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Get the same foundational knowledge as lawyers - without law school. In the 48 lectures of Law School for Everyone, four exceptional law professors recreate key parts of the first-year law student experience, introducing you to the areas of law most every beginning student studies: litigation and legal practice, criminal law and procedure, civil procedure, and torts.

Law School for Everyone is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (48 episodes). The series first aired on September 22, 2017.

Law School for Everyone is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Law School for Everyone on demand atAmazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy, The Roku Channel online.

The Great Courses Signature Collection
1 Season, 48 Episodes
September 22, 2017
Cast: Molly Bishop Shadel, Joseph L. Hoffmann
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Law School for Everyone Full Episode Guide

  • What are punitive damages? Why do we have them? How can the legal system rein in out-of-control juries? To get answers to these three questions, look to a case that's long been the symbol of a legal system run amok: Liebeck v. McDonald's Restaurants, or the case of the spilled hot coffee.

  • Here, Professor Cheng dives into modern products liability doctrine. What kinds of product defects qualify for this treatment? What kinds of products and manufacturers qualify? What's the effect of government regulations in certain cases? How are these massive cases, sometimes involving thousands of plaintiffs, resolved?

  • Tort law isn't fixed in stone but instead evolves to meet a changing society. Case in point: the development of modern products liability law. In the first of two lectures on the subject, walk through some elegant cases in torts to determine why products liability has promoted litigation on a massive scale.

  • The focus of this lecture is on negligence or other culpable conduct on the part of the plaintiff. What does tort law say about what happens when a plaintiff is at fault? Just how much of a two-way street is an issue like safety? For some answers, look to seat belts.

  • First, take a closer look at vicarious liability, a tort doctrine that states an employer is strictly liable for torts committed by employees during the scope of their employment. Then, consider the related tort doctrine of joint and several liability, which deals with when multiple parties contribute to a tort.

  • Cases involving legal causation and the foreseeability test are the favorites of many law professors. Using one of the most famous cases in the torts canon, Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, discover why legal causation is so intricately linked to policy, our sense of justice, and moral responsibility.

  • Of all the doctrines in tort law, factual causation appears to be the most scientific and value-neutral. The truth, however, may surprise you. Learn why determinations about causation aren't simple, but do matter - a lot. Also, consider whether the causation question is more philosophical than scientific.

  • Lawyers define rules as the alternative to flexible, case-specific standards. Rules, as you'll discover in this lecture, have their advantages and disadvantages over standards - but they all take power and discretion away from the jury. Professor Cheng uses an example that hits close to home for many of us: speed limits.

  • In this lecture, investigate the concepts of reasonable care and the concept the legal system uses to determine it: the reasonable person. You'll consider the meaning of reasonable care, debates over the proper definition of "fault," the relationship between reasonable care and cost-benefit analysis, and more.

  • Start your whirlwind tour of torts with an exam question Professor Cheng gives to his own students: one that will introduce you to the history, complexity - and oddities - of this aspect of law. What behaviors does tort law expect from us? What harms can we be responsible for?

  • Trial courts, intermediate courts of appeals, the Supreme Court - different courts play different roles in our legal system. First, consider when a party is allowed to appeal a decision by a trial court. Then, consider the standards of review that appellate courts apply when reviewing trial court decisions.

  • The subject of this lecture isn't about getting a case right - it's about getting a case over with. Consider the rules that prevent parties from relitigating matters that courts have already decided. What's the difference between prior litigation and subsequent litigation? Several important cases offer illuminating insights.

  • How does one tell whether a particular rule of state law is procedural or, instead, substantive? Which law applies - and when? Here, a famous case between two taxicab transfer companies offers an extreme and fascinating illustration of the procedural problems that can arise between federal and state courts.

  • Juries undoubtedly play an important role in civil procedure, even in cases that don't end up having a trial before a jury. Here, consider the virtues and drawbacks of having juries decide issues in civil suits, then explore the scope of this right as guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment.

  • No, the discovery process isn't glamorous. But it's important in that it allows parties access to information to support their claims and defenses. How do we define the "scope of discovery," as well as terms like "substantial need" and "work product"? How can the process be used to wear down plaintiffs?

  • Lawsuits today often involve multiple plaintiffs suing multiple defendants on multiple claims. How does this kind of complex litigation work? First, consider the rules governing "joinder" - when claims and parties can be joined in one suit. Then, turn to a familiar (and special) multi-party suit: the class action.

  • Continue your look at personal jurisdiction by examining how the approach evolved into its modern standard, as well as the limits this approach places on the power of a plaintiff to haul a defendant into court far from the defendant's home. Central to this: 1945's International Shoe Co. v. Washington.

  • Just because a court has jurisdiction over a case doesn't mean it has jurisdiction over the defendant. Enter personal jurisdiction. Learn why this doctrine hasn't been constant over time, the importance of the (eventually replaced) Pennoyer ruling, and when an out-of-state defendant should be subject to personal jurisdiction.

  • Professor Smith discusses jurisdiction: the power of the courts to hear a case and to render a judgment. As you'll discover, there are really two different types of jurisdiction, one of which is subject matter jurisdiction, which refers to the court's authority to hear cases concerning a particular subject matter.

  • What makes civil procedure different from all other courses law students encounter in their first year of school? Using a hypothetical lawsuit and two Supreme Court cases, explore the broad set of issues and questions any system of litigation must address, including the procedures needed to clear a person's name.

  • "You have the right to remain silent." These are perhaps the most famous words in American criminal justice. In this lecture, investigate the historical and legal background of the Supreme Court's 1966 Miranda decision. Professor Hoffmann builds his lecture around two key issues at the heart of this still-controversial decision.

  • According to the Fifth Amendment, "no person...shall be compelled to be a witness against himself." Examine the history of this core aspect of the Bill of Rights. Learn how the amendment works in and out of court, how the privilege has become subject to compromises over time, and what "pleading the fifth" actually requires.

  • Continue looking at the Fourth Amendment. How do search warrants work? Can police enter a home without a warrant? Topics include the exclusionary rule, which provides that evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment be excluded from criminal prosecutions, and the vague standard of "probable cause."

  • In the first of two lectures on the Fourth Amendment, go inside the fascinating history behind the topic of government searches and privacy rights. You'll consider the scope of the Fourth Amendment, learn what defines "search" and "seizure," and ponder the role of modern technology in affecting how the Fourth Amendment works.

  • Powell v. Alabama, better known as the Scottsboro case, is one of the most important in the history of American criminal procedure law. Where did the Supreme Court find the legal authority to force states to provide all criminal defendants, regardless of race or economic station, with fundamental rights?

  • Pore over the "cruel and unusual punishments" clause of the Eighth Amendment in search of why the Supreme Court has had so much trouble applying this provision to real-world criminal cases. By the end of this lecture, you'll realize why the Eighth Amendment is considered by some legal experts to be a constitutional enigma.

  • The U.S. federal government might be the most powerful government in the world - but it's power to prohibit and punish crimes is relatively constrained. In this intriguing lecture, Professor Hoffmann reveals the important distinctions in scope, meaning, and effect between state criminal law and federal criminal law in the United States.

  • Turn to self-defense and get a better understanding of how criminal law tries to balance between the rights of the threatened and those who are threats. Along the way, consider issues including "the retreat doctrine," the "battered spouse syndrome," "stand your ground" laws, and the use of deadly force by the police.

  • Homicides, according to Professor Hoffmann, are unique among crimes. In this lecture, examine the pyramid of homicidal crimes, including involuntary manslaughter, second-degree murder, and first-degree murder. Also, consider several real-world examples that highlight the issue of culpability in homicide, including the case of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted suicides.

  • In this lecture, explore the fundamental requirement of mens rea, or the guilty mind. Topics here include: how criminal intent is traditionally defined, the relationship between malice and motive, what happens when a defendant claims to lack a guilty mind, and the concept of criminal liability without fault (known as strict liability).

  • To understand how criminal law works, you first have to understand what a crime is. What are the purposes of criminal law? Why is textualism so important to distinguishing the bygone era of common-law crimes from those of the 21st century? Who are the key players involved in defining a crime?

  • A case argued before the Supreme Court of the United States is one of great significance. First, consider the history and evolution of the Supreme Court over the centuries. Then, using Citizens United v. FEC, gain insights into how political and ideological dynamics within the Court affect the cases brought before it.

  • When people criticize the United States as an overly litigious society, they're often referring to its system of appellate review. How, exactly, do appellate courts operate? How do lawyers file appellate briefs or make oral arguments for an appeal? Professor Shadel helps you make sense of the appellate process.

  • Closing arguments are a chance for lawyers to connect all the dots for the jury. In this lecture, study one powerful example of a successful closing argument: Johnnie Cochran's on behalf of O.J. Simpson. Then, consider some of the things a lawyer shouldn't do when closing a case.

  • Explore how lawyers cross-examine a witness without losing control, without eliciting unexpected answers, and without offending the jury. Along the way, you'll learn tips for effective cross-examination, study the cross-examination skills of renowned civil and criminal defense attorney Roy Black, and learn about the process of conducting impeachments.

  • Why are innocent people sometimes convicted of crimes they didn't commit? Often, it's because a jury is persuaded by problematic evidence. How do lawyers navigate these troubled legal waters? Investigate three of the most important kinds of flawed evidence: false confessions, mistaken eyewitness identification, and flawed "expert" evidence.

  • During a trial, any lapse in a lawyer's attention could be extremely costly. Enter the task of voicing objections. Here, look at some of the most common types of evidentiary issues that might call for objections and learn why lawyers get only one shot at raising one.

  • Direct examination has been popularized by countless TV crime dramas. But how does it work in a real courtroom? In this lecture, learn how lawyers figure out whom to put on the witness stand, what questions they should ask, and how to prepare witnesses for their day in court.

  • A powerful opening statement requires many things: credibility, persuasion, logic. Using the George Zimmerman and O.J. Simpson trials as case studies, go inside the (sometimes tricky) art of crafting palpable opening statements that grab the jury's attention and leave it eager to hear the testimony to come.

  • Continuing with the case of George Zimmerman, explore the intricate nature of trial strategy that takes place away from the jury's eyes. Learn how lawyers operate before a trial, and how a jury is selected. Also, examine how media coverage impacts what happens inside (and outside) the courtroom.

  • To think like a lawyer, you have to approach legal doctrine actively and critically. Here, Professor Shadel teaches you how to read cases with an eye for particular concepts every good lawyer must keep in mind, including the role of precedent, inductive and deductive reasoning skills, and the use of analogies.

  • In this lecture, use a 1963 Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright, as a window into the relationship between litigation and the American legal system. You'll explore why we adopted this particular system, how it works, and why we teach law in America the way we do. #Literature & Learning