Evidence #2: Admissibility

Steve has sent me a good-sized round of podcasts on Evidence — I’m currently working on getting them setup for publishing, but we hope to have them all out in time for midterms.

In Episode #2 of Evidence, Steve covers Federal Rules of Evidence 407-411 which touch on exclusions of evidence that, despite being relevant, isn’t admissible.

Rule 407. Subsequent Remedial Measures

Rule 408. Compromise and Offers to Compromise

Rule 409. Payment of Medical and Similar Expenses

Rule 410. Inadmissibility of Pleas, Plea Discussions, and Related Statements

Rule 411. Liability Insurance

Evidence #1: Relevence

I’d like to start off by welcoming Steve Wasick to the Life of a Law Student team!

Steve is a 2L at Northwestern University who has taken the time out of his studies to create a new series for us based on his Evidence class.  Thank you, Steve and we appreciate your hard work!

In this, the inaugural episode of Evidence, Steve covers Evidence, covering the following:

Rule 401: Definition of “Relevant Evidence.”

Rule 402: Admissibility based on relevance.

Rule 104(b): Conditional relevance.

The Art of the Law School Transfer

As many of you know, I transferred law schools after my 1L year. Many law students consider transferring after their 1L year, generally to move to a higher ranked school.

I transferred because I was marrying someone out of state (and dropping a little in the law school rankings), so I didn’t have the same academic pressure. Unfortunately, that transfer process did not go smoothly for me.

Thankfully, a LoaLS listener has written a comprehensive guide on transferring, appropriately entitled The Art of the Law School Transfer. I provided my narrative as an epilogue, and the book is now available! The author was kind enough to send me a review copy.

Here’s my official “review” of The Art of the Law School Transfer: “Any law student that isn’t 100% satisfied with their current school should invest the time and money to read this book. Well-written, practical, and comprehensive, The Art of the Law School Transfer walks you through the entire tightrope that is transferring: from whether you should consider transferring to how to succeed at your new school.”

You can buy The Art of the Law School Transfer via Amazon.com

- Neil

A Plea to New Law Students

Among other things, I am Firearms Instructor.

When I tell people this, it’s usually a 50/50 split as to whether their eyes are filled with fear or interest.  Minds have been conditioned by the media and social biases that “Guns are bad.”  When I counsel students at the college where I work who are starting their education in legal studies, I ask them a few questions (this works a bit better during an election year):

1) Do you think guns should be banned?
2) The guy who held the sign “You’re a Liar” in the front row of an Obama/Bush rally — should  he have been escorted out?
3) Should a person be allowed to wear their pants low so you can see their boxers?
4) Are DUI checkpoints a good idea?

Each of these issues deals with specific individual freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, some of which have been compromised, but all of which usually (8 times out of 10) solicit an expected knee-jerk response from the person I’m asking.  So, here is my plea to you — the incoming 1L class:

Wait. When you’re asked a question such as the one above, bite your tongue and prevent yourself from giving the “right” answer…  The “right” answer being common sense.  Instead, take a few moments and think, not just about the rights of the people and public safety, but of the rights of the individual.  Remember that “the people” are comprised of individuals and each of us has inalienable rights — remember your Con Law case studies…  Once you’ve taken everything into account, then give the “correct” answer.

Express. When you have a spirited debate, pot shots are bound to happen, but I beg that, while you should debate and defend your position with zeal, that you do so as civily as possible.  Resorting to foul language can instantly destroy any credibility you may have built and you will most certainly loose any respect gained by your opponent.

Love. Our Constitution is a wonderfully glorious thing — it laid the foundations for our individual freedoms and our way of living.  If, at this very moment, you believe that jump-out squads and curfews are good for public safety; if you believe someone who says, “Fuck” in public should be cited with disorderly conduct; if you think that police should be allowed to require you to show them your ID at will…  I beg of you to learn all of the reasons to hate these ideas and love your Constitution and freedoms it provides you.  Research the case history and learn WHY obvious criminals are let go because an officer illegally siezed a weapon and cherrish that.  Understand that the laws that let suspects off on “technicalities” aren’t just there for them, but that every single day they protect people like you.

Once you’ve done this, if you still believe your previous notions were correct then, by all means, return to them.  You’ll go back, not only with an appreciation for the other side, but you’ll be better able to defend your position because you will understand your opponent and their line of reasoning.

Good luck on your Fall semester, my friends…  keep up with your reading and remember to challenge your mind every single day.

LoaLS #1 on Online Schools Blog Choice

I found out this morning that Life of a Law Student is the top choice over at OnlineSchools.Org on their list of 100 Best Blogs for Law School Students.

“Law school is an arduous ordeal few are prepared to undertake. In recent years, the proliferation of technology has made it easier for students to get study tips, career advice or anything else they may need. Blogs have been especially useful for sharing information between people. Whether you’re already in law school or are thinking about applying check out the 100 best blogs for law school students.”

Head on over to their Blog Post and check out their article!

Fixing Podcasts

Greetings, folks!

So, in the course of migration from Podango, several of our podcasts had become corrupted.  I have begun restoring the process from DVD backup, though it will take a while.  Criminal Law has been fixed as well as Property Law — the others will need to be manually edited since our automated process for assembling the episode together with the intro and outro is gone.

I appreciate your patience!

Feed Woes Update

It pays to be a programmer sometimes.

I just finished writing a script to migrate our database so the podcasts, which previously pointed to the Podango feed, now point to a valid source location.  You can now listen to our podcasts through the website or you can subscribe to the various classes at our feedpage — you can click the iTunes Subscribe button and it will add that feed to the list of your podcasts using iTunes as your podcatcher.  You can find our feed list here: http://www.lifeofalawstudent.com/podcast-feeds/

NOTE: Subscribing through the iTunes Store will still be problematic as we have to speak with iTunes support to make that change for us and those types of requests usually take some time to process.   So, we’d greatly appreciate it if you could pass along the word about the update.

Oh, and Happy New Year folks. :)