Friday, August 31, 2012

Public Impression of Lawyers

The videos below give examples of one element of public impressions of lawyers. This is nothing new, but it's better to address the issue than ignore it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Men Are Not Reasonably Prudent

There are many video examples of people failing to act up to the standard of ordinary care. This one comes from an insurance company that insures women, only . . . ostensibly with good reason.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Joel gets KaZaA-mmed

NPR reports that the RIAA's judgment against Boston University graduate student Joel Tenebaum in the amount of $674,000 has been upheld by a Federal District Court.  The case that was first mentioned in this post back in 2010 claims Tenebaum had illegally downloaded 31 songs and then made them available to others through the peer to peer file sharing site, KaZaA.  The District Court action follows remand from the 1st Circuit for the purpose of considering a remittur.  The District Court upheld the original judgment. (The oral arguments from the 1st Circuit are available on YouTube.)

Tenebaum has since gone on to finish his PhD, but still needs to figure out how to deal with this crushing judgment.  This is a cautionary tale for our students.  One that they, sadly, often ignore.  Perhaps playing the audio of the NPR report in class will help.

I know that I have posted this video before, but when these issues come up I can't resist the urge to post this social commentary from Weird Al Yankovic.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If a Law Is Typically Ignored In a City, Is It Still a Law?

This political season gives us another opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of law in shaping conduct. According to the Connecticut Post, Christina Ayala, the Democratic candidate for a seat in the Connecticut General Assembly from the city of Bridgeport was arrested and charged for a recent incident.  According to police, Ayala, who was driving with two children in the car (ages 7 and 13) ran a red light, smashed into another vehicle rendering it a total loss, and then fled the scene.  Ayala issued a statement expressing regret for her "mis-judgment."

One might think that this incident could effect Ayala's chances of getting elected.  However, in a follow-up story, the Post reports that her political aspiration are likely intact.  Expressing a view apparently held by many, Ayala's father intimated that the other driver should have been more vigilant. "This is Bridgeport. People take stop signs, they take traffic lights every day."

Apparently, ignoring public safety laws is common in Bridgeport, destroying the very reason for the law's existence.  Instead of travelling the streets secure in a social contract that others will obey the law, you must conduct yourself as if this is the Wild West and everyone is free to make up their own rules. And soon, a person raised in and a participant in this environment will be elected to the legislature, ostensibly to make laws that everyone should feel free to ignore.

In teaching law to undergraduates, I had taken as a "given" that adherence to law is a universal value.  Now I see that I have to consider the effect of geographic and cultural differences on student understanding.  Some students may come from places where the law is commonly ignored.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Akin Exposes Law-Makin'

A big political story this last week has been the comments of Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican Congressman and US Senate candidiate, opining that women do not typically become pregnant as a result of rape.   His comments, having absolutely no basis in science, have understadnably sparked criticism from both sides of the political aisle.  And although this is a politically charged issue in an election cycle, the teachable moment form this incident is not at all political, but institutional.

Where does law come from?  Is it organic or is it fashioned by human lawmakers?  If law is constituted of human actio, what is the nature of the lawmaking process?

Akin has served 12 years as the Congressional Representative from the 2d Congressional District of Missouri. He serves on a number of committees - most notable in this instance is his appointment to the US House of Representative Committee on Science, Space and Technology.  Yes, Representative Akin, whose scientifically fantastical statements about human reproduction got him into so much trouble is actually one of the people who we rely on to make good public policy about science.  Is this like the fox guarding the hen house, or is this just the way law is made?

"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made."
     -  John Godfrey Saxe University Chronicle. University of Michigan (27 March 1869)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012 Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher Competition

I am honored, today, to be one of four finalists in the Charles M. Hewitt Master Teacher Competition sponsored by the Academy of Legal Studies in Business.  By the time this post is available, I will have completed my presentation to the membership at the ALSB annual conference held this year in Kansas City, MO.  The other finalists are Lucien Dhooge of Georgia Tech, Stephanie Greene of Boston College, and Michael Koval of Salisbury University.

The purpose of this post is not self-promotion, but to serve as a forum to share the resources that were compiled for my presentation. The presentation materials included over 130 video web links of examples of the pedagogical use of music in college classrooms.  However, in paper/photocopy form, the links are difficult to use.  Therefore, I have posted my proposal paper including the addendum containing the links in this post. The result will be "live" links that may be used to see examples of the use of music as a teaching resource in college classrooms. I invite you to peruse the presentation proposal and look at the live links as you consider introducing innovative classroom techniques.

Jump to the proposal and addended links by clicking on "Read More" below.