About Law:

These courses are about a basic broad-brush approach to Anglo-American Legal Environment of Business.

It’s based in the Anglo-American Common Law, which is a system of jurisprudence that originated in England, adopted in the US, and is based on precedence and case law instead of statutes.  In Ye Olde England, there were typically two types of Courts – Courts of Law and Courts of Equity.  In Courts of Law, judges applied the statutes.  In Courts of Equity, judges “created” laws on a case by case basis.  This “case law” or “common law” applied unless when a statute provided otherwise.

To give some consistency, judges followed the previously decided cases or precedents.  That principal of consistency is called “stare decisis” (which is Latin for “Let the decision stand.”  Judges and lawyers like Latin because it is a beautiful language – and you can confuse your client.)

That doesn’t mean that judges follow precedent blindly. They can re-examine and if needed overrule prior decisions.  But stare decisis and the common law can help individuals and businesses plan because it gives them a predictability, certainty and stability in certain governing rules of law.

HolmesOliver Wendell Holmes in his book on The Common Law put it this way:

“The life of the law has not been logic.  It has been experience. The felt necessities of the time, the prevalent moral and political theories, intuitions of public policy, avowed or unconscious, even the prejudices which judges share with their fellow-men, have had a good deal more to do than the syllogism in determining the rules by which men should be governed. The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics. In order to know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become.”

I place a heavy emphasis on class participation in all of my classes. I do this because I firmly believe you have a responsibility not only to take something from class, but also to give something back. I also believe that we learn so much from each other. And I guarantee that I will learn as much from you as you from me. I firmly believe that I am not the “sage on the stage,” but rather, “the guide on the side.”

Having said the above, what is “Class Participation?” It is definitely not “white noise.” It is definitely not how much you say, but rather what you say.

hammurabi319The concept that I have been using to measure participation was originally designed by Edward Clarke (“Grading Seminar Performance,” in College Teaching, Summer, 1985 pp. 129-133) (which I know some of you will say that 1985 is ancient history – but please compare that with the Code of Hammurabi, whose picture is here)

Class Participation

Your reflections in class should demonstrate:

  • Content Mastery — Your ability to understand the facts, concepts, and theories introduced.
  • Communication Skills –You should be able to ask clear, constructive questions, and build on others ideas.
  • Synthesis/ Integration — You should be able to make a connection between this material and other material
  • Creativity – You should use that material to generate your own insights and applications
  • Valuing – You should be able to identify values inherent to the material and offer rationales based on some value system

You get out of this class what you put into it.

“But, I’m shy!!!!!!”   Really, well so am I.  But, we all have to get over it!

I hope this gives you a clear picture of what I expect how it is valued. If you have any questions, please remember that my door is always open.