dollar-sign-manScott H. Greenfield, a criminal defense attorney, just argued a case before New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. He was discouraged to find out during oral arguments that even the judges in New York’s highest court do not have much faith in the altruism of lawyers. You can read that interesting post here.

A singer, Tom Paxton, expresses a sentiment similar to those of the judges in the Court of Appeals in his song. One Million Lawyers. Here’s the chorus, just to give you an idea:

In ten years we’re gonna have one million lawyers,
One million lawyers, one million lawyers.
In ten years we’re gonna have one million lawyers.
How much can a poor nation stand?

My Criminal Procedure professor took a poll of the law students in his class to see how many people went to law school in order to do something positive for the world. Almost half of the students indicated that they chose law school because they wanted to accomplish something positive as lawyers, whether that be as prosecutors, defense attorneys, Legal Aide attorneys or some other kind of public service type of law.

Mr. Greenfield also indicated that any attorney, whether or not they work in a practice area that is more openly public service oriented, may be moved to contribute to society by writing simply for the sake of education, intelligent discussion, and spreading knowledge. Some start blogs, write Law Review articles, or write articles for other publications and newspapers.

In any case, it would certainly be an oversimplification to characterize all lawyers as dollar-sign-eyed money fiends.

Picture courtesy of inmagine

GB_NorthwesternOne strategy that has been very effective for me in my law school career has been listening to audio summaries of many of my courses. In addition to preparing for class, briefing cases, outlining, and doing practice exams (indispensable!), I use my time driving to and from work and law school to listen to audio lectures of the courses I’m taking, especially as exams begin to approach. I’m working full time at The Law Offices of Elliot Schlissel, which is a great experience, and attending law school part time in the evenings. So time management is very important to me. I’m nearing the end of my 3rd year, out of four, in law school. So I have had the opportunity to listen to audio lectures on most of my classes up to this point.  The following are my reviews of the CD sets that I have listened to. I’ll give each one a rating of either (5) Excellent, (4) Good, (3) Average, (2) Bad, or (1) Terrible and my reasons.

civil-procedure-author-miller-sum-and-substance2Civil Procedure with Arthur Miller : (5) Excellent!  Everyone I’ve spoken to loves these as well. He is a great speaker with a great voice and he is a known expert on Civil Procedure. He has the ability to take a potentially boring subject and making it interesting and enjoyable to listen to. That is a major accomplishment. It’s the longest set of CDs I’ve gotten so far, numbering at 10. But it is well worth the investment financially and with regard to one’s time. It is an excellent review of the subject. I listened to these CDs between 4 and 6 times throughout the semester and it really helped me keep my understanding of the subject organized and clear during the exam. These are really indespensible. A must-buy!


Contracts with Douglas J. Whaley: (4) Good. He is also an interesting speaker and he gives some nice examples to illustrate some of the concepts. I found these CDs very useful and I would definitely recommend them to others.


property-cd-sum-substanceProperty with Julian Jurgensmeyer: (4) Good. Even more than Civil Procedure, this was a difficult course. And anyone who has taken Property understands why. The bulk of the class seems to focus on estates system from England 400 hundred years ago. This is a difficult and hard-to-relate-to system. Given the difficulty of the subject, Prof. Jurgensmeyer does about as good a job as seems possible when teaching the Rule in Shelly’s Case, the Rule Against Perpetuities (“the RAP”) and the like. Nothing that I know if can make this subject easy, but these CDs were definitely a good supplement to my class.

criminal-law-dressler-sum-substanceCriminal Law with Joshua Dressler: (5) Excellent+!+!  Criminal Law is already an inherently more interesting subject than some others and Prof. Dressler does an amazing job of clearly and engagingly explaining everything. Along with Arthur Miller, Dressler is the best of the best. It is definitely worthwhile to get these CDs. In fact, I wish Professor Dressler had lectures on every subject in law school. He is also the author of the casebook my professor used so it was nice to get a consistent perspective on things  from both the casebook and the lectures. A must-buy!

constitutional-law-chey-sum-substanceConstitutional Law with Mary Cheh: (4) Good. These CDs were very good and interesting. Prof. Cheh was extremely organized and explained everything clearly and is a good speaker. I would certainly recommend these lectures to anyone taking Con Law. There are a lot of controversial topics in this subject and I think she handled them fairly and even-handedly, such that one cannot really tell where she falls out on those issues. I cannot say anything negative about these lectures and I would definitely recommend them.

intellectual-property-thomas-sum-substanceIntellectual Property with  John R. Thomas: (2) Bad. I did not feel that he explained the concepts clearly and, although this is subjective, I found his voice to be annoying. Although Prof. Thomas does not come from an ostensibly Ivy League background, he speaks, laughs and makes jokes as if he goes to Harvard, his name is Biff, and he likes to play golf with his friends Thurston, Muffy, and Tiffany. Perhaps this lecture series was more beneficial to me than nothing at all, but even if so, it was not by much.

international-law-burr-sum-substanceInternational Law with Sherri Burr: (1) Terrible. Prof. Burr was an unengaging, disorganized speaker. For the first time, I was not able to even finish listening to these CDs. It sounded like she was reading from a low-quality  textbook. I would definitely recommend searching out some other resource to supplement one’s course in International or Transnational Law.

wills-trusts-and-estates-johansen-law-school-legendsWills, Trusts & Estates with Stanley Johanson: (4) Good. Professor Johanson is definitely different from other lecturers. Some people I spoke to didn’t like him, but I did. I found him charming like a quirky old timer uncle from East Tennesse who is fun to chat with during family reunions and get-togethers (although he’s from Texas, not Tennessee).  He has a cute sense of humor and an unusual way of teaching. Rather than give his lectures in outline format like most of these audio lectures, he includedes a pdf file full of hypothetical situations with the CD set. And his lectures are organized around him explaining the answers to those hypotheticals throughout the lectures. I found these CDs amusing and helpful and would recomend them to others.

federal-income-tax-block-law-school-legendsFederal Income Tax with Cheryl Block: (4) Good. Prof. Block does a good a job in this subject. Federal Income Tax is actually not about math. It’s about understanding tax law and it’s actually fairly easy to relate to as a subject since we all do things, have done things, or know people who’ve done things that have tax consequences. The subject is fairly easy to relate to when learning the subject. Prof. Block did not stand out as over-the-top great, but she is a good speaker and the lectures are definitely helpful and I would recommend these lectures as a very helpful supplement to your class.

criminal-procedure-dressler-sum-substanceCriminal Procedure with Joshua Dressler: (5) Excellent +!+!+! If Professor Dressler was great in Criminal Law, he is outstanding in Criminal Procedure. He wrote a Treatise on Criminal Procedure and he is just as clear, mellifluous, interesting and organized in Crim Pro as he was in Crim Law. Before taking this class, I expected the class to be more about the nuts and bolts of criminal cases and police procedure. In reality, this class is just an extension of Constitutional Law. Whereas the 2nd half of Con Law focuses more on 1st Amendment and 14th Amendment substantive due process rights, Criminal Procedure focuses more on 4th Amendment Search & Seizure, 5th Amendment self-incrimination, and 6th Amendment right to counsel issues. But both subjects are merely different areas of Con Law. Because of the Con Law nature of the class, and the inherent drama in the process of police investigations, searches, arrests and interrogations (there are countless TV shows with these themes, after all), this is certainly one of the more interesting subjects. And again, Professor Dressler is an amazing resource for understanding the rules and historical progression of the law in this area. Another must-buy!

I have also listened to the CDs on Family Law, which were very good, even though I have not taken those courses yet. I hope these reviews will help  people make an educated choice about how and which audio lectures to use in reviewing their law school courses.

Picture (top) of Prof. Stephen Presser speaking at Northwestern’s Law School courtesy of

top-50Heinonline, the the place to go for pdf versions of all major U.S. legal journals, has a blog, and on it, they have posted their 50 most cited authors of Law Review articles. Interestingly, Paul L. Caron, at the TaxProf Blog, pointed out that “[o]f the Top 50, 96% are men and 98% are white.”

So consider this a heads up. If you’re a Managing Editor of Articles or an Editor in Chief of a Law Review journal, and one of these 50 people happens to be still alive, and also submits an article, make them an offer! Come to think of it, even if one of those authors who aren’t still alive submits an article to your journal, there is all the more reason to make them an offer!

1.) Posner, Richard A. cited 12,586 times in 251 articles.

2.) Sunstein, Cass R. cited 11,521 times in 267 articles.

3.) Epstein, Richard A. cited 6,194 times in 272 articles.

4.) Easterbrook, Frank H. cited 6,018 times in 84 articles.

5.) Prosser, William L. cited 5,585 times in 55 articles.

6.) Coffee, John C. Jr. cited 5,196 times in 68 articles.

7.) Delgado, Richard cited 5,165 times in 145 articles.

8.) Eskridge, William N. Jr. cited 5,029 times in 69 articles.

9.) Pound, Roscoe cited 4,869 times in 284 articles.

10.) Fischel, Daniel R. cited 4,703 times in 43 articles.

11.) Amar, Akhil Reed cited 4,252 times in 98 articles.

12.) Wechsler, Herbert cited 4,076 times in 40 articles.

13.) Fiss, Owen M. cited 4,030 times in 56 articles.

14.) Farber, Daniel A. cited 4,002 times in 122 articles.

15.) Macey, Jonathan R. cited 3,936 times in 120 articles.

16.) Redish, Martin H. cited 3, 736 times in 86 articles.

17.) Schauer, Frederick cited 3,707 times in 116 articles.

18.) Tushnet, Mark cited 3,639 times in 263 articles.

19.) Gunther, Gerald cited 3,595 times in 20 articles.

20.) Tribe, Laurence H. cited 3,583 times in 75 articles.

21.) Sax, Joseph L. cited 3,546 times in 65 articles.

22.) Karst, Kenneth L. cited 3,528 times in 73 articles.

23.) Ely, John Hart cited 3,503 times in 30 articles.

24.) Michelman, Frank I. cited 3,422 times in 76 articles.

25.) Galanter, Marc cited 3,299 times in 84 articles.

26.) Brest, Paul cited 3,237 times in 30 articles.

27.) Scott, Robert E. cited 3,230 times in 53 articles.

28.) Friendly, Henry J. cited 3,148 times in 40 articles.

29.) Cox, Archibald cited 3,121 times in 72 articles.

30.) Henkin, Louis cited 3,068 times in 81 articles.

31.) Gilson, Ronald J. cited 3,062 times in 47 articles.

32.) Eisenberg, Theodore cited 2,980 times in 77 articles.

33.) Frankfurter, Felix cited 2,971 times in 84 articles.

34.) Lemley, Mark A. cited 2,962 times in 78 articles.

35.) Brandeis, Louis D. cited 2,918 times in 9 articles.

36.) Warren, Samuel D. cited 2,902 times in 3 articles.

37.) Bork, Robert H. cited 2,874 times in 64 articles.

38.) Kennedy, Duncan cited 2,802 times in 45 articles.

39.) Reich, Charles A. cited 2,784 times in 23 articles.

40.) Wade, John W. cited 2,768 times in 86 articles.

41.) Kalven, Harry Jr. cited 2,761 times in 44 articles.

42.) Chemerinsky, Erwin cited 2,681 times in 203 articles.

43.) Rhode, Deborah L. cited 2,677 times in 80 articles.

44.) Menkel-Meadow, Carrie cited 2,642 times in 78 articles.

45.) Griswold, Erwin N. cited 2,614 times in 121 articles.

46.) Jaffe, Louis L. cited 2,611 times in 69 articles.

47.) McConnell, Michael W. cited 2,566 times in 62 articles.

48.) Landes, William M. cited 2,547 times in 42 articles.

49.) Frickey, Philip P. cited 2,534 times in 39 articles.

50.) Schwartz, Alan cited 2,540 times in 59 articles.

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