John F. Dolan

John F. Dolan

Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus

John F. Dolan

  • Biography

    After a judicial clerkship and 10 years of private practice, Professor Dolan joined the law faculty in 1975. His major field of scholarship was the Uniform Commercial Code, especially Article 5, Letters of Credit. His treatise and articles on that subject were cited by all the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals (except the Federal Circuit), the highest and intermediate courts of many states, U.S. District Courts and bankruptcy courts. His work was also cited in academic literature - textbooks, law review articles and treatises. Professor Dolan testified in federal and state litigation and appeared in arbitration proceedings as a letter of credit expert. He served on the Board of Editors of the Banking Law Journal and as a foreign contributing editor to the Banking & Finance Law Review, a Canadian journal.

    Professor Dolan taught as a visiting professor at two universities in The Netherlands, one in China and four U.S. law schools and was a one-semester visiting scholar at a university in Ireland.

    He retired from the law faculty in May 2015.

  • Degrees and Certifications

    LL.B., University of Illinois College of Law

  • Selected publications

    The Drafting History of UCC Article 5, Carolina Academic Press (2016)

    The Role of Attorney's Fees in Letter of Credit Litigation, The Banking Law Journal (November/December 2016)

    The Domestic Standby Letter of Credit Desk Book for Business Professionals, Bankers, and Lawyers (Matthew Bender 2015)

    Insolvency in Letter of Credit Transactions - Part III, 132 Banking L. J. 287 (June 2015).

    Insolvency in Letter of Credit Transactions - Part II, 132 Banking L.J. 243 (May 2015).

    Insolvency in Letter of Credit Transactions - Part I, 132 Banking L.J. 195 (April 2015).

    Negotiable Obligations for Discount: Notes, Acceptances, DPUs and BPOs, 29 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall Law School) 103 (2013).

    Whatever Happened to the Poor Old Doctrine of Negotiability?, 130 Banking LJ 136 (2013).

    Letter of Credit Litigation under UCC Article 5: A Case of Statutory Preemption, 57 Wayne L. Rev.1269 (forthcoming 2011).

    Letter of Credit Undertakings and Suretyship Contracts: Did the Fifth Circuit Slip in Express Blower, Inc. v. Earthcare, LLC? 129 Banking L.J. 291 (2012).

    Documentary Compliance in Letter of Credit Law: What's In a Name, and What Need for an Original? [Piaggo & C.S.p.A. v. Bank of Nova Scotia], Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) (2012).

    Concerns Regarding the Ontario Court's Judgment in the Nareerux Case, 26 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) 116 (2011).

    Nareerux Redux: The Ontario Court of Appeal Fashions Novel Letter of Credit Law, 25 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. 535 (2010).

    Non-Novel Issues of Letter of Credit Law: An Essay, 24 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) 551 (2009), republished electronically in 2010 Annual Rev. of Int'l Banking L. & Prac.

    Of Competing Claims to Excess Letter of Credit Proceeds, 125 Banking L.J. 776 (2008).

    Tethering the Fraud Inquiry in Letter of Credit Law, 121 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) 479 (2006), reprinted in 2007 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 53 and in Trade and Documents: Limits and Limitations (P. Prasad ed. 2008).

    The Vice of Subrogation: Interfering with Risk Allocation Post Payment, 1 J. Payment Sys L. 229 (2005).

    Standby Credits Do Not Protect Landlords from the Bankruptcy Code's Lease Cap, 120 Banking L.J. 383 (2003), reprinted in 2004 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 43.

    A Principled Exception to the Strict Compliance Rule in Trilateral Letter of Credit Transactions, 18 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. 245 (Osgoode Hall) (2003), reprinted in 2004 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 34.

    Negotiation Letters of Credit, 119 Banking L.J. 407 (2002), reprinted in 2003 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 21.

    Analyzing Bank Drafted Letter of Credit Rules, The International Standby Practice (ISP98), 45 Wayne L. Rev. 1865 (1999) (Symposium), reprinted in 2001 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 31.

    A Study in Subrogation Mostly in Letter of Credit and Other Abstract Obligation Transactions, 64 Mo. L. Rev. 789 (1999).

    Security Interests in Letter-of-Credit Rights, 74 Chi.-Kent L. Rev.1035 (1999) (Symposium), reprinted in 2001 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 51.

    Fundamentals of the Uniform Commercial Code (Presented at the 1998 Commercial Law Conference, Australian National University Law School, Canberra, April 1998, published in Perspectives on Commercial Law (1999), a record of the conference proceedings.

    A Comparison of UCP 500 and New U.S. Article 5, [1999] J. Bus. L. 521 (November 1999), reprinted in 2000 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 72.

    A Voluntary Filing System for Secured Transactions in the European Union (w/ Vegter), 6 European Rev. Priv. L. 195 (1998).

    The UN Convention on Independent Bank Undertakings: Do States with Mature Letter of Credit Regimes Need It?, 13 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. 1 (1997) (Osgoode Hall Law School).

    Weakening the Letter of Credit Product: The New Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, Int'l Bus. L.J. (No.2 1994) (in English with French sidebars).

    International Rules for Letters of Credit, The UCP: A Final Report (w/ van Huizen), 9 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. 173 (Osgoode Hall) (1994).

    Changing Commercial Practices and the Uniform Commercial Code, 26 Loyola of Los Angeles L. Rev. 501 (1993) (Symposium).

    Legislative Developments in Letter of Credit Law: An Interim Report, 8 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) 62 (1992).

    Advising, Paying, Negotiating and Other Banks: The Correspondent in the Letter of Credit Transaction, 108 Banking L.J. 396 (1992).

    Efforts at International Standardization of Bank Guarantees, 4 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) 237 (1990).

    Documentary Credit Fundamentals - Comparative Aspects, 3 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall) 121 (1989).

    Letter of Credit Disputes Between the Issuer and Its Customer: The Issuer's Rights under the Misnamed "Bifurcated Standard," 105 Banking L.J. 380 (1988).

    Standby Letters of Credit and Fraud (Is the Standby Only Another Invention of the Goldsmiths in Lombard Street?), 7 Cardozo L. Rev. 1 (1986).

    Letters of Credit, Article 5 Warranties, Fraud, and the Beneficiary's Certificate, 41 Bus. Law. 347 (1986).

    Strict Compliance with Letters of Credit: Striking a Fair Balance, 102 Banking L.J. 18 (1985).

    The UCC's Consignment Rule Needs an Exception for Consumers, 44 Ohio St. L.J. 21 (1983).

    A Good Faith Purchase Study: True Owners and the Warehouse Lien, 18 Houston L. Rev. 267 (1981).

    The UCC Framework: Conveyancing Principles and Property Interests, 59 Boston U. L. Rev. 811 (1979).

    The UCC and the Concept of Possession in the Marketing and Financing of Goods, 56 Texas L. Rev. 1147 (1978).

    Good Faith Purchase and Warehouse Receipts: Thoughts on the Interplay of Articles 2, 7 and 9 of the UCC, 30 Hastings L.J. 1 (1978).

    Section 9-307(1): The UCC's Obstacle to Agricultural Commerce in the Open Market, 72 Nw. U.L. Rev. 706 (1977).

    The Merchant Class of Article 2: Farmers, Doctors, and Others,1977 Wash. U.L.Q. 1.

    Short pieces, commentary, chapters, surveys and book reviews

    Bad Faith and Unconscionability, DCInsight (2012)

    Banco Santander and Protected Parties, DCInsight (Oct.-Dec. 2011).

    Terminology Confusion: "Negotiate and Discount," DCInsight 11 (Jan.-March 2011).

    The Strict-Compliance Rule, DCInsight 8 (Oct.-Dec. 2009).

    Tethering the Fraud Inquiry in Letter of Credit Law, Chapter 7 in Trade and Documents: Limits and Limitations (P. Prasad ed. 2008).

    Special Report: International Payments Systems, (w/ Baker), DCInsight 21 (July-Sept. 2008).

    Identifying the Applicant, DCInsight 21 (Apr.-June 2008).

    Negotiation Credits Under UCP 600, DCInsight 4 (Jan-March 2006), reprinted in Insights into UCP 600, at 213 (ICC Pub. No. 682) (2008).

    Discounting Deferred Payment Obligations, DCInsight (Oct. - Dec. 2005), reprinted in 2006 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 62; reprinted in Insights into UCP 600, at 107 (ICC Pub. No. 682) (2008).

    Another View of Notice "Without Delay," Disposal and Preclusion, DCInsight 18 (Apr.-June 2005), reprinted in Insights into UCP 600, at 75 (ICC Pub. No. 682) (2008).

    Book review, [X. Gao, The Fraud Rule in the Law of Letters of Credit: A Comparative Study (2002)], 20 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall Law School) 281 (2005).

    Advanced Study of Commercial Law (short essay) in G. Hess & S. Friedland, Techniques for Teaching Law (2004).

    Negotiation Credits, Value, and Nominated Banks, DCInsight 22 (Oct. - Dec. 2004), reprinted in Insights into UCP 600, at 59 (ICC Pub. No. 682) (2008).

    Book review, [A. Mugasha, The Law of Letters of Credit and Bank Guarantees (2003)], 20 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall Law School) 177 (2004).

    Discrepant Documents: To Hold or Not To Hold, DCInsight (Oct.-Dec. 2003).

    Letters of Credit and the Bankruptcy Code's Lease Cap: A Response to Professor Bartell, 120 Banking L.J. 842 (2003).

    Impersonating the Drawer: A Comment on Professor Geva's Paper: Consumer Liability in Unauthorized Electronic Funds Transfers, 38 Canadian Bus. L. J. 282 (University of Toronto) (2003).

    Why High Discrepancy Rates Do Not Discourage L/C Use, DCInsight 8 (July-Sept. 2002), reprinted in 2003 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 36.

    How Negotiation Letters of Credit Can Go Wrong: Pan Pacific Specialties Ltd v. Shandong Machinery & Equipment I/E Corp., 17 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall Law School) 129 (2001), reprinted in 2002 Annual Survey of Letter of Credit Law & Practice 57.

    Financing for Commercial Hoi Poloi: Negotiable Drafts and Letters of Credit, 118 Banking L.J. 199 (2001).

    Book review, What's the Matter with the UCP? [Ligia Maura Costa, Le Credit Documentaire - Ä–tude Comparative (1998)], 15 Banking & Fin. L. Rev. (Osgoode Hall Law School) 501 (2000).

    Teaching Commercial Law in the Third Year: A Short Report on a Business Organizations Commercial Law Clinic (w/ McNair), 45 J. Legal Ed. 283 (1995).

    Book review, The Story of EFT [B. Geva, The Law of Electronic Funds Transfers (1992)], 111 Banking L.J. 334 (1994).

    Courts Won't Apply LOC Principles to Engagements that "Stray Too Far", Letters of Credit Report 1 (May/June 1991).

    Professor Dolan Responds to Colleran on Negotiation Credits, Letter of Credit Update 18 (July 1990).

    Dealing with the FDIC and the FSLIC in Financial Institution Insolvency Cases (1988) (chapter in University of Texas CLE Handbook).

    Letters of Credit Practice: Torts, Crimes, and Some Other Don'ts, 104 Banking L.J. 36 (1987).

    Book review, [M. Kurkela, Letters of Credit Under International Trade Law (1985)], 21 Texas Int'l B.J. 203 (1985).

    "Establishing, Amending, and Terminating the Credit" [chapter in Letters of Credit and Bankers' Acceptances (1985)] (revised and republished, 1986)].

    "Performance of the Credit by the Issuer" [chapter in Letters of Credit and Bankers' Acceptances (1985) (revised and republished, 1986)].

    Book review, [R. Henson, Documents of Title under the Uniform Commercial Code (1983)], ALI-ABA CLE Review, Apr. 13, 1984, at 2, col. 1.

    Survey of Commercial Transactions, 26 Wayne L. Rev. 589 (1981).

    "Agricultural Financing" [chapter in Sales and Financing under the Revised UCC (1975), revised and republished (1978); Republished as chapter in Advising Farmers (1980)].

    "Measure of Damages under the UCC" [chapter in Remedies for Breach of Contract (1977)].

    "Enforceability of Clauses Limiting or Excluding Breach of Contract Remedies" [chapter in Remedies for Breach of Contract (1977)].

    Survey of Commercial Transactions, 22 Wayne L. Rev. 305 (1976).

    Note, The Effect of the Erie Doctrine on the Application of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 1964 U. Ill. L.F. 443.

    Casenote, The Power of Congress to Regulate Foreign Travel, 1963 U. Ill. L.F. 709.

    Casenote, The Right to Counsel During Police Interrogation, 1963 U. Ill. L.F. 5

  • Books

    Core Concepts of Commercial Law: Past, Present and Future, Cases and Materials (Thomson-West) April 2004 co-authored with Professors Bruce A. Markell and Lawrence Ponoroff

    This book introduces students to commercial law and provides a modicum of Uniform Commercial Code learning. Much of the text emphasizes principles rather than the rules of commercial law. This emphasis is appropriate because the principles endure, whereas the rules change from state to state and time to time. The book, nevertheless, is full of rules, with lots of practical applications.

    Secured Transactions and Payment Systems: Problems and Answers (Aspen Publishers, 2d Edition) February 2003 co-authored with Professors Leo L. Clarke, Larry Garvin, Allen R. Kamp, Kerry Macintosh

    This student text provides a completely up-to-date treatment of the Uniform Commercial Code, including the recent revisions in Article 9. The material is presented in a problem and answer format. The first edition of this book was based on problems that Professor Dolan had been using with his students for a number of years. Last year, the publisher asked him to update the work, and Professor Dolan invited four commercial law teachers across the country to join him in the effort.

    The Law of Letters of Credit: Commercial and Standby Credits (A.S. Pratt & Sons,) 2007 4th edition

    The standby letter of credit is a commercial bank product critical to the financing of domestic commerce. The commercial letter of credit plays a critical role in trans-Pacific and North-South trade. The 4th edition of the often cited treatise, The Law of Letters of Credit, explains letters of credit and addresses comprehensively and with massive citation of authority all of the issues that have arisen in the marketplace, the banking house, and the courtroom.

    Users' Handbook for Documentary Credits Under UCP 600.

    Commercial letters of credit remain a rather arcane subject. International bankers and many experienced commercial lawyers understand them and understand the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits (UCP 600) that usually govern them; but many buyers, sellers, and lawyers, those new to international sales as well as many with experience in international sales, are sufficiently unfamiliar with the subject that they will benefit from a users' handbook. The perceived need is for an introduction to international sales, international payments, and the commercial letter of credit. The Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce commissioned this users' handbook to fill the need.

    The Drafting History of UCC Article 5 (Carolina Academic Press) 2016

    This is a source for people seeking to understand the law of letters of credit under UCC Article 5. The book's purpose is to bring together material from four hard-to-access source materials, set them out by subject matter, and allow comparative analysis that will add meaning to the spare language of the 1995 version of UCC Article 5, the current legislation.

    Article 5 acknowledges that it is a basic platform for law that governs letters of credit. The statute assumes that case law and case law history continue to play critical roles in fashioning the superstructure for that platform.

    Researchers can access current case law in treatises, but the law on which the first version of Article 5, the 1952 version, relied is absent from most of the literature. Happily, in 1953 the New York Law Revision Commission asked Professor Rudolph Schlesinger to evaluate the 1952 version in light of then current case law. Schlesinger's Report, first published in 1952, is not readily accessible. It is a superb restatement of letter of credit law at the time the drafters were first fashioning the letter of credit statute.

    Also largely inaccessible are the comments Henry Harfield, a leading letter of credit lawyer and commentator prepared for New York's now repealed 1962 version of Article 5. This resource makes those comments available as well as the Schlesinger Report.

    Finally, the chapters dealing with each section of the current version of Article 5 contain "Editor's Commentary" by this author who writes frequently on the subject and has been recognized by courts and commentators as an authority on letter of credit law.

    This book makes the Harfield comments accessible by setting them out after the 1962 version of Article 5 and the Schlesinger Report accessible by presenting relevant portions of it out after each section of the 1952 version of Article 5. Appendix A is the introduction and the conclusion of the Report, which are not set out in the chapters.

    The effect of presenting this section-by-section chronology is to give the researcher entrée to the legislative and common law history of the entire letter of credit article from its earliest version to its current version with commentary by recognized letter of credit commentators.

    The Domestic Standby Letter of Credit Desk Book for Business Professional, Bankers and Lawyers (LexisNexis) 2015

    This is a short, to-the-point, desk book so that any intelligent comptroller, marketer, supply manager, inventory control supervisor, CEO, COO, lawyer, banker, whatever, will be up to speed. Not necessarily up to speed to fashion a standby to secure a $25 million deal, but up to speed to the point to be able to participate in the fashioning of that deal, as the credit's applicant, issuer, or beneficiary. Readers will know whether the consultants they hire are specialists or blowing smoke and whether the lawyers and bankers understand standby credits, and will know when this handy commercial device can serve commercial needs with remarkable celerity, certainty, and low cost.

    The purpose of the book is to fashion a platform of working knowledge regarding an underappreciated and often little understood commercial device, the standby letter of credit, and to bring that platform to lawyers, bankers, and other parties engaged in commercial activity.

    Domestic standby credits are a subset of the broader letter of credit subject. Letters of credit are not new, but the growing use of the domestic standby is. Unfortunately, letters of credit are more than a little idiosyncratic. They are not contracts, are not negotiable instruments, and are not subject to the law that governs those two more familiar commercial concepts. Standby credit law and practice are not only different. They are often counterintuitive for people who are active in commercial activity and in commercial borrowing and lending, and to lawyers generally familiar with commercial law.

    The book endeavors to dispel completely any notion that letter of credit law is for the expert only. Once the reader grasps the unique functions and nature of the standby, as this little book explains them, the rules make perfect sense. Lawyers, bankers and non-lawyers and non-bankers can grasp them quickly and can utilize the standby to achieve marvelous efficiencies and achieve them with celerity, certainty, and at low cost.