CU Law Profiles
Faculty Profile

Scott R. Peppet

ADR, Contracts & Ethics

You may also visit my faculty home page.



That's a little complicated. I was born in Minnesota, I lived in Paris, France until I was 8, and then I grew up for most of my life in Darien, Connecticut. Before coming to Colorado I lived in Boston for eight years.

Hobbies, Sports, or Extracurricular Passions

Mostly I spend time with my kids. When I'm not doing that, I love to ski, hike, winter camp, and go mountaineering. I play around with computers excessively. And I am very involved with two charitable causes: helping children with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) (which one of my daughters has) and working for a cure to polycystic kidney disease (PKD) (which my mother had).

Favorite Book

Oh, I don't know. Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude? Victor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning? Robert Kegan, The Evolving Self?

Favorite Movie

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Harold and Maude.

What were you doing before you came to the University of Colorado Law School?

Immediately before I arrived I was climbing Mt. McKinley in Alaska. Before that I was working as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, finishing a book on legal negotiation. I also clerked for Justice Charles Fried on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

What is one interesting, fun, or offbeat thing you have done in your lifetime?

I jumped out of an airplane with the Czechoslovakian National Parachuting Team.

What do you consider to be one of your biggest accomplishments?

That my 13 year old step daughter occasionally thinks I'm worth listening to.

About Boulder

What do you like most about Boulder?

I love almost everything about Boulder. I moved here from Boston, which I also loved. When I left Boston I thought I would miss it, etc. I haven't. I love the weather here--it is a ridiculous advantage over any other place in the country. I love the access to open space, and the lifestyle that creates. I really like the people. I like the fact that Boulder has protected a huge amount of land against development--sometimes at the expense of other things, granted, but still a major accomplishment. I love raising my kids here.

What do you like least about Boulder?

The lack of diversity.

Favorite Place To Eat Out in Boulder

Japango for sushi--it's low key and consistent. The Med for fun. Noodles with my kids when I'm in a hurry. Salvaggio's deli for a real sandwich.

About CU Law School

Why did you decide to become a professor?

I knew I wanted to teach before I went to law school. I love engaging with students and the actual experience of teaching. I love to be challenged, and I love the back and forth of class discussion. I also love helping students learn to think in more rigorous and disciplined ways. I'm also best in environments in which I control my own schedule and can work on things I'm passionate about, so academic life was ideal for me.

What do you like most about teaching at CU?

It's really relaxed here. The students are excellent, and motivated (for the most part!). But what's unusual, I think, about CU is how nice people are, how friendly I find student-faculty relations, and just how relaxed the atmosphere is in general. At least from my point of view this is an ideal atmosphere for learning.

What area of law are you most interested in and why?

I am an alternative dispute resolution or negotiation scholar, and I focus on the ethics of bargaining and dispute resolution. I think I am most interested, though, in human development--particularly moral development. The two courses I have taught the longest--negotiation and ethics--focus in large part on personal development and how it is that we become a more realized, happy, unique, and enlightened human being. For me this is the most interesting challenge of life, and it is the thing that I spend most of my time thinking about.

Are you involved with any student organizations?

Yes. I have been the advisor for the Colorado Law Review. I have also been the faculty sponsor for the Colorado Law Mediation Program. I am on several student-related committees as well.

What piece of advice would you give a student about surviving being a 1L?

Everyone answering this will say keep some perspective, and they're right. How to do that? I would write yourself a letter during the week before you arrive at law school. Write down your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations, your fears, your anxieties. Write about what you did that day, and what you like to do. Write about the things you love, and the reasons that you are going to law school. And then seal the letter and give it to a family member or friend. Tell them to mail it to you on January 15th of your first year. When you get it, really read it. It'll help.

What piece of advice would you give a student about getting the most out of law school?

Work hard. Seriously. Don't buy into the myth that it doesn't matter how hard you work--it does. Work hard, and push yourself. And network. Try to find people out there in the world doing what you think you want to do, and meet them for lunch.

About Choosing A Law School

What are the top three reasons that you think a prospective student should choose CU Law?

This is an excellent and advancing law school with a lot of energy and optimism. Come here if you want to pitch in and help, if you want to push yourself, if you want a place that is focused on both providing you with excellent training and fostering a sense of commitment and service. There is a huge amount of freedom at this school, both for faculty and students--as faculty we research and teach on a great diversity of topics; as students we will guide you but not be dictatorial about what you take, etc. Come to CU Law if you will excel in that kind of environment. And if you like being outside, there isn't a better place to live in the U.S.

What piece of advice would you give a prospective student about choosing a law school?

Follow your heart. You know where you'll be happiest. Go there.

About the Law School Curriculum

Could you describe each of the main classes that you teach, and give your explanation of what those classes are about?

Contracts: For me Contracts is a great opportunity to think about the relationship between the state and the individual. Put differently, contracts is really about private ordering--in what ways should the state regulate how individuals order their affairs with others? Should the state let people buy and sell anything they like (including kidneys, tissue, sexual intimacy, etc.?), or should it step in and forbid certain transactions? If the latter, how should it do that? And how should the rules of our laws structure exchange to make it both fair and economically efficient? These are hard questions, and fun. They have great implications not only for economics and your understanding of economics, but for human relationships and the way our society structures those relationships.

Legal Negotiation: This is an upper level course. It focuses on the theory and practice of negotiation. In other words, we cover the economics, psychology, and law of negotiation, but we also focus on individual skills. Are you a good negotiator, and what does that mean? What is required to negotiate well? Through simulations and exercises students get to apply the theory of bargaining to actual experiences, and to test what works and what doesn't.

Legal Ethics and Professionalism: This is a second-year course. It focuses on several things. First, there are some key legal ethics rules that we cover--particularly dealing with confidentiality and conflicts of interest. But we cover those rules against a larger backdrop of hard questions about the lawyer's role and the adversary system Does a lawyer's role insulate her from moral critique? If so, why? And ot what extent? If not, why not? These are questions that students often haven't thought about all that much, but they are important. We also talk about the even larger questions of professionalism that are often skipped over in law school. What does it take to be a happy lawyer? Why are so many unhappy, addicted, or struggling? How does moral development occur in a legal career? Can you train that development to avoid moral dilemmas or pitfalls while simultaneously enriching your experience as a lawyer?


Is there anything else you would like to add?

Good luck. Law school should be fun. There are lots of interesting, nice people here--find them and enjoy spending time with them. Don't be afraid of your professors--talk to them. They're interested in what you have to say.