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Professor Frederick M. Hart

Frederick M. Hart

Emeritus Professor of Law
B.S. 1951
J.D. 1955, Georgetown University
LL.M. 1956, New York University
Member of the New Mexico, New York, and District of Columbia Bars


Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-4737
 Fax: 505-277-1597
 Office: 3124


Fred Hart contributes an expertise in contracts and commercial law to the UNM law faculty, but he is best known throughout the law school community for his role in shaping the school during his 37 years on the faculty, including two terms as dean.

Shortly after arriving at the law school, he was asked to start up a pre-law summer program aimed at increasing the enrollment of Native American law students. The Pre-law Summer Institute has become the most successful program of its kind in the country.

As dean, from 1971-1979 and 1985-1986, he worked to bring in a more diverse student body, increasing the number of women law students. Under his leadership, a smaller student-faculty ratio was attained and the law-school experience became more amicable than adversarial, a distinction that remains unique to the UNM law school.

Hart has taught Commercial Law, Contracts, Property, Legal Reasoning, Research and Writing and Consumer Law. Prior to joining the UNM law faculty, he taught at Boston College Law School, New York University School of Law and the Albany Law School of Union University. He also has taught as a visitor at Hofstra University Law School, the University of California at Davis Law School and Saint John's University Law School.

He is the author of an eight-volume treatise entitled Forms and Procedures Under the Uniform Commercial Code and a three-volume treatise entitled Negotiable Instruments Under the Uniform Commercial Code.

Hart has been active in the Law School Admission Council for more than 30 years. Most of those years, he has served on the Test Development and Research Committee. He was president of the council for two years.

Hart has also served on the Law School Accreditation Committee of the Section on Legal Education of the American Bar Association and on several other committees of the section. He has been on a number of committees of the Association of American Law Schools, and is active in the work of the Council on Legal Education Opportunity and the Council on Legal Education for Professional Responsibility.

Despite being emeritus status, he regularly teaches contracts, commercial law and practicum and typically teaches half-time every school year.

Consumer Law

This course will focus on the practical application of federal and state general consumer laws, and will cover primarily the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Some of the topics to be addressed in this course include:

  1. Credit and Collections
  2. Contracts, Warranties and Legal Rights
  3. Automobile and Mobile Home Sales
  4. Door-to-Door Sales
  5. Home Improvements and Related Services
  6. Household Products
  7. Future Service Contracts
  8. Opportunity Schemes and other "Non-sale" Transactions

Based on these topics, other federal and state laws will most likely be reviewed such as the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Act, the Door-to Door Sales Act, the Home Loan Protection Act and Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance.

These interesting facets of consumer law in New Mexico will be learned, by reading New Mexico and Federal case law and by analyzing on-going consumer matters presented to public enforcement authorities and to the private bar. Our studies will focus on the causes of action and the remedies available, including attorney fees and treble damages.

The practical application of consumer law will include the development of a client-interview form to address the pertinent issues, the preparation of several model pleadings, and Power Point presentations on specific areas of consumer law. These projects, and others, will provide both a product to be used in the practice of law and a basis for grading. There will be no classroom examination.

Contract Design & Drafting

Course Description

In the Spring of 2009, this course is an elective open only to 1st year students.

The course is graded Credit, C-, D+, D and F.

The class will be schedule for 150 minutes each week which is normally the time required for a 3 credit course. During the semester, certain classes will be cancelled with the result that the class time will be equivalent to the time required for a two credit course.

The class each semester is limited to 12 students. Since it is important to have that number in the class, students will be permitted to drop the course only immediately after the first class if there is a waiting list, and those on the waiting list will be permitted to fill any vacancies.

The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the design and drafting of contracts. Written assignments will be given on a weekly basis. These will range include drafting of simple contracts, drafting of clauses for inclusion in longer documents, and the analysis and redrafting of complicated contracts. Emphasis will be placed upon the approach to drafting problems and, in some instances, the selection of various ways of accomplishing the same purpose.

See Professor for course description.

Contracts I

In an industrial society characterized by a "free enterprise" system and notions of individual freedom, "contract" is one of the primary means by which private individuals order their affairs. The contracts course inquires into why promises are enforced as contracts, which promises are enforced, and how they are enforced. The course places emphasis on close and critical analyses of court decisions.


This class introduces you to the work and professional roles of lawyers. It investigates the meaning of professionalism; examines the role of personal and professional values in becoming and being a lawyer; and discusses various aspects of legal practice, including ways to improve your likelihood of success and happiness in your career.

As background, empirical studies show that lawyers who pick their fields carefully based upon their own strengths and needs are happier and do better in the profession overall. Other studies show that multitasking and excessive stress interfere with clear thinking. Indeed, calm focused people are better at what they do, whatever profession they enter. They are also more efficient and work better with others. Calm focused people are also happier and have a better sense of their own priorities and values. This class is designed to:

  • help you learn about the legal system and the professional role of attorneys;
  • help you create space in your life for activities that keep you balanced as a human being;
  • help you control stress and thus enhance your academic and professional success;
  • help you improve your interpersonal skills;
  • allow you to develop a support system at the law school by getting to know some of your peers in an unconventional setting; and
  • allow you to develop a relationship with a faculty member that is supportive both inside and outside the classroom.

Being a lawyer can be all you want it to be and can give you the power to bring about whatever change you want to see. This class will help prepare you to do just that.

Sales of Goods

In this course we will study Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which covers the Sale of Goods. In your contracts class, you have already looked at some of the sections governing warranties and contract formation. We will expand on these topics and look at such questions as the obligations of the seller and the buyer, remedies, anticipatory breach, conditions, the parole evidence rule, etc. In addition, we will look briefly at the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. Because the United States is a signatory to that Convention, it is the law in New Mexico governing the sale of goods to Canada and Mexico, and in some circumstances, it overrides the Uniform Commercial Code.

The focus of this course will be practical and we will spend time drafting contracts for the sale of goods. The skills you learn in this context will be useful for drafting all types of contracts.

There will be a final exam.

Books and Contributions to Books

Commercial Paper Under the Uniform Commercial Code [3 vols.], [1972 (vol. 1), 1983 ( vol. 2), 1998 ( vol. 3)] (updated twice each year with new chapters, revised chapters and new pocket-parts) (co-authored with William F. Willier).

Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest (Matthew Bender & Co.) [1965 (vol. 1) & successive vols. thereafter (presently 15 vols.)] (co-edited with Robert J. Desiderio & William F. Willier).

Forms and Procedures Under the Uniform Commercial Code (9 vols.) [1963 (vol. 1) & successive vols. thereafter] (updated twice each year with new chapters, revised chapters and new pocket-parts) (co-authored with William F. Willier).

Drafting Techniques Under the Uniform Commercial Code (1962).

Uniform Commercial Code Coordinator (1960) (co-authored with William F. Willier).

A Student's Guide to Sales, Letters of Credit and Documents of Title (1987) (co-authored with Robert Laurence).

A Student's Guide to Secured Transactions, Bulk Transfers and Bankruptcy (1985) (co-authored with Robert Laurence).

Creditor's Rights, in Community Property Law in the United States (1982).

The Origins of Legal Education, in Professional Education in the United States: Experimental Learning, Issues and Prospects (Soloman Hoberman & Sidney Malick eds., 1994).

Key Parameters of the Clinical Method of Study, in Professional Education in the United States: Experimental Learning, Issues and Prospects ( Soloman Hoberman & Sidney Malick eds., 1994) (co-authored with J. Michael Norwood).


Commentarios Sobre el Regimen Legal de los Contractos Garantizados con Bienes en los Estados Unidos de America (Para Abogados Mexicanos); Articulo 9 del Uniform Commercial Code, 2 U.S.- Mex. L.J. 141 (1994).

Defining Legal Writing: An Empirical Study of the Legal Memorandum, LSAC Research Report Series, Law Sch. Admission Council Rep. (1994) (co-authored with Hunter M. Breland).

The Nature and Corelates of Law School Essay Grades, in Educational and Psychological Measurement 267 (1972), reprinted in 2 Rep. LSAC-Sponsored Res. ( co-authored with Robert L. Linn & Stephen P. Klein).

Chance and Systematic Factors Affecting Essay Grades, 5 J. Educ. Measurement 197 (1968), reprinted in 1 Rep. LSAC-Sponsored Res. 511 (co-authored with Stephen P. Klein).

Interpreting the Uniform Commercial Code, 12 Prac. Law. 39 (1966).

Impact of the Uniform Commercial Code on Products Liability Law, 20 Bus. Law. 173 (1964).

A Practical Approach to Article 6: Bulk Transfers, in Uniform Commercial Code Coordinator 485 (1963).

In Defense of Certain Provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code Relating to Formation of Sales Contracts: A Partial Reply to Professor Babb, 15 U. Me. L. Rev. 21 (1963).

Credit Cards and the Virtual Acceptance, 1 Boston C. Indus. Com. L. Rev. 209 (1960).

Testimony by a Judge or Juror, 44 Marq. L. Rev. 182 (1960).

Federal Regulatory Agencies, 10 Soc. Ord. 70 (1960).

Postal Fraud Statutes: Their Use and Abuse, 11 Food Drug Cosm. L. J. 245 (1956).

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