Law School for Everyone

Watch Law School for Everyone

  • 2017
  • 1 Season

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.

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Punitive Damages and Their Limits
48. Punitive Damages and Their Limits
September 22, 2017
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.
Products Liability Today
47. Products Liability Today
September 22, 2017
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?
The Rise of Products Liability
46. The Rise of Products Liability
September 22, 2017
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.
Animals, Blasting, and Strict Liability
45. Animals, Blasting, and Strict Liability
September 22, 2017
Explore traditional strict liability through the lens of two common kinds of claims that don't require negligence: damage caused by animals and damage caused by ultra-hazardous blasts and explosions. Along the way, examine whether or not strict liability really is all that different from conventional negligence.
When Tort Plaintiffs Share the Blame
44. When Tort Plaintiffs Share the Blame
September 22, 2017
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.
Liability for the Acts of Others
43. Liability for the Acts of Others
September 22, 2017
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.
Legal Causation and Foreseeability
42. Legal Causation and Foreseeability
September 22, 2017
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.
The Complexities of Factual Causation
41. The Complexities of Factual Causation
September 22, 2017
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.
Rules versus Standards of Care
40. Rules versus Standards of Care
September 22, 2017
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.
Reasonable Care and the Reasonable Person
39. Reasonable Care and the Reasonable Person
September 22, 2017
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.
Legal Duty to Others
38. Legal Duty to Others
September 22, 2017
While we're morally obligated to help others, we're not necessarily legally obligated to help, regardless of what religious and ethical authorities may advise. Welcome to the concept of affirmative duty. Here, learn why this rule exists, examine legislative efforts to change it, and consider some well-established exceptions to the rule.
The Calamitous World of Tort Law
37. The Calamitous World of Tort Law
September 22, 2017
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?
Appeals and How They Are Judged
36. Appeals and How They Are Judged
September 22, 2017
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.
Relitigation and Preclusion
35. Relitigation and Preclusion
September 22, 2017
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.
Determining What Law Applies
34. Determining What Law Applies
September 22, 2017
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.
The Right to a Civil Jury Trial
33. The Right to a Civil Jury Trial
September 22, 2017
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.
Deciding a Case Before the Trial Ends
32. Deciding a Case Before the Trial Ends
September 22, 2017
In this lecture, consider the mechanisms of a motion for summary judgment, by which a judge can resolve a suit with something less than a complete trial. Central to this lecture are two important cases that highlight the nuances of this type of motion: Celotex v. Catrett and Denman v. Spain.
The Use and Abuse of Discovery
31. The Use and Abuse of Discovery
September 22, 2017
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?
Understanding Complex Litigation
30. Understanding Complex Litigation
September 22, 2017
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.
The Role of Pleadings
29. The Role of Pleadings
September 22, 2017
Pleading is the process by which parties inform one another, and the court, of their allegations, claims, and defenses. Go inside the first step in the pre-trial process for a close look at the rules that govern pleading. As you'll learn, the rules governing pleading can make - or break - a suit.
A Modern Approach to Personal Jurisdiction
28. A Modern Approach to Personal Jurisdiction
September 22, 2017
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.
Jurisdiction over the Defendant
27. Jurisdiction over the Defendant
September 22, 2017
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.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
26. Subject Matter Jurisdiction
September 22, 2017
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.
Procedural Rights and Why They Matter
25. Procedural Rights and Why They Matter
September 22, 2017
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.
Plea Bargains, Jury Trials, and Justice
24. Plea Bargains, Jury Trials, and Justice
September 22, 2017
Ninety-percent of all criminal cases, surprisingly, don't end in a trial but in a plea bargain. In this lecture, consider both plea bargains and criminal trials and how they complement one another. How - and why - did plea bargains come to dominate American justice? How does the jury system work?
Miranda and Police Interrogations
23. Miranda and Police Interrogations
September 22, 2017
"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.
The Fifth Amendment Privilege
22. The Fifth Amendment Privilege
September 22, 2017
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.
The Shrinking Warrant Requirement
21. The Shrinking Warrant Requirement
September 22, 2017
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."
Government Searches and Privacy Rights
20. Government Searches and Privacy Rights
September 22, 2017
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.
Due Process and the Right to Counsel
19. Due Process and the Right to Counsel
September 22, 2017
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?
Cruel and Unusual Punishments
18. Cruel and Unusual Punishments
September 22, 2017
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.
Federal Crimes and Federal Power
17. Federal Crimes and Federal Power
September 22, 2017
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.
The Law of Self-Defense
16. The Law of Self-Defense
September 22, 2017
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.
Homicide and Moral Culpability
15. Homicide and Moral Culpability
September 22, 2017
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.
Crime and the Guilty Mind
14. Crime and the Guilty Mind
September 22, 2017
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).
Who Defines Crimes, and How?
13. Who Defines Crimes, and How?
September 22, 2017
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?
Arguing before the Supreme Court
12. Arguing before the Supreme Court
September 22, 2017
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.
Understanding the Appellate Process
11. Understanding the Appellate Process
September 22, 2017
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: Driving Your Theory Home
10. Closing Arguments: Driving Your Theory Home
September 22, 2017
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.
Controlling Cross-Examination
9. Controlling Cross-Examination
September 22, 2017
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.
Problematic Evidence
8. Problematic Evidence
September 22, 2017
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.
The Art of Objection
7. The Art of Objection
September 22, 2017
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: Questioning Your Witness
6. Direct Examination: Questioning Your Witness
September 22, 2017
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.
Opening Statements: The Moment of Primacy
5. Opening Statements: The Moment of Primacy
September 22, 2017
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.
Trial Strategy behind the Scenes
4. Trial Strategy behind the Scenes
September 22, 2017
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.
Representing Your Client
3. Representing Your Client
September 22, 2017
All lawyers have responsibilities to their clients and to the integrity of the justice system. But what are the bounds of a lawyer's responsibility in representing a client? What's confidential and what's not? For answers to these and other questions, consider challenges arising in the State of Florida v. George Zimmerman.
Thinking like a Lawyer
2. Thinking like a Lawyer
September 22, 2017
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.
Litigation and the American Legal System
1. Litigation and the American Legal System
September 22, 2017
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
Description

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.

Where to Watch Law School for Everyone

Law School for Everyone is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Law School for Everyone on demand at Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Amazon, Kanopy and Hoopla.

  • Premiere Date
    September 22, 2017