joining our faculty," said Dean Bill Powers. "Her interests in history and commercial law, and especially her interest in the historical origins of modern commercial law, will be especially valuable."

“I’m glad to be at Texas,” said Professor Kadens. “I was thoroughly impressed both by the Texas faculty’s commitment to teaching, and its appreciation of the role of history in understanding today’s legal systems.”

Professor Kadens comes to Texas after completing a clerkship with Chief Judge Danny Boggs of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She holds a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School where she graduated with honors in 2004. Prior to law school, Kadens did a post-doctoral fellowship at the American Bar Foundation where she studied attitudes toward law and lawyers in the medieval and early modern periods.

Kadens received both a Ph.D. and an M.A. in history from Princeton University. Her doctoral research focused on the switch from writing legal and administrative documents in Latin to writing them in the local spoken languages, concentrating on the mechanics of the switch in 13th-century Flanders. The research was conducted in Belgium, and sponsored by numerous grants, including a Fulbright Scholarship and a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship. Her dissertation, The Vernacular in a Latin World: Changing the Language of Record in Thirteenth-Century Flanders, has been accepted for publication in the monograph series Mediaevalia Lovaniensia.

Professor Kadens also holds a diploma in medieval studies (with highest distinction) from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and received both an M.A. and a B.A. (with college honors and Phi Beta Kappa) in humanities from the University of Chicago.

Her representative publications include Order Within Law, Variety Within Custom: The Character of the Medieval Merchant Law, 5 Chicago Journal of International Law 39 (Summer 2004); Can dictamen help date the documentary language switch? The case of the 13th-century Franc of Bruges 121, in Tock, B-M., ed., In principio erat verbum (Brepols 2004); several articles in both Dutch and English on medieval and legal history; and President Polk on Internal Improvements, 8 Green Bag 75 (2004) (with David Currie).

She has also taught the undergraduate courses “Prosecuting Crime: From Torture to Due Process” and “The Foundations of the Western Legal Tradition, 500-1500” at the University of Chicago.

Professor Kadens joins a faculty with strengths in both legal history and commercial law. Tenure and tenure-track historians for whom legal history is a significant portion of their research portfolio are Oren Bracha, William Forbath, Calvin Johnson, Inga Markovits, Roy Mersky, Scot Powe, David Rabban, and Louise Weinberg. Commercial law faculty members include Kate Litvak, Jay Westbrook, Ronald Mann, Mechele Dickerson, and Zipporah Wiseman.