Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Law in a Sentence or Two.

Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf creatively has attempted to summarize the first year law school curriculum into a few paragraphs. It's called, The Five-Minute Law School: Everything You Learn In Your First Year, More or Less.

Taking this reductionist approach to the practice, it reminds me of one of my trial mentors. He was a brilliant, theatrical and persuasive trial attorney.

He knew no law, however. This did not impede his nearly unbroken string of trial successes. To him, there were only about two (2) overarching questions to answer for the jury.

One, what's fair? The jury will be looking for this result, regardless of what the picayune jury instructions purport to say in nearly impenetrable legalese. Two, who's telling the truth? If he could show that the other side or its witnesses were trying to pull the wool over their eyes or mislead them even in small matters, he would argue the jury couldn't trust them for the large ones. This was all the law he needed to know.