Thursday, February 11, 2010

Janet Jackson Teaches Contracts

Everyone in law school has had that one, unforgettable teacher. The one that scares the crap out of you but also makes you smile. The one that has left a lasting impression on you. The one that embodies the entirety of your lawschool experience: fear, passion, amazement, anticipation, and dread. That one teacher who makes the law come alive (if only for 50 minutes three times a week). The one that invests all he has into you and in return expects nothing but your best.

For me that teacher was Prof. Mahmud.

He would impound upon us the importance of an enforcable promise (if a hypothetical contract was not enforcable he would tell the hypothetical plaintiff to "go to hell"). He dressed up in a devil costume for an after school party he threw for us (inspired by "go to hell"). When he called on a student, he would cock his finger into the air as if he were wielding a hangun. If they got it wrong, he would aim and shoot right at their face (one guy messed up so badly, he found himself looking down the barrel of a two-handed rifle.)

This professor's story in itself is inspiring. He came to the US from India. His first job in the US was working for a Seven Eleven. He inspired a group of us to go down to New Orleans and help out in the wake of Hurrican Katrina. He told it like it was. No pretentious BS. He was a fan of alcohol and made it know to us all. His most commonly spoke phrase was "hell, damn, no!" That is by far my favorite "swear" phrase.

But as I prepare for the bar exam, one thing he taught me stands out far above everything else. Thanks to this man, I can be comforted by the fact that I will never fail to spot and analyze a "consideration" issue. Each time I see a contract formation problem, I remember his trick for learning consideration: he sang a Janet Jackson song.

"Ooh, ooooh, oooh. What have you done for me lately?"

Consideration must have legal value "WHAT."

It must be something untertaken by the promisee "have YOU."

Benefitting the promisor "done for ME."

That cannot be a prior obligation "LATELY."

Throw in some extra "oooh"s for good measure: "ooh, oooh, oooh!"

And that concludes the most useful blogpost I will ever write.


Butterflyfish said...

that is AWESOME

Tree Hugging 2L said...

please tell me you also listened to the Barbi Property lesson - wherein they deal with a hypothetical "Mrs. Jackson" who isn't aware of the law of fixtures - at which point the lecturer busts out "I'm sorry Ms. Jackson...I am for reeealll." Awesome.

Cee said...

oh man! my barbri lecture didn't have that!! DARN!