Lawdibles: Your Audio Law Professor. A law professor explaining a narrow area of law understandably and accurately in less than ten minutes.


Causation: Criminal Law vs. Torts – Leslie Yalof Garfield

April 22nd, 2010 · 1 Comment · All Posts, Criminal Law, Lawdibles Audio, Torts

In this Lawdible, Prof. Leslie Yalof Garfield of Pace Law School discusses the principles of causation, a concept addressed in several first year courses. Professor Garfield points out the difference and similarities between proving causation in Tort and proving causation in Criminal Law.

The discussion clearly highlights how the two concepts should be treated in each class.

CALI Lesson pairings: Causation in Fact (Torts) and Causation (Criminal Law)

Here’s Professor Garfield’s faculty profile.



Character Evidence: Evidence law’s anti-propensity inference rule and its exceptions. – Arthur Best

April 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments · All Posts, Evidence, Lawdibles Audio

Professor Arthur BestWhy does so much evidence about a defendant’s character get admitted, even though the law supposedly rejects the propensity inference? This question highlights a fundamental problem in evidence law – the shaky rationale for the anti-propensity rule, and the complications surrounding the many exceptions to the rule. Professor Arthur Best will address these issues and more in this character evidence Lawdible.

Apparently, even though there are big risks of prejudice and imprecision when we admit character evidence to show action in conformity with that character, some common-sense feelings about that evidence support the use of some major exceptions to the prohibition.

A defendant may introduce evidence of his or her own good character and may introduce evidence about an alleged victim’s character for aggressiveness, for example. The prosecution may respond with additional character evidence.  The combination of a general prohibition and a variety of exceptions suggests that the law may have only moderate allegiance to the basic anti-propensity rule.

CALI Lesson pairing: Character Evidence Under Federal Rules

Professor Best’s faculty profile is here.



How to select case law when writing a legal memo on a state law issue – Karin Mika

April 12th, 2010 · 1 Comment · All Posts, Lawdibles Audio, Legal Writing

Professor Karin MikaWriting a memo on a state law issue involves understanding the nature of jurisdiction and judicial hierarchy.  In case selection, the researcher is confronted with selecting the best cases that explain the law as well as selecting supplemental cases that provide for the best factual analogies.

In this Lawdible, Professor Karin Mika of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law gives advice on how to make the best case law selection when writing a memo covering a state law issue.

CALI Lesson Pairing: Decision Point: State or Federal?

Here is Professor Mika’s faculty profile.



Suspect’s Right to Counsel – Edwin Butterfoss

March 10th, 2010 · Comments Off on Suspect’s Right to Counsel – Edwin Butterfoss · All Posts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Lawdibles Audio

Edwin Butterfoss PictureBoth the fifth and the sixth amendments’ rights to legal counsel may apply when authorities are seeking information from a suspect. But how are these rights different? And in what situations do either of these rights apply?

In this Lawdible, Suspect’s Right To Counsel, Professor Edwin Butterfoss of Hamline University gives you a very straightforward  checklist for tackling the legal questions involved with a suspect’s right to an attorney.

CALI Lesson Pairings: Miranda I: Custody, Interrogation and Waiver and Miranda II: Assertion of the Rights, Exceptions, and Other Limits both written by Professor Butterfoss.

You can find Prof. Butterfoss’ Hamline faculty bio here.



Legal Issues in Cohabitation of Unmarried Couples – Len Biernat

March 2nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Legal Issues in Cohabitation of Unmarried Couples – Len Biernat · All Posts, Contracts, Family Law, Lawdibles Audio

Professor Len BiernatHow can unmarried adults protect their interests when living together outside of marriage? In this Lawdible, Professor Len Biernat answers this question and other legal issues involved in the cohabitation of unmarried couples. Along the way, he covers issues of family law and contract law that go along with this situation.

Audio: Legal Issues involving Cohabitation of Unmarried Couples by Len Biernat

CALI Lesson Pairing: Cohabitation

Find Professor Biernat’s bio here.



Hearsay: Truth of the Matter Asserted Questions – Arthur Best

February 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment · All Posts, Evidence, Lawdibles Audio

Professor Arthur BestThe standard, broad definition of hearsay is “an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of whatever it asserts.” The last part of the hearsay definition (“the truth of the matter of whatever it asserts”) is essential to understanding hearsay, but that part can be tricky for law students who first learn the hearsay rule. The fact is, not all statements in court are offered for the truth of the matter asserted.

In this Lawdible Professor Best covers different scenarios where one might offer an out-of court statement for reasons other than the truth of the matter asserted, such as to show that someone who heard a statement had notice or knowledge about something. The analysis reviews the underlying rationale for the hearsay rule, explaining how cross-examination can probe a speaker’s perception, memory, choice of words and apparent honesty. When those aspects of a speaker’s statement would be trivial, the hearsay bar is usually withdrawn.

Audio: Hearsay – How to tell if a statement is offered for truth of the matter asserted by Prof. Arthur Best

CALI Lesson Pairing: The Definition of Hearsay and the Federal Rules Part 2: Statements and What They Assert

Other CALI Lessons of interest:  The Concept of Hearsay, Hearsay From Square One: The Definition of Hearsay, and The Hearsay Rule & Its Exceptions

Arthur Best is a professor of law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He teaches Evidence and Torts, and is the author of a leading student guide to Evidence Law, Evidence: Examples and Explanations. He also is the editor of twice-yearly Supplement Volumes to the treatise Wigmore on Evidence



Can Simple Attorney Negligence Equal Incompetence? – Barbara Glesner Fines

February 22nd, 2010 · Comments Off on Can Simple Attorney Negligence Equal Incompetence? – Barbara Glesner Fines · All Posts, Lawdibles Audio, Professional Responsibility, Torts

Barbara Glesner FinesIn this Lawdible, Prof. Glesner Fines discusses a common question students have in her Professional Responsibility course: can a simple mistake, amounting to nothing more than negligence on the part of the attorney, equal incompetence and leave an attorney open to disciplinary action?

We know that simple negligence (for example, a missed filing deadline) can result in malpractice liability for the attorney. But the question about attorney discipline and incompetence for negligent errors is a trickier one. Listen to her Lawdible below for a further explanation.

Audio: Can Simple Negligence Equal Attorney Incompetence? – By Barbara Glesner Fines

If you like this Lawdible try Prof. Glesner Fines’ Professional Responsibility CALI Lesson on Basis for Attorney Discipline.

Find Professor Glesner Fines’ bio here.