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"Mr. Hart, Would You Recite the Facts of Hawkins Versus McGee?":
Although my teaching style bears little resemblance to Kingsfield's, I have to say that I absolutely love this first scene from "The Paper Chase."
Dave N (mail):
The scene brought back memories--thankfully not from law school, though.

And how could any self-respecting lawyer not know about Hawkins v. McGee? Bad cases make bad law and strange cases make casebooks interesting.
12.18.2007 2:11am
Mike& (mail):
We only had one 1L prof try to pull that type of stuff. I went to basic training at 17 and had men who had shot and been shot at in war yell at me. So the idea that a lawprof could intimate me was pretty hilarious. (Since I went to basic before my Sr. year in high school, I similarly got a good laugh when high school teachers would try to be intimidating.)

I wonder what kind of privileged existence a person lives such that he vomits under questioning from a professor. Have 5 kids jump you when you walk home from school and then tell me how much pressure getting "shamed" in front of some classmates is anxiety causing. That's mentality is so detached from my upbringing that I literally can't comprehend such a coddled life. I actually feel sorry for those types of people. How sad to be so weak.

Incidentally, I missed orientation week, and thus didn't get the first day's reading assignment. When I e-mailed the professor (the same one who liked to "intimidate" students) asking for the assignment, she got snarky, saying, "No. You're not [sic] in professional school now." I assume she meant that since I was now in professional school, I couldn't ask a professor for reading assignment - even when I was halfway across the country and unable to get it otherwise. The irony at lecturing me via a typo-containing e-mail.

In any event, I would have loved for someone like "Kingsfield" to give me the type of static he gave students in that movie. I have no sympathy for bullies, and I enjoy it when bullies pick on the wrong person - me.
12.18.2007 2:46am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Mike&:

Different things cause anxiety in different people. Many people wouldn't be intimidated by the drill instructor because they know he can't really do more than yell at them and tell them to do some push-ups, but might be intimidated by a law school professor because they care what he thinks of them and what the other students think of them. Some people are paralyzed by a physical threat; others become calm and clear-headed.

I don't see why having been shot at makes DIs particularly intimidating. Lots of people have been shot at. It doesn't necessarily make them tough. Ever been face-to-face with a grizzly bear? (and I don't mean with bars in between). I have. I be those DIs are wusses compared to a griz.
12.18.2007 4:45am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Mike&:

Different things cause anxiety in different people. Many people wouldn't be intimidated by the drill instructor because they know he can't really do more than yell at them and tell them to do some push-ups, but might be intimidated by a law school professor because they care what he thinks of them and what the other students think of them. Some people are paralyzed by a physical threat; others become calm and clear-headed.

I don't see why having been shot at makes DIs particularly intimidating. Lots of people have been shot at. It doesn't necessarily make them tough. Ever been face-to-face with a grizzly bear? (and I don't mean with bars in between). I have. I bet those DIs are wusses compared to a griz.
12.18.2007 4:45am
Big Bill (mail):
Mike: while some Kingsfieldish professors have bullying in mind, most are looking to turn every class into an intense learning experience and to prep their students to think on their feet, extremely fast, as their understanding is hammered from every direction, much as they might have to think in legal combat in the courtroom. Don't think "Kingsfield", think "Gunny DI".
12.18.2007 5:06am
Cornellian (mail):
John Houseman totally deserved the Oscar for his performance as Professor Kingsfield in that movie.
12.18.2007 6:35am
Thinker:
I have hoped against hope that someday I'll get at least one student named Hart in my class!! If there is a mythical Hart Law student out there - I'm willing to bet he's called on first all the time.

I loved that movie. Frankly, it is surprising that no one has made another serious law school movie since. Similarly, I'm surprised that the Supreme Court - which most of us find so fascinating - hasn't been turned into fiction or a movie in some substantial way.
12.18.2007 7:29am
tarheel:
Thinker, how could you possibly have forgotten this gem of a series? Chief Justice Rockford!!
12.18.2007 8:09am
Anonymouseducator (mail) (www):
I get much more nervous having to speak in front of people than I do in situations where I can respond physically. And one of my law school friends is a Marine who was in Iraq two years ago, and he gets nervous in class.

Or so he claims.
12.18.2007 8:22am
Temp Guest (mail):
This is amusing as a nostalgia piece. However, Grigg v. Duke Power and its enshrinement in the 1991 rewrite of the 1964 Civil rights Act have caused a total reversal in the balance of power between professor and student in this country's second-rate and third-rate colleges and "universities". Diplomas from these mills have replaced employee testing as a way of determining whether an individual has minimal qualifications for today's jobs. Financially, everyone except the students -- who wind up with a house-mortgage size debt for the equivalent of a 1960s era high school diploma -- make out like bandits: College administrators and their enormous salaries proliferate. second, third, and fourth-rate Ph.D.s get cushy tenure slots. The banks make fortunes financing the whole boondogle. Politicians get to pose as benefactors of the poor, while legislating a system that makes banks and colleges rich on the backs of poor, working class, and middle class kids. Any professor who tries to introduce intellectual rigor and discipline into a classroom, e.g., by requiring that term papers be written coherently, logically, and in grammatical English, will be denounced by students and have deans and department chairs all over him for rocking the boat.
12.18.2007 8:27am
Dave N (mail):
John Houseman totally deserved the Oscar for his performance as Professor Kingsfield in that movie.
No, Houseman got his Oscar the old fashioned way, he eeaarrnned it.
12.18.2007 9:38am
JosephSlater (mail):
(1) Dave N wins the thread;

(2) I teach in a second-tier law school, and I must say I don't think the Griggs case (and disparate impact theory in employment discrimination general) has changed anything about the law school experience, or had any of the effects Temp Guest lists. And I even teach employment discrimination.
12.18.2007 10:03am
Larry the Librarian:
First class, first day. The reading is Hawkins against (as I soon learned to say) McGee. Since it was Rutgers-Newark, the name was rather more flavorful than Hart, something Eastern European if I recall correctly.

Professor says: "Right. What's an assumpsit?" I had no idea and started reading much more closely after that.

The professor, while gruff, was one of the nicest teachers I have ever had. I distinctly remember him, a little while before the exam, basically saying to us that there was a way to take a law school exam and some of us would figure it out first semester and some second semester and some after that, and that the skill had nothing to do with who was smarter. It was one of the most humane things I've ever experienced. Interrogation at the hands of a smart person who realizes that the job is to lead students and not compete with them is a magnificant teaching method, and I wish I had the guts to try it.
12.18.2007 10:05am
rarango (mail):
Not having been to law school, I don't know about the pedagogy involved; but I could easily see where the Kingsfield approach was to inculcate a sense responsibility, need for preparation, rapid thinking under pressure, and many of the traits I am sure a good trial lawyer needs. I don't regard it as bullying; and in fact, the pedagogy of the DI and Professor Kingsfield appear to me to serve the same ends.
12.18.2007 10:22am
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
My undergrad con law prof taught that way, though with a NYC accent rather than a John Houseman. It wasn't about bullying at all, it was about getting us to read the casebook, and getting us to think about the legal issues involved. You never knew when it would be your turn, so you were ready every day. Pretty effective, IMO.
12.18.2007 10:43am
NaG (mail):
Indeed, if the prospect of a Professor demanding answers from you (perchance with your grade hanging in the balance) is too much for you to handle, then how will you survive having an actual judge rail at you with your client's life/livelihood on the line? Same goes with DI's -- if you are cowed by mere invective, then you have no business being in battle.

My one Kingsfield-like professor taught Contracts, but unfortunately his view of contract law was: Don't let a court get hold of your contract, because then anything can happen. So while, in his view, the court was usually wrong, there was no "right" answer. That made learning a little difficult.
12.18.2007 10:44am
Rock Solid Legal (mail) (www):
My legal research and writing professor made a lot of sense back when I was in law school.

He said he wasn't impressed with a LAWYER (law professor) who could make a law STUDENT look like an idiot. Show him a LAWYER who can make another LAWYER look like an idiot....that's impressive.

I always remembered that and never had a problem reciting in class.
12.18.2007 10:46am
no (mail):
that's good, because I'm taking your class next semester!
12.18.2007 11:36am
Truth Seeker:
Having seen Paper Chase just before starting law school it was fun the be the one questioned about the Carbolic Smoke Ball case. The professoer (Peter Maggs) was (still is) brilliant, an American fluent in Japanese and Russian who helped the newly freed Soviet states write their constitutions.
12.18.2007 11:48am
Jason F:
My Property law professor -- Professor Helmholz -- was cut from the same cloth as the fictional Professor Kingsfield. He was one of my favorite professors. There's nothing like sitting in class next to one of your friends, Mr. S--, listening to him engage in Socratic dialogue with the Professor, and then hearing the Professor say "Mr. F--, explain to Mr. S-- why he is wrong." Especially when you think Mr. S-- got it right.

A story went around when I was a student that in discussing a case involving some river, he once asked a student "Mr. Jones, where is the Such-and-such River."
"I don't know," replied Mr. Jones.
"Mr. Jones, when you saw that the case involved the Such-and-such River, weren't you curious to know where that River was?"
"Well, I suppose it's in Virginia, since the case arose in Virginia."
"Yes, but where in Virginia is it?"
"I don't know."
"Mr. Jones, there is an atlas in the library. Why don't you go look up the Such-and-such River in the atlas and then report back to us on where the river is located."
"Yes, professor."
There was then a pregnant pause as Mr. Jones waited for Professor Helmholz to resume questioning him about the case. Instead, Professor Helmholz looked at him and said "Go on, Mr. Jones. We'll wait."

I don't know if that story is true. I do know that when Professor Helmholz questioned one of my classmates about the location of some geographical feature in one of our cases, he didn't make that student go to the library then and there. Instead, he assigned the student to report back at the start of the next class.
12.18.2007 12:03pm
Assumpsit Fitzgerald:
I got the Hawkins v. McGee assumpsit question first class, first day, but fortunately I had looked it up. Everyone had told me to buy a Black's Law Dictionary, and I think that was the only time I used it during the first semester. But it was worth every penny... the professor turned out to be a writs nerd.
12.18.2007 12:12pm
alias:
I got the Hawkins v. McGee assumpsit question first class, first day, but fortunately I had looked it up. Everyone had told me to buy a Black's Law Dictionary, and I think that was the only time I used it during the first semester. But it was worth every penny... the professor turned out to be a writs nerd.

Nowadays, Black's Law Dictionary is on Westlaw. If you have wireless in the classroom, you're limited only by the speed of the network and the speed of your typing
12.18.2007 12:55pm
alias:
same for Helmholz's question about rivers in Virginia. Google maps will have the answer for you if you can filibuster for about 15 seconds
12.18.2007 12:56pm
Steven H (mail):
Re: Dave N:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFpPovznSG8
12.18.2007 1:01pm
Waldensian (mail):
It's interesting to me that the Socratic/bullying method is considered by many to be the essence of a good legal education. I'm not aware of any evidence that it is actually an effective teaching technique, relative to other methods.

I think it just goes to show the truth of the Immutable Law of Human Relations in the Presence of a Power Imbalance: "Everything will eventually come to look like fraternity hazing."
12.18.2007 1:50pm
DJR:
@Assumpsit Fitzgerald: I was cowed by the story in 1L where the protagonist was asked on the first day what a decedent is and from then on looked up every single word I didn't know when I read an opinion, and wrote them down in my notes in case I was asked.
12.18.2007 1:55pm
Cornellian (mail):
You can be Socratic without being bullying or abusive. I do think the Socratic method has value, at least in the first year of law school, where it is important for students to become familiar with how the common law legal system works. It's not about memorizing statutes and regulations (as many lay people assume), it's about being able to analyze and to discern and consider competing points of view. The Socratic method can bring that out in a way that a straightforward lecture cannot. Kingsfield was right - law students need to be taught to think like a lawyer and no amount of lecturing is going to teach that.
12.18.2007 2:33pm
nobody @ home:
I was amused by this quote when I saw it:

"Thinking like a lawyer" is a bug, not a feature.
12.18.2007 3:31pm
R. G. Newbury (mail):
I was a 2L when the Paper Chase came out. The theatre owner in Kingston sold out a special late night premiere showing to the law school. I think about 90% of the students AND 80% profs were there, including the Dean. Even though it was a premiere showing, the comments were as if the audience were seeing the Rocky Horror Picture Show for the 20th time. (It did not hurt matters that large numbers of attendees had done pizza and beer beforehand).
I distinctly remember my school's teaching equivalent of Kingsfield standing to remonstrate with the chanting crowd that "I'm not Kingfield. I hate bow ties!"

But the BEST overall scene of the movie is when Kingsfield gives Hart a quarter, to call home and tell his mother that he will never make a lawyer...

Although the scene where the chubby guy (can't call him anything else but Blutto. pace Animal House) drops his (voluminous) notes out the window, very good for the pathos it engenders in anyone who has been to law school. (For trivia nuts, the movie exteriors were filmed at *Hart* House, University of Toronto....
12.18.2007 3:31pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
The common thread through both the Paper Chase and One L is the climate of fear of failure engendered by the law school. Thurow succumbs to fear by buying every type of study supplement available, while the photographic memory student in the Paper Chase attempts to kill himself in front of his young pregnant wife.
12.18.2007 3:39pm
BCL (mail):
Here is the scene where Kingsfield gives Hart the quarter (actually, it is a dime). Best scene in the film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHU-_s3j0TA
12.18.2007 4:10pm
happylee:
I spent two classes getting grilled on this one. Loved it. I have always been a sucker for the Socratic method with a touch of Prussian tough love. Great movie and great class.
12.18.2007 4:21pm
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
Actually, Kingsfield was a softy even in that scene. My first day in Property at Texas Law School in 1977 involved a much more thorough grilling that caused its subject (the fellow sitting alphabetically next to me) not only to lose his breakfast in the toilet (like Hart), but to leave law school altogether. I'm nevertheless a fan of the Socratic method and, indeed, of the professor who gave it such a vivid illustration that day.
12.18.2007 4:23pm
Cato:
I was the first person called on in my Contracts class, a class taught by the author the the casebook, Professor Knapp. My experience was quite different than Mr. Hart's.

It was a double period and I was grilled for both periods. Since I had seen the movie, I was well prepared.

At the end of the class, numerous people came to me asking me to join their study groups. I was shocked that people already had study groups, and, honestly, I was hoping some of the good-looking women would ask. Finally one came up to me and said:

"Is your last name X? That was my maiden name, and I'm smart too."

She was.
12.18.2007 4:25pm
Cornellian (mail):
I was amused by this quote when I saw it:

"Thinking like a lawyer" is a bug, not a feature.


It's a feature when you're briefing and arguing motions, but you need to be able to turn it off when dealing with the rest of your life. Plenty of lawyers can't do that and every conversation they have with relatives, significant others, store clerks etc sounds like a cross examination. In that case, it's most definitely a bug.
12.18.2007 4:56pm
A. Person (mail):
I wish lawyers spent less time "thinking like a lawyer" and more time "thinking like a scientist"!
12.18.2007 5:00pm
Steve:
I always felt that it was less a fear of the professor and more a fear of one's peers. It's hard to escape the feeling that you're the only stupid person in the room, since people don't often volunteer the information that they're clueless, too.

I recall an amusing episode in my Contracts class that drove this point home. "Mr. M____," the professor said to me, "what do you think Professor Priest would say about the holding of this case?"

To my horror, I realized that I had read the casebook for the day, but hadn't bothered to check to see if we were assigned any secondary reading.

I tried to muddle my way through. "Uh, well, Professor, I don't think it's necessarily clear how Professor Priest would look at this, it's complicated..."

The professor smelled blood. "Why don't you give it your best shot?"

At this point, I realized the jig was up. "Let me be more clear," I responded. "I don't have a clue what Professor Priest would say."

The class, of course, laughed and the professor moved on. In the subsequent weeks, a lot of students told me they felt a lot more comfortable in class, after seeing firsthand that even if you looked stupid when you got called on it really wasn't that big a deal. So hopefully I helped everyone have a little less first-year stress.
12.18.2007 5:13pm
R. G. Newbury (mail):
'I wish lawyers spent less time "thinking like a lawyer" and more time "thinking like a scientist"!'

But actually we are. Large chunks of the law (not to be confused with 'blowing chunks') *is* structured in a definable manner, much like biolog. Linnaeus divided things by recognizable differences. So do lawyers. The story which Bill Dyer links to, is in fact, an expostion about legal court structure which supports the legal jurisprudence structure. Contracts have requirements: 'meeting of minds' breaks down to concepts of 'offer', 'acceptance' and further to 'communication of acceptance'. Often it is semantic based, but words have meanings.
One reason lawyers love old case law, and old wording is that it has been scrutinized and 'blessed'....And one of the best engineering if not scientific methods is to repeat what you know works....

Some say the imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...but we scorn plagiarism, which is merely imitation without footnotes....
12.18.2007 5:40pm
Waldensian (mail):

You can be Socratic without being bullying or abusive.

True, but I never cease to be amazed at how many people think the two go hand-in-hand -- and teach accordingly.

I do think the Socratic method has value, at least in the first year of law school, where it is important for students to become familiar with how the common law legal system works.

You may be right, but I've never seen any evidence that's the case. Meanwhile, for hundreds of years, people learned the workings of the common law without the Socratic method. Or the aid of modern law schools, for that matter....

Kingsfield was right - law students need to be taught to think like a lawyer and no amount of lecturing is going to teach that.

Why not? Says who? I just don't buy it. I learned at least as much from non-Socratic classrooms as from Socratic when I was in law school. I think the Socratic method is 80% fraternity hazing, 10% historical inertia, and 10% conscious choice of teaching methodology.

I hope that adds up to 100. Speaking of which, if the Socratic method is so great, why don't we use it to teach math? Math students need to be taught to think like mathematicians and no amount of lecturing is going to teach that.
12.18.2007 5:41pm
b-rob (mail):
Jason F. at 12:30 had R.H. "The Hammer" Helmholz! A hard man, but not a MEAN man. He just hated b.s., hated unprepared b.s., and REALLY hated know-it-all-but-not-close-to-accurate b.s. In that way, he is JUST LIKE every federal court judge I have ever dealth with.

Which led to the following commentary:

Helmholz: Mr. Heike, can you tell us what blah blah blah means?

Heike: Well, this must be my lucky day!

Helmholz: That remains to be seen.

Entire Class: OHHHH!
12.18.2007 6:28pm
b-rob (mail):
Waldensian, I had an economics professor in college teach using the Socratic method, as well as an engineering professor (granted, it was a Course on Product Liability) and another econ professor who taught Economics and the Law using Socratic method. It is an exceedingly useful method of instruction. Med schools ALL use Socratic method in the training of interns or med students by residents . . . it is "pimping" for some reasons.
12.18.2007 6:31pm
ronnie dobbs (mail):
I never worried too much about the Socratic lawprofs. My goal in law school wasn't to sound smart in class so much as to sound smart on exams. My advice to any law students out there is to practice taking law school exams (you can usually old exams and model answers on file in the law library) a few weeks before the real thing. Once you make law review and get a gazillion on-campus interviews, people will realize that you're actually pretty smart (even if you stumbled through a few Socratic grill sessions during the semester), and the "gunners" who were so obsessed with their in-class performances tend to fall by the wayside.
12.18.2007 6:35pm
Thinker:
Tarheel:


Thinker, how could you possibly have forgotten this gem of a series? Chief Justice Rockford!!



Tarheel - I actually liked First Monday - until the last episode. I'm still awaiting it's iTunes Release. Not to mention Andy Garcia's "Swing Vote" which wasn't awful either. But the real thing that's missing was the Paper Chase PBS series which, for reasons defying logic, hasn't been released on DVD.

- Thinker
12.18.2007 6:55pm
BCL (mail):
There was actually a series called The Paper Chase that ran for a few seasons before it was cancelled. It has a different guy playing Mr. Hart (no Timothy Bottoms), but it did have Houseman as Prof. Kingsfield. As I remember, it was quite good. It followed Hart through the second and third years of law school, Law Review, etc. Sadly, it is not available on DVD and probably never will be.
12.18.2007 7:02pm
JLV:
I was Mr. Hart. The Professor walked into the room, looked on his seating chart, found me, and asked me to recite the facts of Hawkins v. McGee. Fortunately, I had read the case. Apparently, everybody knew what he was doing except for me.
12.18.2007 7:29pm
Waldensian (mail):

Waldensian, I had an economics professor in college teach using the Socratic method, as well as an engineering professor (granted, it was a Course on Product Liability) and another econ professor who taught Economics and the Law using Socratic method. It is an exceedingly useful method of instruction. Med schools ALL use Socratic method in the training of interns or med students by residents . . . it is "pimping" for some reasons.

But is the Socratic method more useful than the alternatives, which generally do not lend themselves to bullying?

And I note that there is no better example of fraternity hazing (outside the Greek system) than the education of medical students. Perhaps the reason they call it "pimping" is because the medical students are being treated like whores.

Again, the Socratic method may be in use in various locations, and some people may like it, but where is the evidence that it actually works better than more genteel alternatives?

We know a surprising amount about educating people, but I've never seen any indication that the Socratic method is superior. And I've looked (and I would absolutely appreciate being pointed to studies, etc.).

Every argument is just dueling anecdotes without any real analysis of whether it works well.

I suspect three things:

1. The method probably is a valuable tool in the educational arsenal, although I suspect it is truly useful only in the hands of very skilled teachers.

2. The method likely is used by large numbers of professors just because they think they should, or because they warm to the ability to belittle people. Again, bullying and degrading behavior isn't necessarily linked to the method, but it is a very common combination, in my experience.

3. Lawyers tend to like the method, and accept its use unquestioningly, but I suspect many of them just want those who follow to be hazed like they were.

I'm not saying people are wrong about the greatness of the Socratic method. I am saying that it strikes me as something that we ought not simply accept without question, largely because there is so much overlap between the Socratic method and the gratuitous belittling of students.
12.18.2007 9:36pm
Jason F:
b-rob, I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Prof. Helmholz. He was very tough on us, but it was with a purpose. The Socratic method -- at least as Prof. Helmholz practiced it -- wasn't about bullying his students. It was about putting us through our paces and pressing us to our limits so that we would emerge better thinkers and better lawyers. And it worked, at least for me. I mean, here we are a decade later and I can still tell you the Rule in Shelley's Case. Clearly I learned something!

It's not for nothing that my law school class gave Professor Helmholz the Best Professor Award (or whatever the heck we called it). He was (and is) a standout on a faculty full of standouts.
12.19.2007 1:13am
theobromophile (www):

I wonder what kind of privileged existence a person lives such that he vomits under questioning from a professor.

I'm not sure I would call my existence "privileged" in the sense you mention; however, I was quite a bit nauseous when I was called on first day, first class, by the dean, who grilled me for an hour and a half. I had done all the reading, thought through it, re-read it, and broke it down into rules from each case. Totally prepared. Nevertheless, when the dean went through a hypo about having his toe stepped on during a cocktail party and said, "Miss [scans list] Phile, if this happened during the time of Weaver v. Ward, would Mr. [classmate's name] be liable? My toe really hurts!" my hands started to shake. I suppose it didn't help either that the follow-up question asked me to recite part of the holding in Latin [casualtier and per infortunium and contra voluntatem suam]; I spent that whole class hoping to not replicate that scene in the Paper Chase, which was all I could think about.

(Shrug.) Put me on a ski slope - no fear. Put me in a debate - no fear. Make me drive cross-country by myself - no fear. Operating table - no fear. Put me on a surfboard in Rincon - no fear. Classroom, first day, no idea what the expectations are - no brain, hands shaking, stuttering, wondering when it's all over.
12.19.2007 1:19am
A.C.:
Something like the Socratic method seems to be normal in any subject that has a performance component in addition to the need to master information. In music or acting classes, you get up and do your piece. Then the teachers (and sometimes the other students) give you feedback and ask you to try it various other ways. This is fun sometimes, but it can also be very stressful. And there is definitely an opportunity for bullying, if the teacher is that kind of person.

I don't know of any other way to teach subjects like that, though. Just learning songs out of books is no guarantee that you can perform them well. So, I guess the question is whether law is the kind of subject that should be taught that way.
12.19.2007 8:52am
hugh:
Hawkins v. McGee…THE PAPER CHASE. I have so many memories about these two names..

1978: years before I even knew that I was going to go to law school, I was at the campus of USC seeing about transferring in as a film student. I stumbled onto the location shoot for season 1 of the tv series, THE PAPER CHASE. They were shooting exterior shots on campus. I was just an 18 year old kid; but the cast allowed me to join them for the studio-catered lunch. John Houseman showed up a little later with the ratings in hand for the first week's episode. I sat down next to him and had a wonderful conversation for about an hour. Several times, law students would approach and ask him to sign one of their case books.

1982: I was a 1L at the Ohio State University College of Law and I eagerly anticipated the class covering Hawkins v. McGee. I was not called on…darnit! Professor Travalio (one of the kindest, gentlest professors one could ever have…the anti-Kingsfield) had us read additional material in the case book which described the efforts made by a Harvard law student to find out what happened to the principals in the case in the fifty years that followed.

1995: I was the Assistant Attorney General (Tax) for the Virgin Islands Department of Justice. I was visiting the office of Marjorie (Jorie) Rawls Roberts, Legal Counsel to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue. We were reminiscing about our law school days and how we both worked on our respective law school newspapers. Jorie went to her book shelf, pulled an old case book off of it, flipped it open to Hawkins v. McGee, and showed me the blurb about that Harvard law students. Turns out, SHE was the law student who did that research! She was thrilled to hear that I remembered reading about her work. She was even more thrilled after I found out that Professor Travalio continues to have his students read this material.
12.19.2007 5:21pm