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Law School for Everyone

Law School for Everyone

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Law School for Everyone

Course No. 2012
Taught By Multiple Professors
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4.7 out of 5
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86% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 2012
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  • Audio or Video?
  • You should buy audio if you would enjoy the convenience of experiencing this course while driving, exercising, etc. While the video does contain visual elements, the professor presents the material in an engaging and clear manner, so the visuals are not necessary to understand the concepts. Additionally, the audio audience may refer to the accompanying course guidebook for diagrams, illustrations, and examples that are cited throughout the course.
  • You should buy video if you prefer learning visually and wish to take advantage of the visual elements featured in this course. While the video version can be considered lightly illustrated, there are photos, graphics, text on screen, and more, which may help reinforce material for visual learners.
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What Will You Learn?

  • Learn how lawyers craft palpable opening and closing statements that grab-and keep-a jury's attention.
  • Examine the two key legal issues at the heart of the Supreme Court's still-controversial Miranda decision.
  • Explore the two different types of legal jurisdiction: subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction.
  • Make clearer sense of how the U.S. appellate process works.
  • Learn how American society has defined different types of crimes both in the past and today.

Course Overview

To many people, the law is both powerful and mysterious. We depend on lawyers to help us navigate rules, standards, and procedural codes that have been around for hundreds of years. Because we depend on their specialized skills in argumentation, logic, and critical thinking, we may wonder how they come to know so much about the inner workings of the law.

The answer: law school. The refined skills lawyers wield every day in courtrooms across the country are the result of years of study. As much as we’d like to cultivate these very same skills, the truth is that you cannot know how a lawyer thinks and works without studying the law itself.

Even if you have no intention of joining the legal profession, learning how American law works, and how lawyers and judges operate within that law, is a critical part of any well-rounded citizen’s understanding of one of the central foundations of the American experiment.

Two things, however, keep many of us from attending law school: money and time. Law school is notoriously costly and typically results in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Also, students are required to give years of their lives to studying how the law works—a commitment that involves tackling mountains of required reading every night.

Law School for Everyone brings four exceptional professors from four of the nation’s most distinguished law schools right to you, providing you with much of the foundational knowledge of expert lawyers without the enormous time and financial commitments. Over the span of 48 lectures, these experienced lawyers and teachers recreate key parts of the first-year student experience, introducing you to four main areas of law most every beginning student studies:

  • litigation and legal practice,
  • criminal law and procedure,
  • civil procedure, and
  • torts.

Enriched with famous cases from the annals of American law, powerful arguments by some of history’s most successful lawyers, and Supreme Court rulings that provide insights into how our legal system has evolved since the nation’s founding, Law School for Everyone will teach you how to approach the law from the perspective of the best attorneys and high-court judges. Most important: No law degree is required for you to gain access to this intimidating—but surprisingly rich and exciting—field.

Litigation and Legal Practice

Law School for Everyone is organized into four 12-lecture sections that explore, in-depth, one of the cornerstones of a first-year law school student’s experience. Each section is delivered by a law professor who specializes in teaching their respective subjects.

You’ll start with 12 lectures on litigation and legal practice. Delivered by Professor Molly Bishop Shadel of the University of Virginia School of Law, this section offers a valuable orientation to the study of law. You’ll explore how our legal system is the direct result of democratic values, how the system works, and why we teach law the way we do.

“Over time, our system has achieved some amazing things: protections for civil rights, free speech, equal protection, due process, the right of each citizen to vote—innovations which keep our social fabric strong,” Professor Shadel says. “And each one of these social goods is the direct result of litigation.”

These lectures offer eye-opening answers to many questions about the subtle art and craft of litigation and the behind-the-scenes lives of lawyers. Questions like:

  • What are some dilemmas a lawyer can face when representing clients?
  • How does a lawyer craft an exceptional opening and closing argument?
  • How do lawyers handle issues like jury selection and problematic evidence?
  • When—and why—do lawyers raise objections during a trial?

You’ll also be prompted to rethink – and perhaps change – previously held conceptions about how lawyers work, and about the issues they struggle with each and every time they step in the courtroom.

Professor Shadel’s lectures prompt you to think about:

  • the place our judicial system occupies in the balance of powers;
  • the importance of credibility, logic, and pathos in the construction of an argument;
  • whether or not someone who committed a crime should be released on appeal due to procedural errors; and
  • why some trials, such as the Scopes trial or the O.J. Simpson case, capture the public imagination while others don’t.

By the time you finish these lectures, you’ll realize with startling clarity why legal training is valuable well beyond the courtroom and the other places lawyers work.

“If you can think like a lawyer, you have gained valuable insight into how things get done in this country,” Professor Shadel says. “And if you can think like a courtroom lawyer, then you are able to apply that knowledge quickly and use it to articulate your positions aloud. That’s a valuable skillset for anyone to have, particularly in a representative democracy such as ours.”

Criminal Law and Procedure

Government power is at its absolute maximum when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, and when the government tries to take away that person’s property, their liberty, or even their life. It’s an awesome power, one that must always remain subject to the rule of law.

In the second part of Law School for Everyone, Professor Joseph L. Hoffmann of Indiana University’s Maurer School of Law guides you through his area of expertise: criminal law and procedure. It’s an area of law dramatized by countless television shows and films, and in these lectures, Professor Hoffmann reveals how it all works in real life.

You’ll explore:

  • how our legal system defines a crime, both historically and today;
  • how lawyers, courts, and juries work together to bring about justice; and
  • how legal rules and standards try to make criminal cases as fair as possible.

Criminal law is anything but simple. For hundreds of years, we’ve been enmeshed in fierce debates about how it works—and how it doesn’t work. Never shying away from difficult topics, Professor Hoffmann gives you the background behind some of criminal law’s most defining issues, including:

  • the role of mens rea, or the guilty mind, in criminal cases, a concept developed centuries ago as part of the common law of crimes and defined as everything from “vicious will” to “general intent”;
  • the constitutional enigma of the “cruel and unusual punishments” clause, rooted in the language of the Eighth Amendment, which regulates the punishments society can inflict upon those who are convicted of crimes;
  • the legal pyramid (and moral culpability) of homicidal crimes, which don’t require an affirmative act (for example, you can commit homicide by failing to do something you’re legally required to do, like failing to feed your infant child);
  • the creation and evolution of due process and Miranda rights, a special form of advance protection designed to insure custodial police interrogations don’t violate the Fifth Amendment privilege against compelled self-incrimination.

“We’ve constructed such a complicated system of constitutional criminal procedure rights to help ensure that criminal investigations and criminal adjudications are fundamentally fair,” says Professor Hoffman. “And that’s also why our criminal law provides so many opportunities for different actors – the prosecutor, the defense lawyer, the courts, and the jury – to do the right thing and thereby fulfill the ends of justice.”

Civil Procedure

All first-year law students are required to take a course in civil procedure, which focuses on some of the most important Supreme Court cases of all time. Whether you’re a lawyer or a private citizen, understanding how civil procedure works is important for two key reasons. First, regardless of how much substantive law knowledge lawyers have, if they can’t navigate through procedural rules to vindicate their clients’ interests, their knowledge is useless. Second, private citizens should understand why lawsuits turn out the way they do, and what their procedural rights are should they find themselves in one.

In these 12 lectures by Professor Peter J. Smith of The George Washington University Law School, you’ll investigate the myriad procedures courts follow to resolve disputes about substantive rights. Rather than focus on the mechanics of actual trials, you’ll examine a broader set of questions any system of litigation must address—questions whose answers turn out to be hugely consequential for people seeking justice. Delve into important issues like:

  • How many defendants can you sue in one suit?
  • When can a judge resolve a case before the jury has heard any evidence?
  • Why is the discovery process, despite its lack of drama, so vital to civil procedure?
  • What rules prevent parties from re-litigating matters a court has already decided on?

These lectures are filled with Supreme Court cases essential to any well-rounded understanding of American law. Among them are:

  • Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the 2009 case which established a new standard for evaluating complaints that does not automatically assume all a plaintiff’s factual allegations are true;
  • Guaranty Trust Co. v. York, a 1945 case concerning statutes of limitations that said if the difference between a state and federal procedural rule can dictate the parties’ choice between federal or state court, the federal court has to apply the state’s rule;
  • Beacon Theatres v. Westover, a dispute between two movie theaters that ended with the Supreme Court’s 1959 decision that a jury’s resolution of common questions should bind the judge, not the other way around; and
  • Hansberry v. Lee, the 1940 decision in which the Supreme Court explained a class action can bind absent class members only if they’re adequately represented by the class representatives.

Civil procedure, as you’ll soon learn, is relevant in every single lawsuit. In fact, the same rules of civil procedure apply regardless of whether the suit is about torts, contracts, antitrust laws, or any other legal subject.

Torts

From slips on wet supermarket floors to missed medical diagnoses, tort law, according to Professor Edward K. Cheng of Vanderbilt Law School, often proves that fact is stranger than fiction. Torts, in a sense, deal with the law of everyday life, and over the course of 12 lectures you’ll get a whirlwind tour of this exciting, perplexing, and occasionally bizarre area of legal study.

“Tort law,” says Professor Cheng, “is frequently at the core of some of today’s biggest and most sensational lawsuits in the media. It governs an incredibly broad range of lawsuits from everyday life.”

Broadly defined, torts are private wrongs. The defendant is accused of behaving badly in some way and causing some kind of harm or injury to the plaintiff. The plaintiff sues the defendant, usually for money, but occasionally for an injunction, where the court forces the defendant to do something or stop doing something.

Importantly, torts are different from crimes, which are public, as opposed to private wrongs. In a tort case, the plaintiff is a private party who sues to vindicate a private interest.

Throughout his lectures, Professor Cheng reveals:

  • what kind of behavior tort law expects from each of us;
  • what, exactly, a plaintiff has to prove in tort cases to win and get damages; and
  • which parties are responsible for what types of harms and why.

Along the way, you’ll learn about some of the classic tort cases and the puzzles they present.

  • If the defendant sees someone drowning in a lake, does the defendant have a legal obligation to save the plaintiff?
  • If a baseball leaves a stadium and hits a bystander in the head, is the stadium liable? Does it matter if this was the first baseball hit that far in 50 years?
  • What happens when two quail hunters accidently fire their shotguns in the direction of a third, wounding him, but we can’t tell precisely whose shot pellet hit the victim?

Whether you’re following cases involving hot cups of fast-food coffee, drunken sailors, dangerous amusement park rides, or pet snakes, you’ll find yourself better able to make sense of the intricate legal arguments and distinctions that make up torts.

Ultimately, you’ll discover that, beneath these seemingly odd and surprising cases lies an essential humanity that makes this area such a compelling and worthy area of study.

A Civically Important Course

Law School for Everyone is packed with some of the most important, decisive, and controversial court cases in American history. Each of the cases you explore illuminates, in its own unique way, the inner workings of the nation’s judicial system and its malleability.

Here are just a few of the many cases you’ll examine, from multiple legal angles, in these 48 fascinating lectures:

  • State of Florida v. George Zimmerman (2013)
  • Citizens United v. FEC (2010)
  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • State of California v. O.J. Simpson (1995)
  • Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

Additionally, the lectures benefit from specially commissioned courtroom illustrations, informative animations, helpful on-screen text, photographs, video footage, and voice acting that recreates the drama of the courtroom.

Law School for Everyone puts you in the hands of four masterful law professors who’ve built their entire careers around understanding and teaching the law in all its forms. Whether you want to continue studying how the law works, or whether you just want to join the debate over today’s (and tomorrow’s) important legal cases, let this course be your authoritative guide to one of the most fascinating and civically important professions out there.

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48 lectures
 |  31 minutes each
  • 1
    Litigation: Litigation and the American Legal System
    In this lecture, use a 1963 Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright, as a window into the relationship between litigation and the American legal system. You'll explore why we adopted this particular system, how it works, and why we teach law in America the way we do. x
  • 2
    Litigation: Thinking like a Lawyer
    To think like a lawyer, you have to approach legal doctrine actively and critically. Here, Professor Shadel teaches you how to read cases with an eye for particular concepts every good lawyer must keep in mind, including the role of precedent, inductive and deductive reasoning skills, and the use of analogies. x
  • 3
    Litigation: Representing Your Client
    All lawyers have responsibilities to their clients and to the integrity of the justice system. But what are the bounds of a lawyer's responsibility in representing a client? What's confidential and what's not? For answers to these and other questions, consider challenges arising in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman. x
  • 4
    Litigation: Trial Strategy behind the Scenes
    Continuing with the case of George Zimmerman, explore the intricate nature of trial strategy that takes place away from the jury's eyes. Learn how lawyers operate before a trial, and how a jury is selected. Also, examine how media coverage impacts what happens inside (and outside) the courtroom. x
  • 5
    Litigation: Opening Statements: The Moment of Primacy
    A powerful opening statement requires many things: credibility, persuasion, logic. Using the George Zimmerman and O.J. Simpson trials as case studies, go inside the (sometimes tricky) art of crafting palpable opening statements that grab the jury's attention and leave it eager to hear the testimony to come. x
  • 6
    Litigation: Direct Examination: Questioning Your Witnesses
    Direct examination has been popularized by countless TV crime dramas. But how does it work in a real courtroom? In this lecture, learn how lawyers figure out whom to put on the witness stand, what questions they should ask, and how to prepare witnesses for their day in court. x
  • 7
    Litigation: The Art of the Objection
    During a trial, any lapse in a lawyer's attention could be extremely costly. Enter the task of voicing objections. Here, look at some of the most common types of evidentiary issues that might call for objections and learn why lawyers get only one shot at raising one. x
  • 8
    Litigation: Problematic Evidence
    Why are innocent people sometimes convicted of crimes they didn’t commit? Often, it’s because a jury is persuaded by problematic evidence. How do lawyers navigate these troubled legal waters? Investigate three of the most important kinds of flawed evidence: false confessions, mistaken eyewitness identification, and flawed “expert” evidence. x
  • 9
    Litigation: Controlling Cross-Examination
    Explore how lawyers cross-examine a witness without losing control, without eliciting unexpected answers, and without offending the jury. Along the way, you'll learn tips for effective cross-examination, study the cross-examination skills of renowned civil and criminal defense attorney Roy Black, and learn about the process of conducting impeachments. x
  • 10
    Litigation: Closing Arguments: Driving Your Theory Home
    Closing arguments are a chance for lawyers to connect all the dots for the jury. In this lecture, study one powerful example of a successful closing argument: Johnnie Cochran's on behalf of O.J. Simpson. Then, consider some of the things a lawyer shouldn't do when closing a case. x
  • 11
    Litigation: Understanding the Appellate Process
    When people criticize the United States as an overly litigious society, they're often referring to its system of appellate review. How, exactly, do appellate courts operate? How do lawyers file appellate briefs or make oral arguments for an appeal? Professor Shadel helps you make sense of the appellate process. x
  • 12
    Litigation: Arguing before the Supreme Court
    A case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States is one of great significance. First, consider the history and evolution of the Supreme Court over the centuries. Then, using Citizens United v. FEC, gain insights into how political and ideological dynamics within the Court affect the cases brought before it. x
  • 13
    Criminal Law: Who Defines Crimes, and How?
    To understand how criminal law works, you first have to understand what a crime is. What are the purposes of criminal law? Why is textualism so important to distinguishing the bygone era of common-law crimes from those of the 21st century? Who are the key players involved in defining a crime? x
  • 14
    Criminal Law: Crime and the Guilty Mind
    In this lecture, explore the fundamental requirement of mens rea, or the guilty mind. Topics here include: how criminal intent is traditionally defined, the relationship between malice and motive, what happens when a defendant claims to lack a guilty mind, and the concept of criminal liability without fault (known as strict liability). x
  • 15
    Criminal Law: Homicide and Moral Culpability
    Homicides, according to Professor Hoffmann, are unique among crimes. In this lecture, examine the pyramid of homicidal crimes, including involuntary manslaughter, second-degree murder, and first-degree murder. Also, consider several real-world examples that highlight the issue of culpability in homicide, including the case of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted suicides. x
  • 16
    Criminal Law: The Law of Self-Defense
    Turn to self-defense and get a better understanding of how criminal law tries to balance between the rights of the threatened and those who are threats. Along the way, consider issues including “the retreat doctrine,” the “battered spouse syndrome,” “stand your ground” laws, and the use of deadly force by the police. x
  • 17
    Criminal Law: Federal Crimes and Federal Power
    The U.S. federal government might be the most powerful government in the world—but it’s power to prohibit and punish crimes is relatively constrained. In this intriguing lecture, Professor Hoffmann reveals the important distinctions in scope, meaning, and effect between state criminal law and federal criminal law in the United States. x
  • 18
    Criminal Law: Cruel and Unusual Punishments
    Pour over the “cruel and unusual punishments” clause of the Eighth Amendment in search of why the Supreme Court has had so much trouble applying this provision to real-world criminal cases. By the end of this lecture, you’ll realize why the Eighth Amendment is considered by some legal experts to be a constitutional enigma. x
  • 19
    Criminal Law: Due Process and the Right to Counsel
    Powell v. Alabama, better known as the Scottsboro case, is one of the most important in the history of American criminal procedure law. Where did the Supreme Court find the legal authority to force states to provide all criminal defendants, regardless of race or economic station, with fundamental rights? x
  • 20
    Criminal Law: Government Searches and Privacy Rights
    In the first of two lectures on the Fourth Amendment, go inside the fascinating history behind the topic of government searches and privacy rights. You’ll consider the scope of the Fourth Amendment, learn what defines “search” and “seizure,” and ponder the role of modern technology in affecting how the Fourth Amendment works. x
  • 21
    Criminal Law: The Shrinking Warrant Requirement
    Continue looking at the Fourth Amendment. How do search warrants work? Can police enter a home without a warrant? Topics include the exclusionary rule, which provides that evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment be excluded from criminal prosecutions, and the vague standard of “probable cause.” x
  • 22
    Criminal Law: The Fifth Amendment Privilege
    According to the Fifth Amendment, “no person…shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.” Examine the history of this core aspect of the Bill of Rights. Learn how the amendment works in and out of court, how the privilege has become subject to compromises over time, and what “pleading the fifth” actually requires. x
  • 23
    Criminal Law: Miranda and Police Interrogations
    “You have the right to remain silent.” These are perhaps the most famous words in American criminal justice. In this lecture, investigate the historical and legal background of the Supreme Court’s 1966 Miranda decision. Professor Hoffmann builds his lecture around two key issues at the heart of this still-controversial decision. x
  • 24
    Criminal Law: Plea Bargains, Jury Trials, and Justice
    Ninety-percent of all criminal cases, surprisingly, don’t end in a trial but in a plea bargain. In this lecture, consider both plea bargains and criminal trials and how they complement one another. How—and why—did plea bargains come to dominate American justice? How does the jury system work? x
  • 25
    Civil Procedure: Procedural Rights and Why They Matter
    What makes civil procedure different from all other courses law students encounter in their first year of school? Using a hypothetical lawsuit and two Supreme Court cases, explore the broad set of issues and questions any system of litigation must address, including the procedures needed to clear a person's name. x
  • 26
    Civil Procedure: Subject Matter Jurisdiction
    Professor Smith discusses jurisdiction: the power of the courts to hear a case and to render a judgment. As you'll discover, there are really two different types of jurisdiction, one of which is subject matter jurisdiction, which refers to the court's authority to hear cases concerning a particular subject matter. x
  • 27
    Civil Procedure: Jurisdiction over the Defendant
    Just because a court has jurisdiction over a case doesn't mean it has jurisdiction over the defendant. Enter personal jurisdiction. Learn why this doctrine hasn't been constant over time, the importance of the (eventually replaced) Pennoyer ruling, and when an out-of-state defendant should be subject to personal jurisdiction. x
  • 28
    Civil Procedure: A Modern Approach to Personal Jurisdiction
    Continue your look at personal jurisdiction by examining how the approach evolved into its modern standard, as well as the limits this approach places on the power of a plaintiff to haul a defendant into court far from the defendant's home. Central to this: 1945's International Shoe Co. v. Washington. x
  • 29
    Civil Procedure: The Role of Pleadings
    Pleading is the process by which parties inform one another, and the court, of their allegations, claims, and defenses. Go inside the first step in the pre-trial process for a close look at the rules that govern pleading. As you’ll learn, the rules governing pleading can make—or break—a suit. x
  • 30
    Civil Procedure: Understanding Complex Litigation
    Lawsuits today often involve multiple plaintiffs suing multiple defendants on multiple claims. How does this kind of complex litigation work? First, consider the rules governing “joinder”—when claims and parties can be joined in one suit. Then, turn to a familiar (and special) multi-party suit: the class action. x
  • 31
    Civil Procedure: The Use and Abuse of Discovery
    No, the discovery process isn’t glamorous. But it’s important in that it allows parties access to information to support their claims and defenses. How do we define the “scope of discovery,” as well as terms like “substantial need” and “work product”? How can the process be used to wear down plaintiffs? x
  • 32
    Civil Procedure: Deciding a Case before the Trial Ends
    In this lecture, consider the mechanisms of a motion for summary judgment, by which a judge can resolve a suit with something less than a complete trial. Central to this lecture are two important cases that highlight the nuances of this type of motion: Celotex v. Catrett and Denman v. Spain. x
  • 33
    Civil Procedure: The Right to a Civil Jury Trial
    Juries undoubtedly play an important role in civil procedure, even in cases that don't end up having a trial before a jury. Here, consider the virtues and drawbacks of having juries decide issues in civil suits, then explore the scope of this right as guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment. x
  • 34
    Civil Procedure: Determining What Law Applies
    How does one tell whether a particular rule of state law is procedural or, instead, substantive? Which law applies—and when? Here, a famous case between two taxicab transfer companies offers an extreme and fascinating illustration of the procedural problems that can arise between federal and state courts. x
  • 35
    Civil Procedure: Relitigation and Preclusion
    The subject of this lecture isn’t about getting a case right—it’s about getting a case over with. Consider the rules that prevent parties from relitigating matters that courts have already decided. What’s the difference between prior litigation and subsequent litigation? Several important cases offer illuminating insights. x
  • 36
    Civil Procedure: Appeals and How They Are Judged
    Trial courts, intermediate courts of appeals, the Supreme Court—different courts play different roles in our legal system. First, consider when a party is allowed to appeal a decision by a trial court. Then, consider the standards of review that appellate courts apply when reviewing trial court decisions. x
  • 37
    Torts: The Calamitous World of Tort Law
    Start your whirlwind tour of torts with an exam question Professor Cheng gives to his own students: one that will introduce you to the history, complexity—and oddities—of this aspect of law. What behaviors does tort law expect from us? What harms can we be responsible for? x
  • 38
    Torts: Legal Duty to Others
    While we're morally obligated to help others, we're not necessarily legally obligated to help, regardless of what religious and ethical authorities may advise. Welcome to the concept of affirmative duty. Here, learn why this rule exists, examine legislative efforts to change it, and consider some well-established exceptions to the rule. x
  • 39
    Torts: Reasonable Care and the Reasonable Person
    In this lecture, investigate the concepts of reasonable care and the concept the legal system uses to determine it: the reasonable person. You’ll consider the meaning of reasonable care, debates over the proper definition of “fault,” the relationship between reasonable care and cost-benefit analysis, and more. x
  • 40
    Torts: Rules versus Standards of Care
    Lawyers define rules as the alternative to flexible, case-specific standards. Rules, as you’ll discover in this lecture, have their advantages and disadvantages over standards—but they all take power and discretion away from the jury. Professor Cheng uses an example that hits close to home for many of us: speed limits. x
  • 41
    Torts: The Complexities of Factual Causation
    Of all the doctrines in tort law, factual causation appears to be the most scientific and value-neutral. The truth, however, may surprise you. Learn why determinations about causation aren’t simple, but do matter—a lot. Also, consider whether the causation question is more philosophical than scientific. x
  • 42
    Torts: Legal Causation and Foreseeability
    Cases involving legal causation and the foreseeability test are the favorites of many law professors. Using one of the most famous cases in the torts canon, Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, discover why legal causation is so intricately linked to policy, our sense of justice, and moral responsibility. x
  • 43
    Torts: Liability for the Acts of Others
    First, take a closer look at vicarious liability, a tort doctrine that states an employer is strictly liable for torts committed by employees during the scope of their employment. Then, consider the related tort doctrine of joint and several liability, which deals with when multiple parties contribute to a tort. x
  • 44
    Torts: When Tort Plaintiffs Share the Blame
    The focus of this lecture is on negligence or other culpable conduct on the part of the plaintiff. What does tort law say about what happens when a plaintiff is at fault? Just how much of a two-way street is an issue like safety? For some answers, look to seat belts. x
  • 45
    Torts: Animals, Blasting, and Strict Liability
    Explore traditional strict liability through the lens of two common kinds of claims that don't require negligence: damage caused by animals and damage caused by ultra-hazardous blasts and explosions. Along the way, examine whether or not strict liability really is all that different from conventional negligence. x
  • 46
    Torts: The Rise of Products Liability
    Tort law isn't fixed in stone but instead evolves to meet a changing society. Case in point: the development of modern products liability law. In the first of two lectures on the subject, walk through some elegant cases in torts to determine why products liability has promoted litigation on a massive scale. x
  • 47
    Torts: Products Liability Today
    Here, Professor Cheng dives into modern products liability doctrine. What kinds of product defects qualify for this treatment? What kinds of products and manufacturers qualify? What's the effect of government regulations in certain cases? How are these massive cases, sometimes involving thousands of plaintiffs, resolved? x
  • 48
    Torts: Punitive Damages and Their Limits
    What are punitive damages? Why do we have them? How can the legal system rein in out-of-control juries? To get answers to these three questions, look to a case that's long been the symbol of a legal system run amok: Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants, or the case of the spilled hot coffee. x

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  • 416-page printed course guidebook
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  • Closed captioning available
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Your professors

Molly Bishop Shadel Joseph L. Hoffmann Peter J. Smith Edward K. Cheng

Professor 1 of 4

Molly Bishop Shadel, J.D.
University of Virginia School of Law

Professor 2 of 4

Joseph L. Hoffmann, J.D.
Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Professor 3 of 4

Peter J. Smith, J.D.
The George Washington University Law School

Professor 4 of 4

Edward K. Cheng, J.D.
Vanderbilt Law School
Molly Bishop Shadel is a Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she teaches negotiations and advocacy classes and is a senior fellow at the Center for National Security Law. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in English and American Literature and Language. Professor Shadel earned her J.D. from Columbia University. Professor Shadel clerked for the Honorable...
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Joseph L. Hoffmann is the Harry Pratter Professor of Law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, where he has taught since 1986. He received a J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Washington School of Law. After law school, Professor Hoffmann clerked for the Honorable Phyllis A. Kravitch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and for then-associate justice William H. Rehnquist of the U.S. Supreme...
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Peter J. Smith is the Arthur Selwyn Miller Research Professor of Law at The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) from Yale University and his J.D. (magna cum laude) from Harvard Law School, where he received the Sears Prize for highest academic performance. Before joining the faculty at GW Law, Professor Smith was an attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice,...
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Edward K. Cheng is a Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School, where he focuses on scientific and expert evidence and the interaction of law and statistics. Professor Cheng holds a J.D. (cum laude) from Harvard Law School, where he was the Articles, Book Reviews & Commentaries Chair of the Harvard Law Review; an M.A. in statistics from Columbia University; an M.Sc. (with distinction) in information systems from the...
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Reviews

Law School for Everyone is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 30.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from law school for everyone excellently done. very interestingly done wow wow wow
Date published: 2017-12-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous I love this course. The information is well organized and presented very clearly. The fairly current real life examples help to illustrate the material well.
Date published: 2017-12-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 3 out of 4 Ain't Bad ... It's Great. This is one of the best presentations of the multitude of classes I've ordered from The Great Courses. The first, third and forth lecturer do a marvelous job of making the U.S. legal process seem interesting and comprehensible. The initial lecturer makes law school and the study of law subjects of intrigue, humor and relevance. The third lecturer raises some really good head scratchers in his review of civil procedure. And the fourth offers a whirlwind tour of the often bizarre subject of torts. The second lecturer spends more time than needed explaining why the current criminal justice system is wrong and why he (and by implication the ACLU) is right. Also, he never really relates his topic back to law school or the study of law. Still, he provides a useful overview of criminal law. I'm a law professor, so in ordering this course I assumed it would be a bit light, even superficial, for me. Instead I was constantly captivated and challenged by the lectures. Oh, and by the way, audio was just fine for this course.
Date published: 2017-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Presentations from Great Presenters I have not yet completed all the lectures, but what I have seen has broadened my perspectives of legal terms and topics. I am currently enrolled in a paralegal program and one of my courses this semester is torts. The Great Course lecturer in torts is well grounded in his subject. The same can be said for the woman who speaks of civil procedure. I look forward to watching the remaining areas of law in the series with confidence they will be as illuminating as those I have already seen. With my paralegal texts and this series of lectures, my confidence with the law can only expand and deepen.
Date published: 2017-11-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Law school for everyone Eye opener, it is not always that justice wins, but the best lawyer.
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course! Law School is an excellent course addressing all the facets of the law that we hear about or deal with almost every day. It's a well-structured course with very good presentations by legal experts. The lectures on "pleading the Fifth" and "Miranda Warnings" were worth the price by themselves. I can't imagine anyone not finding something to spark their interest. Delivers valuable insights, legal history, and fascinating cases.Highly recommended!
Date published: 2017-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tall Order As a professional in an unrelated field, I can appreciate the difficulty in summarizing law school in forty eight lectures. They did a very credible job. This is one of the best courses I have purchased, and I have purchased around two hundred over the past twenty years. Daniel Coelho MD Litchfield , CT
Date published: 2017-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stimulating In this day and age of legal people expostulating about the implications of political/social activities this course adds a dimension giving their comments dimrension I found no where else.
Date published: 2017-11-04
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