Thunder Saves Student in Labor Law

–From Jerry E. Stephens, University of Kansas School of Law, Date of event: Spring 1975

I had labor law at the University of Kansas under Professor Ray Goetz in the mid 1970s. Goetz was a truly outstanding teacher. He was able to refer to some momentous labor arbitration—particularly involving major league baseball—to spice up his lectures. But Ray Goetz could also be intimidating, particularly when he would look over the top of his reading glasses at students giving inane answers and comments.

He did have one redeeming virtue: he would call students for class recitation in classroom seating order. That gave students a rough estimate of the likelihood of being called on that class day and the next, and saved on some class preparation at times.

As it happened one rainy Saturday morning, the majority of those ahead of me skipped class. That left only two classmates ahead of me for class recitation that day. Neither did very well and Goetz was getting particularly exasperated.

Then he called on unprepared me. Just as I opened my mouth to answer there was a huge clap of thunder. Goetz probably sensed that I was unprepared. He looked directly at me and said that the thunder might have been the best answer I was going to muster that day. So he skipped me and turned to the next student in the row, who was much better prepared than I was.


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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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