Critical Legal Theory

A contemporary and global approach to law

Del Canto Chambers is a firm with a solid understanding of current and inclusive developments in legal approaches across the world.

Is Marriage a Legal Contract?

In the Volokh conspiracy blog, the question about  marriage being a contract is asked.

He responded “I thought I’d respond to this on-blog because it illustrates a considerably broader point: In law, as in life, concepts like “contract” aren’t unitary things, so that either something is a contract and has all the properties of a contract or something isn’t a contract. There are different kinds of contract, with different qualities, and different possible definitions for the term “contract.”

To begin with, “contract” is a quite broad concept. I don’t want to try to give a thorough definition here, but suffice it to say that an exchange of promises might well be a contract even if the promises don’t involve money, goods, or even services. Thus, for instance, “Each of us promises not to be anyone else’s bridge partner” can be a contract; it’s an exchange of promises not to engage in certain conduct. (Note that the contract doesn’t promise that I’ll be your bridge partner, just that I won’t be anyone else’s.) Substitute something else for “bridge,” and you’ll have one aspect of a marriage contract.

Multiplication Philanthropy

Leverage is the mantra of the times in philanthropy, and rightly so. People want to know that the charities they support are using donations as effectively as possible. Donors and institutional funders are more demanding, more discerning, and less detached. They’re no longer content with writing a check and securing their place in heaven. They want results.

But they’re looking for them in the wrong places. They’re missing the greatest leverage point of all: the multiplying effects of smart investments in fundraising. If you want to maximize the social effects of your donation, why would you buy, for example, $100,000 worth of great educational programming for inner city kids when the same $100,000 directed toward fundraising could generate enough money to buy $1 million worth of it?