Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bad Lawyer Ads #1

This is the first in an occasional series of bad lawyer ads. It is the ads that are "bad" (in my subjective opinion).  I will leave the students to draw their conclusions about the lawyers who use these ads. Here in Connectciut, we do not see TV ads like this.  (There are ads, but they are tame). Maybe that means that Nutmeg Staters are considered by the legal advertising industry as being too stayed (or too smart) to be tolerant of theses rants.

Enjoy, or be horrified as the case may be.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Slip and Fall in the Snow

Here in Connecticut, we are socked in with snow today.  The first day of Winter Intersession classes has been cancelled.  Here is a reminder to be careful in the snow and to also be careful to plow and clear the snow from places where people must walk.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Holidays!

With the semester over and the Holidays approaching, blogging will be intermittent until about mid-January.  I'll be back just before the Spring semester with some guest blogs and some ideas for the start of the semester.  I hope that readers will consider sharing their ideas and resources here over the next semester as guest bloggers. If we work together, we can use this blog as a clearinghouse for a wealth of resources to our mutual benefit.

Here's the singing DUI lawyer to lend a little levity to the semester break.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Law Music Video - Oughta be a Law

This week's installment in the "Law Music Videos" series is Oughta be a Law by Firehouse. All hail stadium rock and roll! Law music videos played before your class starts will positively contribute to learning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Courtroom Security

My Legal Environment students are required to observe a trial court in session during the semester. I just finished reading the written expressions of their observations.  Many are initially surprised to encounter metal detectors at the entrance - although upon reflection are understanding. Incidents like the ones depicted below are rare, but their ocurrence must be anticipated and guarded against.  I wouldn't show these in class before the court observation assignment is done as they might be too scary.  But shown afterwards, they illustrate the importance of courtroom security precautions.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Criminal Law - Rise of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement

This video from Democracy Now is an interview of Russell Mokhiber from the Corporate Crime Reporter explaining the use of deferred prosecution agreements by the US Justice Department.  The NY Times article to which he refers in the interview can be found here. The video is a bit on the long side for class, but I have found it to be worthwhile.  It can also be assigned as homework.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Commerce Clause - Business Regulation by the National Government

This video sets up the facts of the depression era U.S. prosecution of Fred Perkins, the owner of a York, PA battery company for failing to meet NIRA minimum wage standards.  Perkins' case never made it to the Supreme Court, but the court did hear U.S. v Darby based on similar facts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Return of The Pink Panther - Interpretation of Statutes

This video clip from The Return of The Pink Panther shows Inspector Clousseau engaged in a battle of wits with a beggar over the interpretation of statutes. Law enforcement involves discretion; first at the street level, then later at the prosecutorial level.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Law Music Video - Lovers Need Lawyers

This week's installment in the "Law Music Videos" series is Lovers Need Lawyers by The Good Life. This video may be more social commentary on "lovers" than on "lawyers." Law music videos played before your class starts will positively contribute to learning.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Featured Case - Leonard v. Pepsico: Reasonable Interpretation of Offer

In Leonard v.Pepsico (site courtesy of South Texas College of Law) Mr. Leonard attempted to hold Pepsi liable on a purported contract offer made in a TV commercial to provide a Harrier Jet in exchange for pepsi points. My favorite passage from the decision: "Plaintiff's insistence that the commercial appears to be a serious offer requires the Court to explain why the commercial is funny. Explaining why a joke is funny is a daunting task; as the essayist E.B. White has remarked, 'Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process....'"

The 1st "Harriet Jet" Pepsi commercial:

The 2nd "Harriet Jet" Pepsi commercial:

What makes the Harrier Jet unique:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Attorneys' Fees - Contingent Fees

Students have a little knowledge about contingent fees from TV lawyer ads, but don't really know how they work or how they contribute to maintain access to legal services.  There are many videos from lawyers trying to describe contingent fees as part of an advertisement for services. The video supplied below describes the fee arrangement and its benefits without the sales pitch. The second video below is produced by The Georgia Civil Justice Foundation. Click on the "Click here" text below the image to play the video direct from the GCJFsite.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Reasonably Prudent" Driver?

The responsibility to act as a reasonably prudent operator of a motor vehicle includes the obligation to make adjustments for road and weather conditions.  These folks could use a refresher course on driving in the snow.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Commerce Clause - the 1938 View on Marijuana Regulation

This clip from the 1938 movie "Reefer Madness" shows the prevailing view of the time - that the Federal government had no power to regulate marijuana as "there is no interstate commerce in it."  This clip can be used as a thoughtful introduction to Gonzales v. Raich.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Law Music Video - Breaking The Law

This week's installment in the "Law Music Videos" series is Breaking The Law by Judas Priest. Law music videos played before your class starts will positively contribute to learning.

Another classic.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Featured Website: American Rhetoric - Movie Speeches

The American Rhetoric - Movie Speeches site gives access to a wealth of video clips from popular movies.  There are a number of law related movies.  Three of my favorites are:

Frank Galvin's closing argument in "The Verdict": After the judge instructs the jury to disregard the testimony of the  plaintiff's keywitness, Galvin (Paul Newman) prompts the jury to nullification with the brilliantly delivered mandate, "YOU are the law."

Vincent Gambini's cross-examination of Mr. Tipton from "My Cousin Vinny": Vinny (Joe Pesce) uses his newly discovered knowledge of Southern cuisine to prove a key eyewitness could have been mistaken in his identification of Billy and Stan as the perpetrators in a murder.

President Andrew Shepherd's press conference address from "The American President": After his political opponent questions his character, Shepard (Michael Douglas) addresses the charges including the criticism of Shepard's girlfriend for a college-age protest in which an American flag was burned. I show this clip when we discuss Texas v. Johnson

Other law related movies from which clips are available at the site include:

Adam's Rib
Inherit the Wind
Judgment at Nuremberg
Legally Blonde
The Hurricane
The Shawshank Redemption
To Kill a Mockingbird
Wall Street

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Law Lessong - The Holder in Due Course Blues

This  video and song from a Power Point presentation can help students ponder the requirements for achieving Holder in Due Course status and the importance of doing so. Learn more about Law Lessongs from the post found here. More audio files are found at the Law Lessongs Website. More videos may be found at my youtube channel. Please feel free to use them in the classroom or as assignments or in any way that they work for you as an educational resource.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ethics - With Tongue Planted Firmly in Cheek

What is the relationship between ethics and profit?  There is a perception that the  relationship is inverse. That is a condition that you may begin to challenge in class by using this video portrayal of the common perception.