There are legitimate historical reasons for speaking seriously about a civil law heritage in Louisiana. French and Spanish civilian influences permeated the Louisiana Civil Code when it was first enacted in 1808. The current status of the civil law in Louisiana, however, is problematic; the American common law methodology has made significant inroads into the operation of the current legal system. Separated from its parenting source by geography, time, and culture, Louisiana civil law has become an ill-defined civilian entity that, in reality, is more of a common law process with civil law trappings. The civil law nonetheless has a destiny in Louisiana and other American jurisdictions. The development of international trade and commerce creates a global need to accommodate and merge different legal traditions. The future mission of the civil law in North America may reside in its ability to provide a sensible procedural and substantive model of law for the resolution of international commercial disputes.
The internationalization of law and legal practice offers an opportunity to update, adjust, and adapt Louisiana's civil law heritage to the realities of contemporary society and to resurrect it from the ashes of historical memory. The national and international legitimacy of Louisiana civil law lies in its comparative law role as a means of bridging the gap between the two principal Western legal traditions. The familiarity with opposing legal concepts and methodology and the academic sophistication in teaching different branches of law could make Louisiana a training ground for American and European lawyers who wish to engage in the practice of transnational commercial law.
Thomas E. Carbonneau, The Survival of Civil Law in North America: The Case of Louisiana, 84 Law Libr. J. 171 (1992).