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Washington University Law Quarterly

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A few substance abusers start down the road to addiction with a single reckless experiment. Such was the case of Professor "Doe", a consumer law specialist of my acquaintance. The entanglement of Professor Doe in the UCC drafting process began when he accepted what seemed like the harmless invitation of a friend to attend a single National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws ("NCCUSL") drafting session in1990. Session after session followed. Soon he found himself in a descending spiral-attending study groups, legislative task forces, and conference programs being held in strange cities to debate a new or revised provision of some new or revised Article of the Uniform Commercial Code ("UCC").

In retrospect, it is apparent that Doe attended far more sessions than he ever thought he would-and far more than many Code experts and others in the legal profession now believe are prudent to maintain professional health and respectability.3 Doe conceded that each and every moment of these meetings was not glamorous or stimulating, but the cumulative effect was intoxicating. He was drawn into the orbit of the private legislatures, where he felt as though he had the power of a senator, or, at least, a senator's aide.

Doe experienced sensory "highs" as a result of his attendance at these sessions, but these sensations diminished in intensity as time passed. He told friends that with each new Revision project it became necessary to go deeper and deeper into his subject matter in pursuit of satiation. This became physically exhausting: the circulation of one revised draft after another-often with new alternative comments to previously redrafted alternative provisions, followed by debate that could last for a great many minutes, took its numbing toll. Doe exhausted more and more of his resources in efforts to replicate his initial ecstasy.


Paper presented at Consumer Protection and the Uniform Commercial Code Symposium held at Washington State University.



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