Luck of the Irish?

–From J. Stephen Donovan, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, Date of event: 1989

I was in the frat man/jock contingent in first year. When we got to a case about flammable pajamas in Torts, the professor asked, rhetorically, “On whom should we call today?”

I blurted “Falbo” at the same time the four guys behind me, including Falbo, knowing I had not read the case, announced “Donovan.” The prof, somewhat dismayed by this response to his clearly rhetorical question, chose me. After 45 minutes of Socratic back-and-forth during which I managed to hold my own, the prof finally asked something fact-specific about the case.

I responded, “I don’t know, I haven’t actually read it. That’s why I suggested you call on Mr. Falbo.”

He replied, “Too bad, you were doing quite well. You had me fooled. Very well … Mr. Falbo, please address my last question.” Then he proceeded to hang Falbo for the last 15 minutes.

McClurg footnote:Out of professorial curiosity, I wrote back asking the author, J. Stephen Donovan, how he managed to fake out the professor for 45 minutes when he hadn’t read the case. He replied that he wasn’t sure, but speculated it might have something to do with his being Irish.

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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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