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 13-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 take a look at The “Companion Text” to Law School: Understanding and Surviving Life with a Law Student.  Named an Amazon Editors’ Favorite Book of the Year!

Smoke Detector Warning Under Fire

Smoke Detector Fire AdviceNot 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.

First, the word “Alert” seems way too unemphatic.  “Hey kids, the house is on fire.  Just wanted to let you know.”

Second, why alert only the small children?  Don’t all children deserve to be alerted that the house may be on fire?

Third, why limit the alerting to children at all?  I picture the homeowner whispering: “Kids, the house is on fire.  Shhh.  Don’t wake Grandma.”

I suggest the following substitute:


• Scream at the top of your lungs “Everyone run for your lives!”

Just kidding.  Here’s my free, serious expert products liability/linguistics legal suggestion:

Immediately alert all persons in the house.

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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New – 1L of a Ride Video Course!

1L of a Ride Video Course Marketing Video

Check out some sample video clips for the new 1L of a Ride Video Course (West Academic Press 2016) 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 roughly 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.

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Spot the Tort: Another Rolling Tort on the Highway

Another Rolling Tort

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.

Beware of Tripping Alligators and Fake Warning Signs

Don't Feed Hallucinogens to Alligators

This sign warning “Do Not Feed Hallucinogens to Alligators” would be amusing if it were real, but it’s not.

Complicating life at Lawhaha.com, where we love to post interesting warning labels and signs, is the proliferation of fake, Photoshopped samples.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell. University of Memphis first-year law student George Scoville sent me the alligators picture. It looked a bit sketchy. Research led to a Reddit post detailing indicators that the picture is fake, including, for example, a Shutterstock watermark on the mushroom.

But George had also sent a second similar photo: “Do Not Give the Bison Psychoactive Substances.” This one

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Freudian Slip By Defense Lawyer?

Sigmund Freud

What would this guy have to say about it?

When a defense lawyer in a defective building case says “scare and kill” when he means to say “care and skill,” is that just being tongue-tied, or is it a Freudian slip?

From a judge friend comes this:

In a recent motion hearing in a multi-party construction case, the attorney for the developer of the allegedly defective building intended to refer in his argument to his client’s “care and skill” in constructing the involved building. He got a little tongue-tied, however: instead of referring to his client’s construction method as involving “care and skill,”

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No Prejudice in This Dismissal


A lawyer friend in Jacksonville, FL sent along this funny story about a plaintiff who objected to his complaint being dismissed “with prejudice”:

At a mediation, a settlement agreement was reached, so the mediator formalized it in a written document. The plaintiff’s lawyer was going over each of the terms in the document with the plaintiff. When they got to the term that stated “Plaintiff will dismiss the Complaint with prejudice,” the client looked up and adamantly stated, “I will not! I am not prejudiced, and believe everyone is equal under the eyes of God.”

For non-lawyers, “dismissed with prejudice” is a

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Supreme Court Emoji Challenge

Thinky Emoji

Insurance law expert and all-around funny, clever guy Randy Maniloff has come up with a fun test for spelling out the names of 10 famous U.S. Supreme Court cases using only emoji. How did this come about? He explains in his latest issue of Coverage Opinions:

The other night I was out to dinner with my 9 year old daughter. As we waited for her mac & cheese to arrive I decided to give her a lesson on the Supreme Court. I figured I’d start with the basic operation of the federal judiciary. From there move on to some landmark Supreme Court cases.

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Warning: No Standing or Sitting Allowed

No Standing or Sitting in this Area

I guess we’ll have to take this one lying down because no standing or sitting is allowed. From a former student comes this sign at a baseball field in Burns Park, North Little Rock, Arkansas.

What is the sign really trying to convey? No loitering in this area? No people in this area? Under a strict construction, could you lie down in the area and be in compliance with the sign’s directive?

–Thanks for Shayne Smith.

The Golden Mean in the Gun Debate

Andrew Jay McClurg, In Search of the Golden Mean in the Gun Debate, 58 Howard Law Journal 779-809 (2015).

The American gun debate is stuck and has been for a long time. Both sides remain trapped by their own hyperbolic rhetoric and reasoning fallacies, with the result that partisans are being heard only by those who already agree with them. This essay asserts that there is such a thing as “reasonable middle ground” in the gun debate and seeks to prove it by analyzing five specific measures that have the potential to reduce gun violence without infringing legitimate Second Amendment rights:

(1) bolstering federal support for

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Santa Strikes Back

Uh-oh, Christmas is over and the old man in the red suit decided to retaliate over the lawsuit filed against him by the children of the world. Originally appeared in the December 2001 issue of the ABA Journal.

Santa Strikes Back


Readers may recall that holiday cheer was dampened two years ago when the children of the world filed a class action against Santa Claus (Santa Suit, Jan. 2000). That action remains pending as thousands of judges who have received gifts from the defendant continue to recuse themselves. Now

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Santa Suit

Children’s rights is a popular issue these days. One reason is that it is an impossible issue to oppose. A person can not stand up and say, “I oppose children’s rights.” Such a person would be reviled, especially by children. Of course, in our society we carry everything to extremes. Holiday cheer received a jolt yesterday with the announcement of a new lawsuit:

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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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