Archive for December, 2012

Last week I bid farewell to my Fall 2012 1L Contracts class.  This is the first time I’ve taught 1L Contracts in the USA and it’s been very good to get back to my transactional & common law roots.  The book I used was Contracts: A Context and Practice Casebook by Michael Hunter Schwartz & Denise Riebe.  I am very pleased with the choice, and informal feedback gathered from my students suggests they are too.  The book does a great job of combining core legal knowledge, practical skills and material on professional ethics and professional identity formation.  For folks that have my kind of teaching style and philosophy it is a very good fit as it provides a framework in which 1Ls can at least make a start in recognizing & evaluating standard contract provisions such as merger clauses, agreed damages clauses, force majeure clauses and so on.  It is also a book designed from the premise that different students have different learning styles.  As far as I am concerned, anything that helps me try to meet students where they are deserves to be heartily commended.  For anyone wishing to read more about Michael Schwartz’s educational philosophy, I recommend this.

Finally, for the benefit of my students here are some fun reminders of a few of the cases we read and discussed:

  1.  On the tendency of courts to find ways to uphold commercial deals wherever possible, try this charming rendition of Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon:
  2.  On the meaning of “chicken”, consider this reenactment of Frigaliment Importing Co v. B.N.S. International Sales Corp (hat tip to Mohit Bangia for drawing this one to my attention):
  3.  And for a grand finale, here’s actress Shirley Maclaine’s encounter with the doctrine of mitigation of damages in Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.:

Enjoy the holidays.

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Exam Advice

Message to law students generally and 1Ls in particular. Professor Douglas Whaley recently posted some sage and practical advice on how to take a law school exam on his blog.  It’s worth a read and worth heeding.

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As exam season looms for my 1L students it seems an appropriate time to say something about survival.  Not just surviving (and acing) law school exams but surviving law school in general.  I’ll keep it short because I know you are all working hard on outlining and studying.

Take a look at The Girl’s Guide to Law School.  This excellent resource is the creation of Alison Monahan, Columbia Law School (class of 2006) and self-styled BigLaw refugee.  As the title may suggest, it is oriented towards female law students though in my estimation it is likely to be just as useful to many male law students.   There is practical advice on getting through law school while “staying you” — which may sound a little hokey but is actually incredibly important.  There are reality checks aplenty about law school and legal practice.

At a future point I want to say more about the serious issues and challenges facing law students and law schools.  But, for now, good luck to all of those of you who are taking end of semester exams during the coming weeks.

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