Most Unsexy Class Ever

Over on the Law Prawfs blawg, Professor Lyrissa Lidsky (U. Florida Levin) wrote a post about “sexy” law classes (you know, the stuff that’s supposed to give you a break from ERISA regulations and secured transaction).  Based on how she talks about what she teaches, I think I’d rather stick my head in an oven than be in her class.

If you teach a class like Mass Media Law, or Entertainment Law, or Sports Law that sounds “sexy” or “fun” to students, you owe it to the students and yourself to go in the first day of class and dramatically lower students’ expectations before the class begins.  In Mass Media Law, for example, I give a speech that goes something like this.

Mass Media Law is about the law that affects the mass media as a business. This is not primarily a media policy class. We will discuss new technologies and the changing role of mass media in society, but only as it relates to legal developments.  You will leave this class having been administered a heavy dose of First Amendment law and First Amendment theory, so if you hated Constitutional Law, you will probably hate this class, too.  You will read Supreme Court cases as difficult and complicated as any of those you’ve studied in law school so far.  So I don’t want to hear any complaints that I didn’t warn you when we are piecing our way vote by vote through long and complicated constitutional cases.  On the other hand, if you are taking this class because you love Constitutional law, you may be disappointed to find out that you will have to learn about several other bodies of law, too.  Media Law, for example, has a heavy tort law component.  Some of the torts we will study, such as defamation, are more complex and convoluted than any you studied in your first-year Torts class.  Again, don’t say I didn’t warn you when we get there.   And if you are happy with the torts and constitutional law aspects of Media Law, you may be disappointed that we will also address various other bodies of law, including statutes and administrative regulations that affect the media.  Finally, at the end the day, if you do find you love Media Law as much as I do, you’ll probably be depressed to find that there are very few jobs in the area.  That said, Media Law will definitely improve your ability to analyze constitutional cases.  For some of you, it will be the only First Amendment Law you ever study in law school.  And a number of the things we will discuss may appear on the Bar exam in some way, shape or form.    But that’s really all I can promise.

Maybe you should have put that information in the course description, rather than in your first lecture?  I feel sorry for the kids who wasted their first choice spot on a class which, in the professor’s own assessment, is likely to disappoint them.

Not to worry though, Mass Media Law isn’t even offered at Levin College of Law in the upcoming year.  The school does offer a class just called Media Law, though I’m not sure if that’s the same thing.  Media Law isn’t available to students who are or have taken Legal Problems of Mass Communications.  But hey, that class isn’t offered in the next year either!

Perhaps during orientation Professor Lidsky should have given a speech more along the lines of:

Mass Media Law is about the law that affects the mass media as a business. This is not class that tends to show up on the syllabus. We will discuss new technologies and the changing role of mass media in society, but only as they show up as issues in other classes that are actually offered here.  You will leave this law school having never been exposed to First Amendment law and First Amendment theory, so if you hated Constitutional Law, you likely won’t have to relive any of it.  You will read Supreme Court cases as difficult and complicated as any of those you’ve studied in law school so far, but you will do so in other classes.  So, I don’t want to hear any complaints that I didn’t warn you when we are mortgaging your future one semester of tuition at a time.

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2 Responses to “Most Unsexy Class Ever”

  1. Shark Says:

    There is absoultely nothing sexy about sticking your head in any law professor’s oven. Take it from me, the fumes are noxious, even if the professor is cute, but don’t count on that.

  2. Seriously? Says:

    these comments are universally terrible

    we get it, you’re a frat boy

    move on

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