This seems to be an appropriate question with which to begin because it implicates fundamental questions that should be dealt with in the first-year contracts course: what is "the law of contracts," and what distinguishes the types of cases that we study in contracts from the types of cases studied in other first-year courses, like torts or criminal law? As a professor of contracts, I like to set the stage for the course for the firstsemester 1L's by distinguishing tort law and criminal law, which confer externally imposed standards of behavior and expectations upon individuals, from contract law, which imposes upon an individual an obligation of precisely no more and no less than the individual undertakes to perform. The trick is getting at the elusive truth as to what parties actually agreed upon when and if they indeed had a "meeting of the minds."
Kerri Lynn Stone,
Teaching Gender As a Core Value in the FirstYear Contracts Class
, 36 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 537
Available at: http://ecollections.law.fiu.edu/faculty_publications/217