Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Zombies Defeat Tort Law

It's always a shame to let a Prawfs guest stint go by without working in zombies.  Maybe there's just something in the air.  The Walking Dead is returning to my DVR box (any series which once starred a law professor's kid can't be all bad).  Maybe it's that I'm still hoping a review copy of Zombie in the Federal Courts will arrive.

So next week, my college's campus gets taken over by a game called "Humans v. Zombies."  According to this article in the student newspaper, all campus needs to prepare itself, because hordes of people shooting each other with nerf guns and tagging each other with two hands are about to descend.  What could possibly go wrong?

A bit, learned the plaintiff in Brown v. Ohio State University, 2012 WL 8418566.  

Plaintiff attended Parent's Weekend at Ohio State University's Columbus campus. Why not go on a midnight Ghost Tour?  Unfortunately, President Obama was on campus that week, so his limo needed an escape route, which obviously meant putting a double layer of plywood on sidewalks (somebody should fire someone from the Secret Service or something).  Anyhow, plaintiff tripped on that hazard, broke her arm, and filed suit.

Why didn't she see the plywood so evident on the sidewalk? Because a nearby "game of humans  vs. zombies being played by students ... diverted her attention."  

Zombies 1, Humans 0

Though of course, having been distracted by the zombies, she was able to avoid the application of the "Open and Obvious" doctrine and escape summary judgment -- genuine issues of material fact existed on "whether attendant circumstances overcome application of the open and obvious doctrine".

Posted by Geoffrey Rapp on October 8, 2014 at 07:32 PM in Culture, Games, Odd World, Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Law as Plinko

My last moments in the classroom this past semester were spent engaging in what is likely a familiar exercise for most law professors -- trying to inspire students and leave them with some parting words of wisdom, encouragement, and motivation.  I look forward to these moments, and hope that my last-minute ramblings help bring together the general themes of the course and, more broadly, replenish their passion for the law to the extent that specific and more immediate parts of their experience -- such as Socratic conversations, lengthy readings, and concerns about the final examination -- have them questioning why they are in law school and are incurring debt in the process.  To quote Michael Scott, I might as well tell my students on the last day of classes to "get as much done as you can... because, afterward, I'm going to have you all in tears."

This semester, I discussed what I attempted to accomplish in the course and apologized to the extent that I fell short of their expectations.  I revealed to them what led me to study the law, and why I am continually fulfilled and humbled by my pursuit to understand the law and the law's role in society.  In my constitutional law course, I read to my students Neal Katyal's comments after Hamdan, celebrating the rule of law and how it distinguishes us from other political communities.  I also asked my students whether anyone has seen The Godfather.  Predictably, all hands were raised. When I asked what the first line of the movie is, no hands went up.  The first line is, "I believe in America."  I explained candidly why I believe in America, and it is specifically because of the structure of the Constitution that they just (hopefully) learned about and also because they will be active participants in that structure, seeking to improve the law and society.

I also, in a rather light portion of my semester-ending remarks, share my fun theory of the law -- that the law is like Plinko.  Yes, Plinko. An explanation follows:

Plinko, as shown here, is a game on the long-running CBS game show, "The Price is Right," in which contestants place chips flat at the top of a large vertical board -- once the contestant lets go of the chip, it moves down through a series of pegs and ultimately lands at the bottom, in one of several spaces labeled with different dollar amounts.  The contestant wins the amount of money assigned to the space where the chip lands.  Part of the fun is seeing how the chip winds its way through the pegs and, of course, where the chip's journey comes to an end -- the winnings range from $0 to hundreds and even thousands of dollars. 

It seems to me that the law is similar -- the facts of a case are like the chips, and the pegs are established cases that the facts must work through, and the space is the result that the court eventually hands down (e.g., granting or denying a motion, reversing or affirming a decision).  What, I believe, we do in law school is also related -- we attempt to ensure that students understand the pegs (the applicable precedents), how they have evolved or shifted over time, and the critical facts and context that help explain where the pegs are.  In general, in a Socratic exercise and on the final examination, students entertain a modified or new fact pattern, and analyze how those facts may "fit" in the existing framework.  We give students random fact patterns because it is unlikely that, in practice, they will receive a factual problem that is identical in all respects to an established case.  They must have a substantive foundation -- an understanding of the precedents -- and the skills -- how to research, write, and argue -- in order to properly assess how the new facts may work their way through the relevant cases and to then be able to advocate, on behalf of their client, for how those facts should work their way through the prior cases.  This is why I refer to cases as guideposts -- they literally are the pegs that set the general bounds within which certain issues will be examined and resolved. 

Further, students, equipped with an understanding of the law and the tools to analyze and advocate, can argue for why the guideposts should and must change.  Here is where they can become agents for broad social change -- by removing and reconstructing the guideposts that previously constrained and dictated how certain issues would be reviewed.  Again, in order to do this, students need the substantive foundation in the law and the skills with which to dissect cases and propose new legal principles.  The study of legal doctrine and professional skills may seem tedious, slow, and boring at times, but is critically necessary if students are to one day be effective representatives of their clients' interests and/or instruments of robust changes in the law and society.

This rather informal way of looking at the law as Plinko seems consistent with Holmes's theory of law as prediction.  When a contestant puts that chip down on the board, one does not know where it will land; at best, one can develop some sense as to where it may land given certain data points.  Similarly, armed with a set of facts, an attorney can offer only his or her prediction as to how a certain judge will apply certain guideposts, and what the outcome will be. 

Law as Plinko also may help one appreciate the different aspects of the legal process.  Whereas the top pegs may be akin to standards for the sufficiency of a complaint and jurisdictional issues, later pegs may be akin to guideposts governing whether the facts should survive a motion for summary judgment, and the final pegs akin to the standards on the merits of a legal issue.  This theory also emphasizes framework and process, where students focus on result (e.g., who "won" and who "lost").

It doesn't leave them in tears, but students seem nonetheless to enjoy this admittedly nutty way of viewing the law. 

Posted by Dawinder "Dave" S. Sidhu on May 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM in Games, Legal Theory, Teaching Law, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Copyright and the Romantic Video Game Designer

My friend Dave is a game designer in Seattle. He and his friends at Spry Fox made an unusually cute and clever game called Triple Town. It's in the Bejeweled tradition of "match-three" games: put three of the same kind of thing together and they vanish in a burst of points. The twist is that in Triple Town, matching three pieces of grass creates a bush; matching three bushes creates a tree ... and so on up to floating castles. It adds unusual depth to the gameplay, which requires a combination of intuitive spatial reasoning and long-term strategy. And then there are the bears, the ferocious but adorable bears. It's a good game.

Triple Town / Yeti Town screenshot

Now for the law. Spry Fox is suing a competing game company, 6waves Lolapps, for shamelessly ripping off Triple Town with its own Yeti Town. And it really is a shameless ripoff: even if the screenshots and list of similarities in the complaint aren't convincing, take it from me. I've played them both, and the only difference is that while Triple Town has cute graphics and plays smoothly, Yeti Town has clunky graphics and plays like a wheelbarrow with a dented wheel.

I'd like to come back to the legal merits of the case in a subsequent post. (Or perhaps Bruce Boyden or Greg Lastowka will beat me to it.) For now, I'm going to offer a few thoughts about the policy problems video games raise for intellectual property law. Games have been, if not quite a "negative space" where formal IP protection is unavailable, then perhaps closer to zero than high-IP media like movies and music. They live somewhere ambiguous on the spectrum between "aesthetic" and "functional": we play them for fun, but they're governed by deterministic rules. Copyright claims are sometimes asserted based on the way a game looks and sounds, but only rarely on the way it plays. That leads to two effects, both of which I think are generally good for gamers and gamemakers.

On the one hand, it's well established that literal copying of a game's program is copyright infringement. This protects the market for making and selling games against blatant piracy. Without that, we likely wouldn't have "AAA" titles (like the Grand Theft Auto series), which have Hollywood-scale budgets and sales that put Hollywood to shame. Video games have become a major medium of expression, and it would be hard to say we should subsidize sculpture and music with copyright, but not video games. Spry Fox would have much bigger problems with no copyright at all.

On the other hand, the weak or nonexistent protection for gameplay mechanics means that innovations in gameplay filter through the industry remarkably quickly. Even as the big developers of AAA titles are (mostly) focusing on delivering more of the same with a high level of polish, there's a remarkable, freewheeling indie gaming scene of stunning creativity. (For some random glimpses into it, see, e.g. Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Auntie Pixelante, and the Independent Games Festival.) If someone has a clever new idea for a way to do something cute with jumping, for example, it's a good bet that other designers will quickly find a way to do something, yes, transformative, with the new jumping mechanic. Spry Fox benefited immeasurably from a decade's worth of previous experiments in match-three games.

The hard part is the ground in between, and here be knockoffs. Without a good way to measure nonliteral similarities between games, the industry has developed a dysfunctional culture of copycattery. Zynga (the creator of Farmville and Mafia Wars) isn't just known for its exploitative treatment of players or its exploitative treatment of employees, but also for its imitation-based business model. Game developers who sell through Apple's iOS App Store are regularly subjected to the attack of the clones. In Spry Fox's case, at least, it's easy to tell the classic copyright story. 6waves is reaping where it has not sown, and if Triple Town flops on the iPhone because Yeti Town eats its lunch, at some point Dave and his colleagues won't be able to afford to spend their time writing games any more.

This is something I've been thinking about the copyright tradeoff recently. One way of describing copyright's utilitarian function is that it provides "incentives to produce creative works." That summons up an image of crassly commercial authors who scribble for a paycheck. In contrast, we sometimes expect that self-motivated authors, who write for the pure fun of it, will thrive best if copyright takes its boot off their necks. But a better picture, I think, is that there are plenty of authors who are motivated both by their desire to be creative and also by their desire not to be homeless. The extrinsic motivations of a copyright-supported business model provide an "incentive," to be sure, but that incentive takes the form of allowing them to indulge their intrinsic motivations to be creative. In broad outline, at least, that's how we got Triple Town.

I'm not sure where the right place to draw the lines for copyright in video games is. I'm not sure that redrawing the lines wouldn't make things worse for the Daves of the world: giving them more greater rights against the 6waves might leave them open to lawsuits from the Zyngas. But I think Triple Town's story captures, in miniature, some of the complexities of modern copyright policy.

Posted by James Grimmelmann on February 2, 2012 at 04:10 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (8)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Puzzles for Lawyers

Every year, for what I at least consider a fun time, I go to MIT for the annual Mystery Hunt, a 48-hour team puzzle competition. There are crosswords, logic puzzles, puns and wordplay, and much, much more. I'd like to explain why a fair number of lawyers (there are four on my team alone) find this stuff fun; as examples, I'll use a pair of puzzles that connect back to the law.

This year, I was part of the group writing the Hunt, so I wanted to sneak in a bit of legal silliness. "Tax ... in ... Space" was the result. It's the puzzle equivalent of a shaggy dog joke: a parody of a tax form with absurdly complicated instructions. The tax "law" is completely made up, of course, but I added a bunch of in-jokes for people who've had at least a basic course in tax. Here's a sample:

(f) The illudium phosdex exploration quasi-credit shall be equal to the sum of wages and tips, Capital Gains, lower-case gains, and income from the sale of bitcoins, less the amount of remote backup withholding, if any, except that if the illudium phosdex exploration quasi-credit so computed exceeds 200,000, the illudium phosdex exploration quasi-credit shall instead be equal to half of twice the Robocop statue construction checkoff.

Last year's Hunt also had a very nice (and quite funny) puzzle called "Unnatural Law." It took the form of a narrative by "HistoryBot-2225121561375435" of how sentient robots overthrew and oppressed humanity. Each paragraph described some awful thing the robots did to their human underlings, e.g.:

The robot overlords greatly disliked allowing their human prisoners to be released while awaiting judgement. Not wanting to destroy all hope immediately--for where was the fun in destroying a human's spirit too quickly?--they instead computed the maximum amount of money a human could obtain and set the release fee at twice that amount. This had the unfortunate effect of increasing the number of humans incarcerated. Initially, the robots addressed this by packing humans five hundred to a cell, but that was insufficient. Next, the robots halved the size of human containment pens, keeping the number of humans in each pen the same. They found that doing this doubled the stress level in the containment pen, which the overlords considered a pleasant side effect.

I'll explain how this particular puzzle worked after the jump, so that anyone who wants to try their hand at it without hints isn't spoiled.

The first "aha" in solving the puzzle was to notice that in each paragraph, the robots violated a Constitutonal amendment. In the paragraph above, for example, the robots are running roughshod over the Eighth Amendment by requiring excessive bail (twice the "maximum amount of money a human could obtain"). It turns out that each paragraph refers to a different amendment.

The second "aha" was to notice that each paragraph also refers to a scientific "law." In the one above, the robots discover that keeping a fixed number of humans in a pen of half the size results in double the stress. That's just a disguised version of Boyle's Law: halving the volume in which a fixed amount of a gas is contained doubles the pressure. Again, each paragraph refers to a distinct scientific law or theorem.

Now for the WTF step, the one that doesn't start to seem natural until you've been solving Mystery Hunt-style puzzles for a while. The amendments have unique numbers but not names, wich suggests that they might represent some kind of order. The scientific laws have names but numbers, which suggests that they might be a source of text. And HistoryBot's name is a random-looking collection of digits, which suggests that it could be a bunch of indices into some other text: that is, instructions telling you to take the 2nd letter of the first phrase, then the 2nd letter of the second phrase, and so on until the 5th letter of the last phrase. Putting it all together, then, you have a bunch of phrases (the scientific laws' names), an order for those phrases (by amendment number), and a specific letter to pull out from each (the digits in HistoryBot's name).

Getting to this point in an actual Hunt might take a group of focused solvers an hour or two. Some of that time would be spent staring at the puzzle waiting for the first aha, and probably somewhat more staring at it waiting for the second one. Then some laughs as the first, more recognizable identifications give way, followed by some head-scratching and occasional minor flashes of insight as the rest gradually make sense. And then, as the final answer emerges, a feeling of real satisfaction. It's a great experience, one that draws on some the mental habits that bring some people to law school, but is also an enjoyable change of pace from it. In other words, yes, this is an event for those crazy people whose favorite part of the LSAT was the logic games.

Posted by James Grimmelmann on February 1, 2012 at 12:37 AM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Coming soon to a theatre near you ...

"Moneyball" the movie. The moneyball concept gets a lot of play in the realm of academic hiring and performance analysis. Of course, that get's no play in this movie - but if Brad Pitt plays moneyball general manager Billy Beane, then who is Billy Beane in law and what actor plays him in Moneylaw the  movie?


Posted by Jeff Yates on June 16, 2011 at 09:27 PM in Books, Culture, Film, Games, Life of Law Schools, Science, Sports | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Is deliberation overrated?

I'm not saying that deliberation is necessarily overrated, but I'm starting to wonder about its relative value. In recent years I've read a number of books and articles on the decision making processes of groups such as James Surowieki's The Wisdom of Crowds (2005) and Cass Sunstein's Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge (2008), and found them to be very interesting and insightful. Both of these books at least suggest the possibility that group decision making may not always be better with group deliberation.

Of course, to suggest that something is 'overrated' typically implies that it is somewhat highly rated in the first place. When I look around, I see deliberation everywhere - government decisions, academic committee decsisions, tenure decisions, where to eat lunch, jury outcomes, Supreme Court outcomes (ok, only to a degree on that one). I think it's fair to say that deliberation is cherished in this country. But is it all that it's cracked up to be? What are its attributes? How do we evaluate its worth (relative to other systems)?

For a bit of class fun last semester, I tried a class exercise that was suggested by one of my readings on this subject.

I divided the class into three groups of equal size: 1) The deliberation group, 2) The secret vote group, and 3) the list vote group. I then held up for the class to see (all had roughly equal views) a glass container of paper clips. They were able to view the container for 30 seconds. I then asked the groups to decide how many paper clips were in the container. The secret ballot group was to do just that - each person would make a guess, write it down in private and their estimates would be averaged. The list  group would use a list - the first person to decide would write their estimate on the top of the list and then the estimates would go from there (everyone could see the prior estimates)- and they were averaged. The deliberation group deliberated on the best estimate and used a consensus decision rule on the number of paper clips.

The results? The best estimate was by the secret vote group, followed by the list group, and the worst estimate (by far) was by the deliberation group. Of course, this little exercise is hardly ready for scientific peer review and was done primarily for fun and to introduce the class to varying decision methods. However, given the prevalence of deliberation in our society, might it give us pause to think about whether it's 'overrated'? I'm not sure. Certainly there are other considerations at issue (e.g. how the process makes participants feel). But I thought I'd see what Prawfs readers thought.

Posted by Jeff Yates on June 7, 2011 at 11:58 AM in Criminal Law, Deliberation and voices, Games, Judicial Process, Law and Politics, Legal Theory, Life of Law Schools, Science, Teaching Law | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Prawfs Lawfs!


It's time for more Prawfs Lawfs riddles!

Why wouldn't the dean let the rookie professor teach Oil & Gas Law?


Why did students find the tax professor's lectures disgusting?


What did the professor of commercial law say when the student asked him whether his class on Article 4 would be worthwhile?


Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 27, 2011 at 10:01 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's Time for Prawfs Lawfs!


It's Prawfs Lawfs! Get ready for hilarious riddles!

Why did the Trusts & Estates professor quit?


Why was the Pretrial Advocacy professor fired?


What advice was the French law professor given when he started his job at an American law school?


Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 18, 2011 at 09:18 AM in Games | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, August 29, 2010

PrawfsPuzzler: Law Prawfs Crawsword!

Prawfs_puzzler_logoThe first-ever Prawfs crossword puzzle! (Or should we say "crawsword" puzzle?)

There's only one special thing to note: In keeping with the hide-the-ball and antique-language traditions of law school, no warning is given in the clue when Latin is required.



1. Hypothetical estate

7. For a soft-spoken prof.

8. A grade awarded at some universities for academic dishonesty or lack of attendance

9. Our subject

10. Art. 4 governs bank deposits.

12. HMO protector from 1974

13. Holmes explained that early legal systems emphasized vengance. An example was the stoning or surrendering of this animal when one did harm.

14. Your laptop-toting student may not have brought one.

16. Burma, Liberia, and the U.S.A. are the holdouts.

17. The first American law school, established 1773, in Connecticut

21. Said of a mind

22. You may be asked for one from a student wanting a fed. clerkship.

23. An association of members, a place where people drink, or something you could be bludgeoned with, but it's not "club."

24. 18 U.S.C. purveyor

26. May inhabit a utility easement in a condominium tower

27. A guardian __ litem is court-appointed to look after the legal interests of another.

28. Found in bankruptcy captions

30. Applicable to about half of American law schools, it's longer now, thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005.

31. Change


1. Key no. in DUI cases

2. Wielded in the assault case in 26 down

3. E.g., apples, oranges

4. Allow students to weigh in without a hand up

5. The thing

6. Is this going to be on the ______?

7. Traditional color of law for regalia

11. There wasn't one in Dougherty v. Salt.

12. Impeachment data on a JPEG

13. An act and an agency, under DOL, that can literally make you CYA.

15. If you've read one trade secret case, it's probably ___ duPont deNemours & Co., Inc. v. Christopher.

18. This means the S.Ct. will hear you. But I'd check your breath anyway.

19. It's what you're supposed to do to think like a lawyer.

20. Home to six law schools that are surrounded by, but not in, the 4th Cir.

23. This kind of nipping didn't justify vague vagrancy ordinances in Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville.

24. ADR practitioners

25. The ABA-approved law school closest to Canada, which is about 750 yards due south.

26. I __ S et Ux. v. W __ S

29. This Meese headed a 1980s report recommending stricter obscenity laws.

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on August 29, 2010 at 03:03 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, July 31, 2010

PrawfsPuzzler: Law Trivia Sudoku!

Prawfs_puzzler_logoAnd now, the first prawfs-themed sudoku!

Here's the deal, this sudoku puzzle is quite hard ... unless you correctly answer the questions below about the law. Answers fill in blanks, helping you solve the sudoku. If you get all the answers, solving the rest of the puzzle should be no problem. Hey, you didn't go to law school because you were good at math!

This works just like a regular sudoku, except that instead of using the digits 1 through 9, as most sudokus do, in this puzzle we'll do it computer-programmer style and start with 0, going up through 8.

Instructions: Fill the blank spots in the grid so that each column, row, and bolded square contains one and only one of the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.



          A    The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was enacted in 19__.

          B    This rule allows the exclusion of relevant evidence on the basis of unfair prejudice.

          C    This is the most recent amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

          D    This section of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 allows recovery of short-swing profits by officers and directors.

          E    This rule allows motions on the basis of the pleadings.

          F    This title of the U.S. Code concerns patents.

          G    This title of the U.S. Code deals with the judiciary.

          H    The Voting Rights Act of 19__ prohibited the administration of literacy tests.

          I    This rule permits testimony by experts if scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact.

          J    This chapter of the Bankruptcy Code allows individuals to save their homes from foreclosure.

          K    This title of the U.S. Code sets forth crimes and criminal procedure.

          L    The Copyright  Act of 19__ forms the basic statutory framework for current copyright law.



          M    This rule defines relevant evidence.

          N    This rule permits summary judgment.



          O    This title of the U.S. Code concerns immigration, aliens, and nationality.

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on July 31, 2010 at 09:51 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Monday, July 26, 2010

More Flip-Flop Puzzles - For Fun and a Fabulous Prize!

Pbw contest banner 10

Prawfs_puzzler_logoHere it is! Another set of prawf-themed flip-flop puzzles! (Previous installment here.)

[UPDATE: We have a winner!]

And this time, I'm giving away a prize! The first law professor to e-mail me with the correct answer to each of the three flip-flop puzzles below will receive a box of CHIPPERS - chocolate-covered potato chips made right here in North Dakota at George Widman's candy shop in downtown Grand Forks!!! 

Open to all U.S. resident full- or part-time law professors who are willing to have their name and school announced here on PrawfsBlawg. (Puerto Rico welcome. Void where prohibited. Contest ends when a winner is declared, July 31, 2010, or whenever I stop feeling like giving away candy, whichever occurs first. For a full list of rules, draft something, and I'll take a look at it. N.B.: Hand delivered entries will be composted for next year's sugar beet crop.)

In case I don't get a winner right away, I will provide new clues each day by revising this post, around midday. If you want to see the answers, come back after I get a winner.

Instructions: Using the clues provided, complete the blanks below to create a chain of words, where the next word in the series is formed by adding, deleting, or changing a single letter from the word before. So, for the clue "a musical floor swab," the answer could be "HIP HOP MOP." For "despise discussion of headwear," the answer could be "HATE HAT CHAT."

a testamentary instrument expiring upon the testator's attainment of substantial stature:

     _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _

     [get answer]

a contest over illuminated billboards under the First Amendment:

     _ _ _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _ _

     [get answer]

what a patent attorney must do for an inventor of a rotating machine part for harvesting bivalves:

     _ _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _
     _ _ _
[get answer]

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on July 26, 2010 at 07:11 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, June 21, 2010

PrawfsPuzzler: Flip-Flop Puzzles

Prawfs_puzzler_logoUsing the clues provided, complete the blanks below to create a chain of words, where the next word in the series is formed by adding, deleting, or changing a single letter from the word before. So, for the clue "a musical floor swab," the answer could be "HIP HOP MOP." For "despise discussion of headwear," the answer could be "HATE HAT CHAT." Got it? Now try these prawf-themed flip-flop puzzles:

an A+ in the spring semester for a 3L:

     _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _ _

     [get answer]

citing to an overruled case in the footnotes:

     _ _ _
     _ _ _
     _ _ _ _

     [get answer]

coastal real estate in fee simple with no easements or covenants, in the eyes of a grumpy property prawf:

     _ _ _ _ _
     _ _ _ _
     _ _ _
     _ _ _ _

     [get answer]

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on June 21, 2010 at 05:13 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge: Island Law Schools

PrawfsBlawg Trivia Challenge logo

Here's another geography-based question for you.

The Question:

Which ABA-accredited law schools are on islands?

The Answer:

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on November 1, 2009 at 12:52 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge: The Smallest Law School

The Question:

Which ABA-accredited law school is the smallest in terms of student population?

The Answer:

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on October 24, 2009 at 06:31 AM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge - Next-to-Last State Without an ABA-Approved Law School

PrawfsBlawg Trivia Challenge logo

A while ago, I asked what state was the only one without a law school. One commenter panned me for coming up with questions that were too easy. Okay, this one should at least be harder than that. But maybe not much ...

The Question:

Of the 49 states with ABA-accredited law schools, which was the last state to get one? In other words, what was the next-to-last state without an ABA-accredited law school? And in what year was its first (and as yet only) law school approved by the ABA?

The Answer:

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on October 17, 2009 at 06:54 AM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge - Name this Law School


The Question:


The first law school in its state, this school’s sun-drenched Mediterranean Revival campus began life as the Hotel Rolyat in 1926. It is now the gorgeous setting for this powerhouse in trial advocacy, whose mock trial teams have won the American Association for Justice National Championship four times. Other areas of special expertise at this school are education law, elder law, and legal writing. What is this law school?


The Answer:


Posted by Eric E. Johnson on October 10, 2009 at 07:21 AM in Games, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge: Latitude and Longitude Extremes

PrawfsBlawg Trivia Challenge logo with compass

The Question:

Which ABA-accredited law schools are at compass extremes? That is, which law school is the most southern, western, eastern, and northern?

Here is one hint that may help you:

And another hint:

The answers:

The northernmost: 

The southernmost:

The easternmost:

The westernmost:

Also interesting:

(In figuring this out, I am indebted to Julie Jones, librarian and prawf at the University of Connecticut School of Law, who inputted the location of each school to create a map of all ABA-accredited law schools. Super cool! Thanks!)

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on October 3, 2009 at 09:01 AM in Games, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge: The Only State Without a Law School

Prawfs Trivia ChallengeWhich is the only American state without an ABA-accredited law school?

Answer below the fold ...


Here's a bonus question: Which law school publishes the Alaska Law Review, a publication sanctioned by the Alaska Bar Association?

The answer is here.

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 19, 2009 at 11:41 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekend Trivia Challenge: First Regular Professorship of Law for Non-Undergrads

Prawfs Trivia ChallengeWhich U.S. school established the first regular professorship of law for students other than undergraduates?

Answer below the fold ...

The University of Transylvania in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1798.

Today, Transylvania University is a liberal-arts college, with no law-school program. However, in 1865, Transylvania developed a publicly funded land-grant school which was eventually spun off as a separate institution. That spin off is the University of Kentucky, which does, of course, have a law school.

UK's College of Law was founded in 1908, its heritage tracing back to Transylvania's 18th century professorship.

Source: Ralph Michael Stein, The Path of Legal Education from Edward I to Langdell: A History of Insular Reaction, 57 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 429, 441 (1981). A Chronology of UK About UK Law

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 5, 2009 at 12:28 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend Trivia Challenge – The Biggest Law School

Prawfs Trivia ChallengeWhich law school has the largest total enrollment of J.D. students, including both part-time and full-time?

Cooley_logoThomas M. Cooley Law School
in Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Auburn Hills, Michigan

Other law schools aren’t even close. In 2006, Cooley had 3,252 J.D. students.1 That was the most recent number I could find. According to Cooley’s current statistics, they have 3,723 total students enrolled, which includes LL.M. students in the Intellectual Property and Taxation programs.2

The list of the top 10 schools in total J.D. enrollment, as of 2006, can be found here.

Bonus question: What school has the most full-time J.D. students (per U.S. News and World Report)?

Highlight this paragraph to see the hidden white text for the answer3: Harvard Law School


Posted by Eric E. Johnson on May 26, 2008 at 02:35 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Weekend Trivia Challenge - Name this Law School

Prawfs_trivia_challenge_3Can you name this law school?

Founded in 1834, it is the oldest law school in its state, and one of the oldest in the nation. Originally a private school, in 2000, it merged with a flagship public university. A bitter battle followed over whether the school should remain in its original locale or relocate to its new university's main campus.

In the end, both sides won. The law school retained its old home while building new facilities 80 miles away at the university's main campus. The bifurcated structure is, according the the school, "two completely unified, interconnected campuses".* The two-campus structure does, however, have its skeptics and critics.

First-year students select one campus, and all required courses are available there. In the 2L and 3L years, students can switch campuses to take advantage of unique programs or classes available only at the other campus. Upper-level students can also take classes from the remote location through a "highly sophisticated, suitable and advanced audiovisual telecommunications system."**

If you need a another hint, highlight this paragraph to see the hidden white text: Included among this law school's alumni is the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

So, what law school is this?

Penn_state_dickinson_logoThe answer:

The Penn State Dickinson School of Law

The school's original home is in Carlisle, Pa., next to Dickinson College, a liberal-arts institution with which it was once affiliated.

The new location is in University Park, Pa., on the main Penn State campus. The new University Park building, under construction, looks something like a Rubik's Snake. It's quite an impressive structure. If you want to see it, you can watch this 3-D animation video. (WARNING: Contains extremely inspiring music.)

* See
** See

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on May 10, 2008 at 09:12 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Weekend Trivia Challenge - The Nation's Oldest Law Review

Prawfs_trivia_challenge_3Which law review is the oldest?

Answer below the fold ...

The University of Pennsylvania Law Review

According to its website, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review is the nation’s oldest, founded in 1852. It was originally published as the American Law Register.

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 27, 2008 at 10:22 PM in Games, Life of Law Schools | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend Trivia Challenge - Top Cited Law Review Article of All Time

Prawfs_trivia_challenge_3According to a 1996 study by Fred R. Shapiro published in the Chicago-Kent Law Review, which law review article is the most cited of all time in other law review articles?

Answer below the fold ...

"The Problem of Social Cost" by Ronald H. Coase

The Journal of Law & Economics, vol. 3, p. 1 (1960)

Not a big surprise, huh? Below is a list of the top 50. See Fred R. Shapiro, The Most-Cited Law Review Articles Revisited, 71 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 751 (1996). The full list of the top 100 is in Shapiro's article.

By the way, Shapiro's article itself has done quite well, garnering 127 cites as of today. For comparison, the lowest ranked article to make Shapiro's top 100 had 204 cites.






Ronald H. Coase, The Problem of Social Cost, 3 J.L. & Econ. 1 (1960).



Herbert Wechsler, Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law, 73 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1959).



Gerald Gunther, The Supreme Court, 1971 Term--Foreword: In Search of Evolving Doctrine on a Changing Court: A Model for a Newer Equal Protection, 86 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1972).



Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. 733 (1964).



Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Path of the Law, 10 Harv. L. Rev. 457 (1897).



Abram Chayes, The Role of the Judge in Public Law Litigation, 89 Harv. L. Rev. 1281 (1976).



Robert H. Bork, Neutral Principles and Some First Amendment Problems, 47 Ind. L.J. 1 (1971).



Richard B. Stewart, The Reformation of American Administrative Law, 88 Harv. L. Rev. 1667 (1975).



Samuel D. Warren & Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890).



Duncan Kennedy, Form and Substance in Private Law Adjudication, 89 Harv. L. Rev. 1685 (1976).



Guido Calabresi & A. Douglas Melamed, Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Inalienability: One View of the Cathedral, 85 Harv. L. Rev. 1089 (1972).



Frank I. Michelman, Property, Utility, and Fairness: Comments on the Ethical Foundations of ‘Just Compensation’ Law, 80 Harv. L. Rev. 1165 (1967).



Marc Galanter, Why the ‘Haves' Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change, 9 Law & Soc'y Rev. 95 (1974).



Joseph Tussman & Jacobus tenBroek, The Equal Protection of the Laws, 37 Cal. L. Rev. 341 (1949).



Stewart Macaulay, Non-Contractual Relations in Business: A Preliminary Study, 28 Am. Soc. Rev. 55 (1963).



John Hart Ely, The Wages of Crying Wolf: A Comment on Roe v. Wade, 82 Yale L.J. 920 (1973).



William W. Van Alstyne, The Demise of the Right-Privilege Distinction in Constitutional Law, 81 Harv. L. Rev. 1439 (1968).



Owen M. Fiss, The Supreme Court, 1978 Term--Foreword: The Forms of Justice, 93 Harv. L. Rev. 1 (1979).



Henry G. Manne, Mergers and the Market for Corporate Control, 73 J. Pol. Econ. 110 (1965).



Frank I. Michelman, The Supreme Court, 1968 Term--Foreword: On Protecting the Poor Through the Fourteenth Amendment, 83 Harv. L. Rev. 7 (1969).



William L. Prosser, The Assault Upon the Citadel (Strict Liability to the Consumer), 69 Yale L.J. 1099 (1960).



Anthony G. Amsterdam, Perspectives on the Fourth Amendment, 58 Minn. L. Rev. 349 (1974).



Robert H. Mnookin & Lewis Kornhauser, Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: The Case of Divorce, 88 Yale L.J. 950 (1979).



Frank H. Easterbrook & Daniel R. Fischel, The Proper Role of a Target's Management in Responding to a Tender Offer, 94 Harv. L. Rev. 1161 (1981).



Henry M. Hart, Jr., The Supreme Court, 1958 Term--Foreword: The Time Chart of the Justices, 73 Harv. L. Rev. 84 (1959).



William J. Brennan, Jr., State Constitutions and the Protection of Individual Rights, 90 Harv. L. Rev. 489 (1977).



Henry M. Hart, Jr., The Power of Congress to Limit the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts: An Exercise in Dialectic, 66 Harv. L. Rev. 1362 (1953).



H.L.A. Hart, Positivism and the Separation of Law and Morals, 71 Harv. L. Rev. 593 (1958).



Laurence H. Tribe, Trial by Mathematics: Precision and Ritual in the Legal Process, 84 Harv. L. Rev. 1329 (1971).



Paul Brest, The Misconceived Quest for the Original Understanding, 60 B.U. L. Rev. 204 (1980).



John Hart Ely, Legislative and Administrative Motivation in Constitutional Law, 79 Yale L.J. 1205 (1970).



Roberto Mangabeira Unger, The Critical Legal Studies Movement, 96 Harv. L. Rev. 561 (1983).



Thomas I. Emerson, Toward a General Theory of the First Amendment, 72 Yale L.J. 877 (1963).



Alexander Meiklejohn, The First Amendment is an Absolute, 1961 Sup. Ct. Rev. 245.



Bruce J. Ennis & Thomas R. Litwack, Psychiatry and the Presumption of Expertise: Flipping Coins in the Courtroom, 62 Cal. L. Rev. 693 (1974).



Lon L. Fuller, Positivism and Fidelity to Law--A Reply to Professor Hart, 71 Harv. L. Rev. 630 (1958).



Henry M. Hart, Jr., The Relations Between State and Federal Law, 54 Colum. L. Rev. 489 (1954).



Cass R. Sunstein, Interest Groups in American Public Law, 38 Stan. L. Rev. 29 (1985).



Richard A. Posner, A Theory of Negligence, 1 J. Legal Stud. 29 (1972).



Joseph L. Sax, Takings and the Police Power, 74 Yale L.J. 36 (1964).



Robert M. Cover, The Supreme Court, 1982 Term, Foreword: Nomos and Narrative, 97 Harv. L. Rev. 4 (1983).



Duncan Kennedy, The Structure of Blackstone's Commentaries, 28 Buff. L. Rev. 205 (1979).



Lon L. Fuller & William R. Perdue, Jr., The Reliance Interest in Contract Damages (pts. 1 & 2), 46 Yale L.J. 52, 373 (1936-37).



Friedrich Kessler, Contracts of Adhesion--Some Thoughts About Freedom of Contract, 43 Colum. L. Rev. 629 (1943).



Harry Kalven, Jr., The New York Times Case: A Note on ‘The Central Meaning of the First Amendment,’ 1964 Sup. Ct. Rev. 191.



Lon L. Fuller, The Forms and Limits of Adjudication, 92 Harv. L. Rev. 353 (1978).



Thomas C. Grey, Do We Have an Unwritten Constitution?, 27 Stan. L. Rev. 703 (1975).



Frank I. Michelman, The Supreme Court, 1985 Term--Foreword: Traces of Self-Government, 100 Harv. L. Rev. 4 (1986).



Richard A. Epstein, A Theory of Strict Liability, 2 J. Legal Stud. 151 (1973).



William L. Cary, Federalism and Corporate Law: Reflection Upon Delaware, 83 Yale L.J. 663 (1974).

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 20, 2008 at 09:29 AM in Games | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Weekend Trivia Challenge - Highest ranked non-U.S. journal

Prawfs_trivia_challengeAccording to the latest Washington & Lee University rankings of law reviews (2007, combined score), which non-U.S. journal is the highest ranked, and what country is it from?

To give you a fighting chance, we'll do it multiple choice style.

  • European Journal of International Law, from the U.K.
  • Cork Online Law Review, from Ireland
  • Theoretical Inquiries in Law, from Israel
  • Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, from the U.K.
  • International Review of Law and Economics, from the Netherlands
  • The Journal of International Coastal and Maritime Law, from Switzerland
  • The Cambridge Law Journal, from the U.K.
  • His Royal Highness's Journal of International Casino Law, from Monaco
  • McGill Law Journal, from Canada
  • Zambia Law Journal, from Zambia

And this bonus question: Which of the above the above journals do not exist?

Answers below the fold ...

Which journal is the highest ranked?

Theoretical Inquiries in Law, from Israel

It is tied at no. 168 with the Michigan State Law Review; the Stanford Journal of Law, Business & Finance; and Tax Law Review.

The next highest-ranked non-U.S. journals are: the European Journal of International Law, from the U.K., at 187th; the International Journal of Constitutional Law, from the U.K., at 208th; the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, from the U.K., at 268th; and the Journal of International Criminal Justice, from the U.K., at 273rd.

Bonus: Which journals don't exist?

Only these two:

The Journal of International Coastal and Maritime Law, from Switzerland

His Royal Highness's Journal of International Casino Law, from Monaco


Washington & Lee Law School, Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking, 2007 ranking of journals by combined score.

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 13, 2008 at 03:17 PM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Weekend Trivia Challenge - Can you name this law professor?

Prawfs_trivia_challengeCan you name this law professor?

Her scholarly focus has been on juvenile rights, and she has been called one of the most important scholar-activists of recent decades. In a leading article, she argued that discrimination against juveniles requires justification. In making her argument, she compared children to slaves, wives, and Native Americans, as classes of people who have been historically treated as dependents, not legally competent to speak for themselves.

In a second leading article, she extended her argument, contending that because children reach maturity on a gradual basis, courts should not make the same presumption of incompetence for newborns as they do for 17-year-olds. Instead, she urged, children should be presumed competent by the courts, and evidence of legal incompetence should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

In the Yale Law Journal, she wrote: “By and large, the legal profession considers children – when it considers them at all – as objects of domestic relations and inheritance laws or as victims of the cycle of neglect, abuse, and delinquency. Yet the law’s treatment of children is undergoing great challenge and change. Presumptions about children's capacities are being rebutted; the legal rights of children are being expanded. As the structure of family life and the role of children within it evolves, the law is likely to become ever more embroiled in social and psychological disputes about the proper relationship between government and family. The task for lawmakers will be to draw the line between public and private responsibility for children.”

At one point, her husband gained some national media attention in 1987 when there was speculation he might run for president, though he did not enter the race.

Who is she?

The answer is below the fold ...


Hillary Rodham Clinton

She was a law professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville from 1974 to 1976


Gary Willis, H.R. Clinton's Case, The New York Review of Books, vol. 39, no. 5 (March 5, 1992).

Hillary Rodham, Children's Policies: Abandonment and Neglect, Yale Law Journal vol. 86, p. 1522 (June 1977)

Tamar Lewin, THE 1992 CAMPAIGN: Issues: Women and Families; Legal Scholars See Distortion In Attacks on Hillary Clinton, The New York Times, August 24, 1992

Bob Secter and Dawn Turner Trice, Clinton: Most famous. Least known?, Chicago Tribune, November 27, 2007

Wikipedia, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Wikipedia, Bill Clinton

Posted by Eric E. Johnson on April 6, 2008 at 10:21 AM in Games | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack