Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



Private law--particular rules created for and applied to particular individuals to govern their relationships with each other--is a marked characteristic of society. People in a nation of free enterprise with a developing, malleable economy must have the freedom and the power to shape their legal relations with one another through the use of rules of law suited to their goals. Most of this law--contracts, wills, and trusts--has only temporary effect. The terms are limited, and all of it is for a private, rather than a public purpose. The limited scope of private law, however, is not a good measure of its influence. The private legal process as a part of our system of jurisprudence makes a great contribution to the social life. Many new forms of legal relations trace their origins not to the courts or to the legislature, but to a new kind of instrument first created in the lawyer's office.