James Steven Rogers, Professor of Law, teaches and writes in the areas of contracts,
modern commercial law, particularly payment systems, the law of restitution, and the
history of Anglo-American commercial law. 

Professor Rogers has played a major role in the development of modern commercial law. He
served as Reporter (principal drafter) for the Drafting Committee to Revise UCC Article
8, which established a new legal framework for the modern system of electronic,
book-entry securities holdings through central depositories and other intermediaries. One
observer characterized that project as “the most challenging and ambitious uniform or
model law project since the creation of the UCC” and remarked on the “outstanding work of
the tireless and imaginative reporter, Professor James Steven Rogers.” Prof. Rogers has
spoken on that project at numerous symposia and conferences both in the United States and
abroad. He was also involved in the projects on negotiable instruments (UCC Articles 3
and 4) and secured transactions (UCC Article 9). 

He is widely published in law reviews on subjects of modern commercial law and
bankruptcy, particularly in the fields of investment securities, negotiable instruments,
and the history of Anglo-American commercial law. His 1995 book The Early History of the
Law of Bills and Notes was published by Cambridge University Press. One reviewer of that
book called it “brilliant, daring, even iconoclastic in its scope,” noting that
“Rogers' book can only be called path-breaking.” Another remarked that while “few
technical subjects remain so nearly inaccessible to those engaged in interdisciplinary
studies as the evolution of exchange mechanisms,” Rogers “writes with great technical
proficiency and precision” so that “this is a book that most general historians will find
accessible.” Yet another reviewer observed that “this is a thoroughly absorbing and
consistently illuminating book.” 

Professor Rogers recently completed a book, The End of Negotiable Instruments: Bringing
Payment Systems Law Out of the Past, published by Oxford University Press, on the modern
law of payment systems and the role of history in the development of that law. Unlike
most discussions of reform of payment systems law—which assume that the existing law
works well for traditional paper-based systems—Rogers’ book argues that the law of checks
and notes, as set out in Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code, is itself
anachronistic and all but incoherent. The book shows much of the current law of checks
and notes is the product of nothing more than that historical fluke, such as odd details
of the eighteenth century Stamps Acts. It shows that there is no need for a statute
governing promissory notes and that the law of checks would be far simpler if it treated
checks simply as instructions to the financial system, akin to debit or credit cards. 

Rogers’ work is well-known abroad as well as in the United States. He has participated in
symposia on comparative aspects of the history of commercial law in Italy and Spain. He
has spoken on the commercial law foundation of the securities clearance and settlement
system at programs in England, Australia, China, Japan, Mexico, and the Netherlands. He
served as one of the United States delegates to the Hague Conference on Private
International Law project to negotiate and draft a Convention on Choice of Law for
Securities Holding Through Securities Intermediaries and as a member of Drafting Group
for that Convention. 

Prior to joining the Boston College Law School faculty, Rogers practiced with the firm of
Sullivan & Worcester in Boston, Massachusetts and clerked for Judge Bailey Aldrich of
the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He received a J.D. magna cum
laude from Harvard Law School in 1976, where he served on the Harvard Law Review and was
awarded the Fay Diploma for graduating first in his class in cumulative G.P.A. He
received his A.B. summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, 1973, where he
studied philosophy and history. 

Commercial Law: Payment Systems


The New Old Law of Electronic Money, SMU Law Review (2005)

Commercial Law of Securities Holding

United States (New York) (with Randall Guynn), Cross Border Collateral: Legal Risk and the Conflict of Law (2002)
Legal Risk in the Securities Settlement System, Current Developments in Monetary and Financial Law (1999)
Of Normalcy and Anomaly: Thoughts on Choice of Law for the Indirect Holding System, The Oxford Colloquium on Collateral and Conflict of Laws: A Special Supplement to Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law (1998)

Legal History


Sobre los Orígenes del Moderno Derecho Inglés de Sociedades, Del Ius Mercatorum al Derecho Mercantil (1997)
The Problem of Accommodation Bills: Banking Theory and the Law of Bills and Notes in the Early Nineteenth Century, The Growth of the Bank as Institution and the Development of Money-Business Law (1993)



Indeterminacy and the Law of Restitution, Washington and Lee Law Review (2011)

Bankruptcy Law

Selected Professional Activities

Early English Law of Bank Notes, History of Money in the Western Legal Tradition, University of Cambridge (2012)
Early English Law of Checks, History of Money in the Western Legal Tradition, University of Cambridge (2012)
Early Paper Monetary Instruments in England, A History of Money in the Western Legal Tradition, University of Cambrisge & Gerda Henkel Stiftung (2011)
Securities Holding Through Intermediaries U.S. Law U.C.C. Article 8, Herbert Smith Lecture, Oxford University (2011)

Constitutional Law

Civil Rights