Document Type


Publication Date



This symposium concerns asymmetric contracts, usually contracts where one party has great power and the other has little. The papers deal generally with contracts between consumers who get a “take it or leave it” offer and corporations such as Hertz, Microsoft, Verizon, and General Motors who draft the contracts according to their wishes. In almost all of these asymmetric contracts the stronger (corporations) writes the terms and presents them to the weaker (consumers) for signing without negotiation. Indeed the corporate agent with whom the consumer deals (e.g., the person at the Hertz desk) has no authority to change the contract or to bind its principal to any modification of the contract. The deal is simple: take it or leave it. My paper explores the tenure contract, which is commonly executed between a strong employer and a weak employee. But here the rule is reversed; the employee, presumptively the weaker party, gets his terms. I address three issues: 1) How did this contract come about? 2) What are the terms of the “tenure” contract? 3) Is it a good thing?