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Thomas D Barton

Louis and Hermione Brown Professor of Law
Director, Louis M. Brown Program in Preventive Law
Coordinator, National Center for Preventive Law

Ph.D. Cambridge University [law]
J.D. Cornell University
B.A. Tulane University [magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, political science]
Civil Procedure I & II, Contracts I & II, Problem Solving & Preventive Law, Problem Solving Skills & Theory

Professor Barton came to California Western in 1990 from West Virginia University College of Law, where he was the Roscoe P. and Hale J. Posten Professor. In addition to teaching contracts law and problem solving topics, his interests in professional responsibility and the forms of social control reflects his expansive knowledge of the social, historical, and intellectual contexts of law.

Barton has published numerous articles and essays dealing with legal and political philosophy, legal sociology, and problem solving. During law school, he was a member of the Cornell Law Review. Barton practiced taxation and antitrust law in New York state before studying the common law as a problem-solving institution at Cambridge.


  • Thomas D. Barton, Preventive Law and Problem Solving: Lawyering for the Future (Vandeplas 2009).

Book Chapters

  • Thomas D. Barton, Collaborative Contracting as Proactive/Preventive Law, in Proactive Law in a Business Environment 107 (Gerlinde Berger-Walliser & Kim Ostergaard eds., 2012).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Gerlinde Berger-Walliser & Helena Haapio, Visualization: Seeing Contracts for What They Are and What They Could Become, in Proceedings of the 2011 IACCM Academic Symposium on Contract and Commercial Management 3 (2011), reprinted in 19 Journal of Law, Business & Ethics 47 (2013).
  • Thomas D. Barton, A Paradigm Shift in Legal Thinking, in A Proactive Approach to Contracting and Law 35 (Helena Haapio ed., 2008).


  • Thomas D. Barton, Gerlinde Berger-Walliser & Helena Haapio, Visualization: Seeing Contracts for What They Are, and What They Could Become,19 Journal of Law, Business & Ethics 47 (2013).
  • Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Symposium Introduction: Advancing Intellectual Property Goals Through Prevention and Alternative Dispute Resolution, 43 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 5 (2012).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Problem Solving and Prevention by General Jurisdiction Judges, 45 Court Rev. 116 (2009).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Como Disenar un Sistema Procesal Civil (“Designing a System of Civil Procedure”), 7 Derecho Mayor 171 (2008).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Three Modes of Legal Problem Solving–and What to Do About Them in Legal Education, 43 Cal. W. L. Rev. 389 (2007).

Book Reviews/Commentary

  • Thomas D. Barton, Collaborative Divorce: A Model of Effective Problem Solving and Prevention, Harv. Negot. L. Rev. (Dec. 28, 2009) (reviewing Forrest S. Mosten, Collaborative Divorce Handbook: Helping Families Without Going to Court (2009)).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Commentary, Feathered and Unfeathered Hope: The Legal Fiction of Lowell B. Komie, 31 Legal Studies Forum 933 (2007).

Other Writings

  • Suggestions of 32 new words or enhancements to existing definitions for possible use in the 10th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary (by invitation of editor Bryan A. Garner) (forthcoming).
  • Contracting Excellence: Leadership & Strategy, Int’l Ass’n for Contracts and Commercial Mgmt. (Feb. 2009) (contributing author),