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Friday, August 19, 2016

On reaching "adulthood" in law teaching

Our new first-years are being "oriented" today, and it hit me that this is the 18th time that's happened since I started law teaching.  So, I guess that means I get to vote, or get drafted, or rent a car (but not drink) in law-teaching land.  (It also hit me that I've been teaching longer than some of the new undergraduates who are moving in this weekend have been alive, but that's too much to take in . . ..)  I'm not sure what this milestone means with respect to, for example, the conversation about what students should call professors (I'm pulling for "eminencia"!) -- but I'm pretty sure it means that all "Seinfeld" references (and, who are we kidding?, "Sopranos" references too) have to be shelved.

Have a great semester, everyone!

Posted by Rick Garnett on August 19, 2016 at 10:08 AM in Rick Garnett | Permalink


When I teach Employment Law, I have references to the "Seinfeld" episode in which George tries to scam unemployment insurance that I am never, ever, giving up even if I'm the only person in the classroom who has seen the episode or heard of the show.

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Aug 23, 2016 2:40:30 PM

Very accurate on the cultural references. The first few years it was bingo on pop culture. I could make a point about something using a cultural focal point and everyone knew and understood. But as time went on...I noticed at around 5 years of teaching the "bang" from references to songs, shows, etc was not as widespread and by year 10 I found very little "response"and I realized the age gap was happening.

Posted by: Agreed | Aug 22, 2016 12:28:45 AM

Seinfeld references no longer work for me, sadly. I have (... had) a great lecture comparing Fed R. Civ. P. 18 liberal joinder rules to the Festivus airing of the grievances. Last year, only one person got it.

Posted by: Lou Mulligan | Aug 21, 2016 9:05:00 PM

Are you kidding? I sang the Laverne and Shirley theme song in class last year and everyone knew what it was. Just because they are young doesn't mean they don't know classic pop culture references.

Posted by: Mary Pareja | Aug 19, 2016 7:02:02 PM

I don't think you can rent a car until you turn 21. By the way, they give discounts on car rentals to the Dean; totally worth it.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Aug 19, 2016 2:02:48 PM

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