The marginalization of English equity, the trust relationship, and the fiduciary principle generally by law academics (U.S.), the bench (U.S.), and the organized bar (U.S.)

Charles E. Rounds, Jr. - Suffolk University Law School

Few, if any, U.S. law schools still require that their students take the traditional Equity, Trusts, and Agency courses, an unfortunate development whose origins are discussed in §8.25 of Loring and Rounds: A Trustee’s Handbook. The section is reproduced in its entirety in the appendix immediately below. The trust is ubiquitous in the Anglo-American jurisprudential landscape. It is not just an estate-planning tool. As an instrument of commerce, it performs critical securitizing functions (think the mutual fund) and critical securing functions (think a bond issue secured by entrusted real estate). Creative commercial lawyers since time immemorial have resorted to the trust to facilitate commercial interactions. Contractual rights of investors in SPACs, for example, are now typically secured by entrusted property administered by third parties. Regrettable then that the National Conference of Bar Examiners is on track to remove Trusts as a tested subject on the multi-state bar exam. See This was a predictable consequence of Equity, Trusts, Agency, and the fiduciary principle generally being purged from the American law school required curriculum. It is also predictable that we will soon be seeing fewer elective Trusts courses, law students already having gotten the word that a grasp of the fundamentals of the trust relationship is no longer considered by the powers-that-be to be worthy of being tested on the bar exam.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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Charles E. Rounds, Jr. - Suffolk University Law School


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