1L of a Ride Book and Video Course

1L of a Ride Second Edition coverThe "Companion Text" to Law School1L of a Ride — McClurg’s bestselling book about how to navigate the first year of law school is assigned as recommended or required reading at law schools throughout the country.  Read the Amazon Reviews.

NEW: The 1L of a Ride Video Course is a 12-part series featuring McClurg and award-winning law professors Chris Coughlin, Meredith Duncan and Nancy Levit.  Available separately or bundled with a print or e-copy of the book.

Meanwhile, to maintain their sanity, loved ones may want to look at The “Companion Text” to Law School: Understanding and Surviving Life with a Law Student.  Somehow, it became an Amazon Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year.

Cupid’s Covenant

Originally appeared in the February 2000 issue of the ABA Journal.

Harmless Error - A Truly Minority View on the Law

Cupid’s Covenant


With Valentine’s Day looming, it’s a good time to get some legal perspective on the whole relationship thing, especially the breaking up part. We need to face the fact that despite our hopelessly unrealistic expectations, most relationships don’t last.

Breaking up has serious consequences for both parties which need to be considered in advance, while equal bargaining power still exists. Never enter into a relationship unless BOTH parties have executed the…

Relationship Termination Agreement

The undersigned prospective lovebirds, being of sound mind but probably not for long, enter into the following agreement to govern their respective rights and responsibilities in the event of a partnership dissolution:

1. I agree not to go around blabbing the embarrassing secrets and quirks you confessed to me in strict confidence on the silly assumption that I wasn’t going to some day hate your guts. Breach of this paragraph shall constitute tortious interference with prospective advantageous relationships.

2. Within 10 days of the contract termination, I covenant to place 25 melodramatic phone calls to you, at least half of which shall occur late at night while I am intoxicated. Just to remind you that I still have strong feelings for you, at least five of these calls shall qualify as “harassment” under applicable law.

3. I shall retain any and all cards, gifts and other items of endearment supplied during the contract term for one full calendar year, at which time I may dissolve them in sulphuric acid. I shall re-read all cards on at least five occasions, and hereby bind myself to feel nostalgic, wistful and wonder whether we made a mistake on each such occasion.

4. When asked why the contract was terminated, I shall falsely represent: “It was a mutual decision. We’re still good friends.”

5. Upon breakup, you shall return all items of personal property belonging to me, with immediate attention to any videotapes made during the course of said contract.

6. It is understood that the next person I date shall be less attractive than you and that this provision shall be strictly construed against the datee. I agree not to date your best friends, even though I think a couple of them are really hot.

7. Friends shall be split as follows: (fill in blanks) ________ is my friend. Do not even attempt to speak to him/her, as he/she is subject to an express condition subsequent to curse you loudly in the event of a contract breach. ________ can be your friend, since I’ve always found him/her affected and annoying. Everyone else is my friend (choose one or more depending on property settlement) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, alternate weekends and major holidays.

8. I agree not to hang out on “your turf,” including but not limited to your front porch and the alley behind your house, especially while on a date.

9. I covenant not to refer to any future contracting party as “Puppytoes” or “Yum-yum.”

10. I shall have the option of temporarily resuming the contract on at least two occasions after the breakup, at least one of which shall be initiated by a romantic chance encounter, preferably at someone’s wedding. It is understood that these contract renewals will be for short periods and end badly.

1L of a Ride Video Course

Check out sample video clips for the 1L of a Ride Video Course based on McClurg’s bestselling law school prep book of the same name. In addition to McClurg, the 13-part series features award-winning law professors Christine Coughlin (Wake Forest), Meredith Duncan (University of Houston), and Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City).


Each video is a concise ten minutes, followed by a short self-assessment quiz. The videos include:

1. Introduction to the Video Course 2. Planning Ahead and Biggest Fears 3. Structure and Role of U.S. Courts 4. Socratic and Case Methods 5. Overview of First-Year Curriculum 6. First-Year Sample Course: Torts

Read more…

Wacky Warning Sign: World’s Safest Road Excavation

Thanks to my Swiss friend for this link to a variety of wacky warning signs in Switzerland. The Swiss are very safe people, no doubt about it. Look closely at what this monstrous, overdone barrier and warning contraption is protecting: what looks to be about a four-inch deep road excavation.

Compare the Swiss approach to how we handle this type of hazard in good old Memphis.

–Thanks to Pat Crowell.

Diabolical Slip and Fall Combo – Ice and Banana Peel

Thanks to a former student at the Florida International University College of Law for spotting this particularly diabolical slip and fall risk. As if ice or banana peels weren’t risk enough by themselves, here we get a combo.

Slip and falls are no laughing matter. Check out these statistics from the National Floor Safety Institute.

Ice is a lot more dangerous than banana peels, but people do slip on banana peels, and not just in cartoons. One of lawhaha.com’s most visited posts is this death certificate for a poor fellow in Tennessee, noting that shortly before his death, he slipped on a banana peel.

–Thanks to Armando

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Truth About McDonald’s Coffee Spill Case in Five Minutes

Here’s the real story behind the infamous McDonald’s coffee spill case, in a five-minute video by Adam Ruins Everything.

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The Second Amendment Right to Be Negligent

Andrew Jay McClurg, The Second Amendment Right to be Negligent, 68 Florida Law Review 1 (2016).

Only two constitutional rights — the First and Second Amendments — have the capacity, through judicial interpretation or legislative action or inaction, to confer a “right to be negligent” on private citizens; that is, a right to engage in objectively unreasonable risk-creating conduct without legal consequences. In the First Amendment context, for example, the Supreme Court, in New York Times v. Sullivan and its progeny, expressly embraced a right to be negligent in defaming public officials and public figures to protect speech. This Article asserts that through both common and statutory law

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New Guns and the Law Casebook

My new casebook–Guns and the Law: Cases, Problems, and Explanation–composed with Professor Brannon Denning, just came out. Featuring cases, problems, and explanation, it offers a balanced treatment of gun law and policy in the United States, which is hard to find in this highly charged area.

Here’s the catalog description from Carolina Academic Press:

McClurg (pro-reasonable regulation) and Denning (pro-gun-rights) apply their decades of experience studying firearms policy and gun violence in this balanced, reader-friendly casebook addressing the contentious issues of guns in America. Through cases, problems, and provocative notes and questions, the book explores current federal and state gun laws, major constitutional cases, post-Heller Second

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“Grit and Grind” Your Way to Law School Success

The Grindfather

If you’re getting ready to start law school and are worried because you have a below-average LSAT score, you need to read my new ABA blog post. In it, I explain data about the correlation between LSAT scores and first-year grades, which is weaker than most people realize.

While LSAT scores correlate with success for some students, they do not reliably predict success or lack of it for any individual student because the LSAT does not take into consideration many key ingredients to success, including “grit.”

Look at the Memphis Grizzlies. They’ve made the NBA playoffs for six straight years without any superstars. Their motto,

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You Are About to Enter the Sex Worker Zone

A Zurich friend sent along this sign in Kleinbasler in Basel, intended to alert sex workers of new “tolerance zones,” designed to impose more control over prostitution, which is legal in Switzerland.

According to this article, “there has been a high turnover of prostitutes recently, mainly from EU countries in Eastern Europe, who are increasing competition, creating price falls and making it hard to convey the rules.”

The competition led to demands by locals for more restrictions. There are currently 800 sex workers in Basel. Police made 120 arrests last year for working outside of designated zones.

Thanks to Pat Crowell.

Read more…

Don’t Store Explosives Next to Your Space Heater

Don’t point space heaters at cans of gasoline five inches away.

Well, it’s not quite that bad, but this warning in a package of instructions for a small space heater (maybe 10 by 12 inches)seems almost as obvious. Not faulting the manufacturer. No doubt fires, probably a lot of them, have started because consumers unwisely placed heaters next to each of the listed flammable materials, probably including cans of gasoline.

U.S. products liability law does not require warnings against “obvious dangers.” But what’s obvious? If people regularly suffer harm using a product in a dangerous way is it because the danger isn’t obvious or because product users frequently

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Smoke Detector Warning Under Fire

Not surprisingly, the product warnings accompanying smoke detectors are extensive. Smoke detector manufacturers have been held liable in lawsuits when the detector failed to work properly and harm resulted to residents. (This short article on a law firm website provides a few details.)

I bought a replacement smoke detector last week at Home Depot and, as always, enjoyed reading the product warnings and instructions.

They provided a lot of good advice, but surely the first item of “WHAT TO DO WHEN THE ALARM SOUNDS” could have been worded better:

Alert small children in the home.

Maybe I’m quibbling, but I have three issues with this instruction.

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Warning: Always Read Fine Print

Grains such as barley and wheat used to make beer contain gluten (although gluten-free beer can be made from grains such as sorghum, buckwheat, rice, and millet).

Can gluten be removed from traditional beer grains? During the middle of our products liability coverage in first-year Torts, a student sent this photo of a beer carton boasting in bold capital letters “CRAFTED TO REMOVE GLUTEN.”

The beer was of interest to the student, who suffers from celiac disease. Persons with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, cannot consume gluten because their bodies will mistakenly react to gluten as if it were a poison.

But then she came to

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Spot the Tort: Another Rolling Tort on the Highway

Here’s another “rolling tort”; i.e., a dangerous condition on a road or highway.

We look at these things lightly at Lawhaha.com, but large objects that come loose from a vehicle present a substantial risk of injury or death to those traveling behind.

Other examples of Rolling Torts are here, here, and here. Or just sift through the entries under “Spot the Tort.”

–Thanks to Larry Peters.

Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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