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Thomas D. Barton

Thomas D. Barton

Professor of Law Emeritus

Faculty Emeriti


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 of Law. In addition to teaching contracts law and problem-solving topics, his interests in professional responsibility and forms of social control reflect 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 common law as a problem-solving institution at Cambridge University.

  • PhD, Cambridge University [law]
  • JD, Cornell University
  • BA, 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


  • Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Propiedad Intelectual: Cómo Prevenir y Resolver Problemas (Marlene Riethmüller Q. trans., Librotecnia 2015) (translating Thomas D. Barton & James M. Cooper, Preventing and Resolving Intellectual Property Problems: Understanding and Using an Evolved System, Research Report of Patent and Trademark Office Study, Memorandum Of Understanding 2010-140-117 (July 30, 2012) (on file with authors)).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Preventive Law and Problem Solving: Lawyering for the Future (2009).

Book Chapters

  • Thomas D. Barton, Helena Haapio, James G. Hazard, & Stefania Passera, Legal Innovation in Contracting, and Beyond: Merging Design and Technology Tools for the Information Age in Mapping Legal Innovation (Masson, A. & Robinson, G., eds.) (Springer 2020).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Artificial Intelligence and Probability: Designing a Legal Platform to Prevent and Resolve Legal Problems in Liquid Legal: Towards a Common Legal Platform (Jacob K., Schindler D., Strathausen R., eds.) (Springer 2020).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Helena Haapio, Stefania Passera, & James G. Hazard, Successful Contracts: Integrating Design and Technology, in Legal Tech, Smart Contracts and Blockchain (Corrales M., Fenwick M., Haapio H., eds.) (Springer 2019).
  • Helena Haapio & Thomas D. Barton, Business-Friendly Contracting: How Simplification and Visualization Can Help Bring It to Practice, in Liquid Legal: Transforming Legal into a Business Savvy, Information Enabled and Performance Driven Industry (Jacob K., Schindler D., Strathausen R., eds.) (Springer 2017).
  • 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, A Paradigm Shift in Legal Thinking, in A Proactive Approach to Contracting and Law 35 (Helena Haapio ed., 2008).


  • Thomas D. Barton & James P. Groton, Forty Years on, Practitioners, Parties, and Scholars Look Ahead, 24 Dispute Resolution Magazine 9 (2018).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Gerlinde Berger-Walliser & Helena Haapio, From Visualization to Legal Design: A Collaborative and Creative Process, 54 American Business Law Journal 347 (2016).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Re-Designing Law and Lawyering for the Information Age, 30 Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 1 (2016).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Improving Contracts Through Expanding Perspectives of Understanding, 52 California Western Law Review 33 (2015).
  • Thomas D. Barton, Flexibility in Contracting: Introduction, 2 Lapland Law Review 1 (2015),
  • Thomas D. Barton, Helena Haapio & Tatiana Borisova, Flexibility and Stability in Contracts, 2 Lapland Law Review 8 (2015),
  • Nari Lee & Thomas D. Barton, Promoting Contract Flexibility through Trademarks: “Branded” Intellectual Property Licensing Practices, 2 Lapland Law Review 247 (2015),
  • 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, Cómo Diseñar un Sistema Procesal Civil [How to Design a Civil Procedure System], 7 Derecho Mayor: Revista de la Escuela de Derecho de la Universidad de Chile 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).