We Interrupt this Civil Procedure Class to Bring You . . .

–From Andy Martinez, University of Wisconsin Law School, Date of event: Fall 2003

During a lecture in my first year Civil Procedure class at the University of Wisconsin, my professor, who had a reputation for being slightly wacky, received a call on her cell phone. She stopped mid-sentence, looked through her purse, pulled out her cell phone, and answered the call and then hung up. She apologized, saying she didn’t know how to turn the phone from ring to vibrate.

Later in the semester, she was giving another lecture, and the cell phone goes off again. She took it out, and looked at it. She said she had to take the call, and everyone in the lecture hall looked at each other, thinking “Is she serious?” So the professor goes out of the room and starts talking.

What she apparently forgot, or didn’t care about, is that she was wearing a wireless microphone so that she could be heard in the lecture hall. So everyone in the class is listening in on her side of the conversation. It turns out that the phone call that was so important she had to take it during class wasn’t about some important case or anything like that, but about her dog’s visit to a vet! She came back, and the class sat, stunned.

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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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