On the issue of the past tense of plead, Bryan Garner notes that both pled and plead have gained some credence as proper usage in American English (which is what I speak). But, Garner states that pleaded is the predominant form, and that is good enough for me. I know that because Garner quotes me as a usage example in A Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, 667 (2d. ed):
"No case was to be pleaded at Superior Court for less than a three pounds fee . . . ." Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law 100-01 (2d ed. 1985).
OK, in reality, that not me; it is one of the other L. M. Friedmans out there. In this case, it is Stanford's Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law Lawrence M. Friedman. Still, it is nice to see one's name in print when it is unexpected.
On the expected front, for those of you teaching in this areas, the book is coming along and should be available in the Spring semester. It is not clear whether a teaching guide will be available. More on that later.