Thursday, December 20, 2007

Not enough explosions.

Prof: You can destroy feudalism with trusts if you want. The crusades and the plague did that pretty well too. But nobody makes movies about trusts. I don’t know why.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Not-so-sacred trusts

Prof: And this [part of trust law] has a whole different history completely apart from saving souls and dissing Benedictines.

Editor's note: Trust law is the Benedictines' fault! Really! Ask me about it sometime. Crazy monks...

Trial procedure explained.

Prof: There are two definitions for trusts, but I only had room for one on the board, and it’s the one I don’t like. It’s the one courts use when they want to mystify people, especially in jury instructions. The jury instruction is mostly a tool for mystification.

I never watch it.

Prof: I don’t know if you’d ever seen Dirty Sexy Money [TV show]. If you haven’t, don’t—it’s a waste of time… It’s on Wednesdays at 10, I think.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Is there a movie about you, too?

Prof: Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump. ... One day I was [somewhere in NC] and George Steinbrenner was out there, and needed directions or something. And he said, 'I'm George Steinbrenner.' And I thought, 'Yes, but how is that going to help you find the [expletive] ballpark?'

New source of tax law?

Prof: What is a 'treasure trove' under Regulation 1.61-14?
Student: Is it kind of like Scrooge McDuck?
Prof: Well, yes, but you have to follow the cartoon closely.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's true. Look it up.

[At professor's house]

Prof, to his young daughter, very seriously: Don't name your children Wayne. People named Wayne are more likely to go to jail.

Daughter: Why, Daddy?

Prof, earnestly: Science.

They said it more accurately represented our future jobs.

[regarding the new law school building being built]

Student 1: They said it's going to have showers!

Student 2: Wow. That's both awesome and depressing at the same time.

Monday, December 03, 2007


"When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the Earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor."

From a poster on

Thursday, November 29, 2007

That explains a lot.

Prof (re: stumbling across an interesting program while channel surfing): It was about the cocaine trade in Washington, D.C. ... and one guy said, 'At the start it was attorneys and professional people using this stuff.' And I thought to myself, 'Yeah, and it showed up in Revenue Ruling 88-111!'

Monday, November 26, 2007

Puppy Love

This cuted me out. It's kinda the reverse of the dog/cat interaction at my house.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Free speech with a vengeance

From two friends in a class taught by a prof who has been featured here before:

"This might be an opportunity - with so many people gone - to talk about them. Share some gossip or something."

"We're not going to talk about those cases, but I wanted you to know they're out there, because they're really funny. . . None of them are actually about beets, but I just enjoy saying it."

Monday, November 19, 2007

I want to live in this town.

Prof: And how much was the house appraised for?

Student: I think it was $29,000, which seems low for Welsley.

Prof: Yeah! You can’t buy a manhole cover in Welsley for $29,000! Apparently this is a town in which mansions can be appraised completely independently from their value.

The economics of 8AM classes

Prof: And by the way, if you’re only going to pay attention for 40 seconds this class, in the interest of allocation of a scarce good, you should listen to this…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mood lighting?

[Power goes off in classroom]

Prof: It's an austerity program on the part of the university to save money. ... Creates more ambiance having it this way, anyway.

That's how they pay attorneys?

Prof: Sometimes I do make more sense than attorneys, but that isn't saying a whole heck of a lot, since typically they don't want to make sense. Because if they do, they don't get paid.

All in a day's work....

From class today:

Prof (preparing to read part of a tax treatise aloud): This is sort of like Bible reading or something. ... It doesn't have quite the same morals or influence that the Bible has, but if you're in the partnership [tax] area it does have a . . . lot of influence.

Prof: There are several things you shouldn't do in life. Don't be the tax matters partner. It's right up there with signing payroll tax forms.

Prof: I've graded enough papers to know that--I hate to say it--I really could teach my cats better than I could teach some of these students.

Prof [brings up an especially difficult area of partnership tax]: I could assign that for the final project. I don't know if I have the courage to do that. I don't want to go home at night and find that my house is gone, my cats have disappeared....

Prof: I
think, at least by my standards, I’m fairly good-natured, and I’m not vindictive, which is more than I can say for many of my colleagues. … It’s not just here, it’s [other schools]. They go around in capes and robes and stuff, and berets, and they seem to think this exempts them from having to behave well toward other human beings. … It’s a problem in the academic world. … You can quote me on it, not that anybody would care anyway.
[Prof went on to say that most of his fellow-profs are very nice people. I think these comments were directed more toward academia in general.]

Prof: When I was younger, there was a requirement, which I sort of didn’t mind, that you [as a faculty member] had to attend graduation. … And it’s [expletive] hot out there, and somebody drones on for like 20 minutes, and then they have to hand out the diplomas or whatever. … They made the business school march in last. … So we marched up to the podium, and there wasn’t any room for us, so we just marched up to the back of the podium, and out the back door, and disappeared. And I haven’t been back since.

Prof (realizing that class time is ebbing away): Gosh, I've gone on and on, almost like a Mark Twain monologue or something.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

In fact, don't look like you're awake, either.

A professor of mine began class today with the following comic strip:

He followed it up with: "Here's a clue. If you do this in accounting class, don't smile. Nobody ever smiles when they're taking notes."

why all my legal docs have one-syllable words

Prof: I didn’t have room to write “testamentary” [on the board], and its spelling is often elusive anyway, so I just wrote “will.”

Tax planning?

Student: So if you got married in the middle of the year--
Prof: If you're married at the end of the year, you're treated as having been married the whole year.
Student: Oh, good. I'd been wondering about that.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's never too late to start....

60-something professor: I always kind of assume that everyone is a blogger besides me.

But otherwise, it was a very safe car.

Prof: This Volvo had a problem with the accelerator and the transmission that . . . once you got going, there was no way to stop the car, without putting it in neutral. And it was an automatic transmission. And this was of some concern to me, as I was driving through New Jersey.

It's on the internet.

Prof: Indiana is the only state that has legislated that pi shall be 3. They didn’t like all the confusion that the .1415… stuff caused. It’s true. Well, I’ve never verified it, but it’s truthy, and I’ve read it often.

Can I have some?

Student, after taking a sip from his coffee: [gives an answer the prof likes]

Prof: Yeah! What are you drinking? That must be a truth-soup!

Where's the beach?

Student: This is a tough one.

Prof: You haven’t seen tough yet. This is like, Cleveland, and the Rockies lie ahead.

The Sierra Club = Ents?

Prof: Family members tend to show up [to court] and look saintly—“Yeah, I love my grandmother more than the Red Sox. I even went to visit her once—it was great!” Institutional beneficiaries can’t “show up” so well. Like the Sierra Club—what are they going to do, come in with a bunch of trees?

So that's why it's so hot in here.

Prof (who is also a priest): None of these [technical] problems will happen when we get the new [law school] building. Until then we have to suffer... From a Catholic perspective, this is taking time off purgatory, so it's not without merit.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tight Spaces

From my coworker who grew up in the back country of Kentucky:

"...there won't enough room in there to cuss a cat without gettin' hair in yer mouth."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Aren't we optimistic today.

Prof: This [completed contract method] will still be around in fifteen years or so when you're out of public accounting, unless we've screwed up the economy so bad that we're run by the Soviets or something.

Of course we haven't.

Prof: Has anyone done [this part of the homework problem]? I didn't think so. Good, let's skip it.

He can say this because he's tenured.

Tax prof: I'm scared, I really am, that the Democrats will get back in. ... As it is now, there are only a handful of people left who have even the foggiest notion, and then there will be nobody. ... It used to be that they would just drink ... but now with all these high-powered drugs, who knows what they'll do.

That would probably be cheaper, too.

Prof: Some [real estate agents] are really good, and some of them, you may as well get your local beauty shop operator or bartender to help you out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Extra-textual commentary that makes class worth it

Prof: [After explaining that the will in question was in North Carolina] This will leaves a tract of land to [woman], who apparently was wronged. Notice that it is witnessed by her two brothers, who, under the Second Amendment, are armed and dangerous.

Quantifiably speaking

Prof: It’s almost always more profitable to be the lawyer for the executor than the lawyer for the will. Because money money money money is better than money.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Three cheers for the free market!

Class: [Animated discussion re: Tyco, and whether there is such a thing as "excessive" CEO compensation--arguments touched on the distinction between bad business decisions and "excessive" compensation and on the idea that, presumably, CEOs are paid at whatever rate the market sets]
Prof: [Asks whether we think the punishment of the former Tyco execs was appropriate]
Student: [Says that he thinks the punishment was a bit excessive]
Prof: How do you know that's excessive?
Student: The market didn't set that penalty!

How did he keep his job?

Prof: I had several people that I supervised [in a previous career] that I really questioned whether my boss was sober when he hired them. And since he died of alcoholism ... in the office, I might add....

Monday, October 22, 2007

Guess we'd better pray harder.

Student 1: So what do you do in that [complicated accounting] situation?
Prof: I have no idea. You pray you never see it.
Student 2: There's a homework problem [with that situation].
Prof: Really? ... I assigned that?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Say what?

Direct quotation from toilet paper packaging: Soft Sheets That Last & Last!

I'm wondering exactly how long one needs those "soft sheets" of TP to last.... are we talking rinsing and reusing here?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Would that be protected as free speech?

Prof (walking to dry-erase board to try to draw what he told us afterwards was supposed to be the Nike "swoosh"): I try this every year, and sometimes it comes out obscene, so that's not what I mean.

How not to conduct your espionage activities

Prof (re: Ames v. Commissioner): Every time he met with the Soviet diplomat, he made a large cash deposit to his bank account. So the CIA put two and two together....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Statutory Interpretation of the Day

We’re slogging through another provision of the Uniform Probate Code today, and I wanted to share some of the joy. My favorite section so far: UPC 2-603(b)(4)
If the will creates an alternative devise with respect to a devise for which a substitute gift is created by paragraph (1) or (2), the substitute gift is superseded by the alternative devise only if an expressly designated devisee of the alternative devise is entitled to take under the will.

If your response to that is not “eh?” You are a much smarter person than I am. I diagrammed the sentence and have concluded that it doesn’t mean anything.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

However you like to party...

Prof: I had to fast for 12 hours, with for a hypoglycemic is very much like being drunk. Well, without the buzz. And the hangover. But there other ways to get the hangover, one of which is Penn State.

[This was the Monday morning after Notre Dame football was humiliated by Penn State.]

I zoned out and missed the rest of the story....

Prof (re: checking of an audit client's inventory by incompetent auditors): And we never figured out what the property was like 'cause they kept taking pictures of the wing of the plane. But that's kind of a major digression....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shameless plea for help

Help a grad student! Take my short and simple online survey. Do it today! Tell all your friends.

Thank you, and have a good day.

(Becca--I just fixed the link for you. ~mbr)
Thanks, Mel! You're great. I think it was the weird quotation marks from Word that Blogger can't handle.)
UPDATE: The survey is fixed too. We got our SurveyMonkey guy to do his magic.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Addicted to lolcats? Check out Cute Overload (now on the right).

Monday, October 08, 2007

Putting it bluntly

Guest speaker: [An incentive] doesn't have to be financial. You can incentivize people by appealing to their egos. You can be a bank and give 'em a title.

Guest speaker: Dunkin' Donuts is gonna blow the doors off everybody. ... Krispy Kreme's coffee? BLEAH! It's yucky, right?

Guest speaker: Apple is the best brand extension company in the universe. [Lists examples: iPod, iPod Nano, iPod with video, etc.] ... These guys [Krispy Kreme]? Hot donut! Eighty years later? Hot donut!

Guest speaker: There are so many people out there willing to pay incredible multiples for junk. And you've got junk. So ... put the lipstick on the pig.

Can I go home now?

Student: [asks a question that complicates the discussion]
Prof: Well, we’re in purgatory. Let’s descend into hell.

Is it too late to drop?

Prof, re: review session: I’ll do problems on the board, and you can check them off for the exam—“Good, he can’t do that one; it won’t be on the test.” But “he” is a sick person, so you never know.

unless they're video games

Prof: There are some people who don’t attach emotional value to specific objects in wills—they’re called males. which case we don't care.

[back story: Lapse is when the beneficiary of a will dies before the testator does, and the will didn’t say what to do if that happens.]
Prof: There is never a lapse problem that isn’t the result of bad drafting. Or nuclear war.

Only more expensive

Prof: Now we’ll complicate this a little bit. It’s like when the dentist says this will hurt just a little bit.

When examples go bad

Student: [points out something about a case he’s being grilled on]

Prof: Oh… Yeah… That ruins my theory. Um. I’m going to have a theory about that on Friday. It’ll be good, but you’ll all know that it’s a rationalization… Well for now let’s ignore that, because that makes me look bad.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Romans 12:19?

Prof: At one school where I used to teach, the students would continually talk while you were trying to teach. ... But there was an angel up there, and one of the students got in an auto accident and had to have his jaw wired shut. He didn't say another word the rest of the semester. That was the right thing for God to do.

Step 1: Admit you have a problem.

Prof: Where are my happy Phillies fans? ... Where are my unhappy Mets fans?
Student (apparently from NY): You really had to start off class like that?
Prof: Think of it as a support group. ... Did you have a feeling you wanted to share?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

But you would travel all the time anyway.

Prof: [Tells class approximately how much a senior manager in a public accounting firm earns annually]
Student: Is that what they make? Cool.
Prof: Well, it would be more if you lived in Manhattan, but you wouldn't be able to keep any of it. You could live in a loft with eight other people.

Hope you weren't counting on that for your retirement.

Prof: I use (my Social Security) to finance my daughter's education. ... I don't know how anyone could live off it. My daughter lives off it. Of course, I've been paying in since the dawn of time.

Let me guess your political affiliation....

Prof (re: Obama's plan to impose FICA tax on all earned income rather than just the first $95k): Yeah, you're gonna have five trillion dollars! And the rest of us are gonna be walking around in our underwear because that's all we can afford to buy! Mr. Obama may have gone to Harvard, but he apparently walked in the wrong gate or something.

(Disclaimer: I'm not familiar at all with Obama's plan--all I know of it comes from our 2-minute discussion in class today. I apologize if this post misrepresents it or him at all.)

And we most likely forgot to read it.

Prof (beginning class on a recent Monday morning): To be honest, I can't remember exactly what I assigned last Friday.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Do we get to try them out?

I don't think this is a mis-translation. I'm pretty sure I have heard of "restroom tours" here in Korea where they take you on a tour of different toilets.

Well, when you put it like that...

A note from my Federal Income Tax case book, regarding the case of a company that tried to deduct payments to a Christian Science minister who served as a "consultant" to the company founder/chairman of the board:

The court notes that Rev. Halverstadt did not provide specific answers to business questions. In fact, Christian Science ministers are not supposed to give direct advice....
Have you ever been in a situation in which you paid substantial sums to discuss things with someone who asked many questions and rarely provided answers? How much tuition are you paying now? Mr. Amend didn't get concrete answers; neither do you. How dumb was he? How dumb are you?

Monday, September 24, 2007

But the light is so pretty...

Prof: [in the middle of expounding on the advantages of different inventory methods] …and we’re all watching this fly that’s buzzing around.

Student: [mesmerized] It’s really big.

Fun with idioms

Prof: That was a red herring… The idea of a red fish being dragged along a trail always grosses me out.

Primary sources

Prof: Let’s just assume that the life expectancy for a woman in the United States is 78 years and 10 months… because that’s what Parade said last week. Why ever go beyond Parade, I mean, really?

A long and rich tradition

Prof: One of the best professors I ever had couldn’t do arithmetic on a blackboard. In front of a hundred angry eyes he would just choke. I have carried on his legacy faithfully.

In case you had any illusions

Prof: I’m going to give you two different answers for this. One of them is going to be useful on an exam. The other one is going to be useful in real life. It is always important to keep those two things separate.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Trusts & Estates Lite

My mind was wondering in Trusts & Estates this morning and when it came back, the prof was saying:

Prof: Or they spend money on that skinny half-crap whatever it is they sell… Friends don’t let friends buy Starbucks.

Apparently I didn't miss too much?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Any other lessons?

[Class discussion of lessons that can be learned from "The Parable of the Sadhu"]

Student 1: Don't go hiking.
Student 2: Especially not naked.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ah, tenure.

Student: Why is the speaker today mandatory?
Prof: [laughs]
Student: We put him on the spot.
Prof: [chuckles] I'm very rarely on the spot, because the university can do so little about me ... unless I run around naked or something. ... They're really better off just leaving me alone.

Partisan ancestors

Prof, explaining a table of consanguinity and the parantella system of inheritance: Everyone to the left beats everyone to the right. Remember that during elections.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

We can't just let the auditors catch it?

[Class discussion on the proper accounting treatment of a hypothetical transaction. Someone suggests a not-quite-ethical solution.]
Student (criticizing the suggestion): But that's why we have auditors.
Prof: And ethics, and long-term vision....

Is long-windedness the only qualification?

Student (role-playing a CEO): Not to belabor the point--
Prof: You'd make a good CEO.

Glad you're retaining that knowledge.

Student: We just talked about this in another class, actually.
Prof: I hope the answer is the same.
Student: I don't remember.

Would you care to elaborate?

Prof (after we'd reviewed the fact that PBO stands for Projected Benefit Obligation): Does anyone remember what the PBO is?
Student: Isn't it, like, a projection?

(In defense of that student, s/he did elaborate on that point.)

How do you really feel about Puerto Rico?

Prof (re: tax complications): [U.S.] possessions are ... sort of like having a little bug in your house. ... Not a nice bug, like a cricket, but a semi-obnoxious bug.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Is that so?

Scene: High School Speech classroom. The students are playing Taboo. The word is "broom".

Samuel: Friend of mop.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Distant relation

Student: Couldn’t you just credit equipment or fixtures instead of expenses?

Prof: Is your name Worldcom?

Things to repeat on the Bar Exam

Prof: The will was drafted in Nebraska, which, as some of you are aware, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Texas.

Prof: And if that sounds like Greek to you, it would sound very different in Greek.

Prof: Marla dies with a $400,000 estate… Good for her. It’s always nice when people die with wealth.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tastes Like Chicken?

Teacher: [Another teacher] thinks you boys are so cute!

Girl: What does she think about us?

Teacher: She thinks the girls are sweet.

Boy: What!?!?! Did she taste?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Or, Why Lawyer-types Shouldn't Hang Out

Another truism brought to you by xkcd.

Back to School!

Professor: The law school exam is inexplicable on pedagogical grounds, and on grounds of human decency.

Professor: This semester is compressed, like an accordion. I’ll tell you why someday, but only after several beers.

Professor: Your exam is on 10/10, so you all know that it’s on a Wednesday. 10/10 is of course not a Wednesday every year, because that would be stupid.

Professor, re: Midterm exam: These questions will have real answers, not like essays.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Free to a good home

Me: But she just got a new kitten. Who's going to keep her kitten when she moves?
Supervising attorney: I would, but my freezer is full.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

but was she credible?

Intern describing opposing witness: She was ghastly.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I now fly Delta.

Northwest agent who will remain anonymous: Next time you want to get somewhere, try a different airline.

Too much information

Me, to pilot standing in a line to be rerouted: I don’t know if I can rent a car; I’m not old enough.

Pilot, taking a step back to look me up and down: I wish I wasn’t old enough to rent a car.

Not the first time this has happened

Joanna, calling hotel to send a shuttle to pick us up after I got stranded in Minneapolis due to a cancelled flight: We have an airline voucher.

Hotel clerk: You flew Northwest, didn’t you?

Patriotism at its finest

[Overheard at Mt. Rushmore as a large Air Force helicopter buzzed overhead]

Tourist to man in Air Force uniform: Is that your helicopter?

Air Force man: Well, sir, that helicopter belongs to the taxpayers, so technically it’s your helicopter.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

But Jurisprudence IS a real course... isn't it?

Jurisprudence prof: I don't know why all of you are here today. You must have a real course right after this.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

And it smells bad.

1L: My knowledge of contracts is like Swiss cheese--holes everywhere!

2L: Don't worry. My knowledge of Business Association is more like a thin scattering of cheese curds.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'll get on that right away.

Student: You can actually look at Franklin Roosevelt's tax return, if that interests any of you.

Being the class clown--unintentionally.

Student 1: At least you'll be able to look back on these days and remember that you made people laugh.
Student 2 (who had recently given a wrong answer in class): Yeah, but for the wrong reasons, though.

Monday, April 30, 2007

NOT environmentally friendly

In context of warrantless searches of vehicles:

Prof: You can only look in containers that could conceal what you're actually looking for. So you can't look inside matchboxes if the probable cause is for smuggling baby harper seals.... unless... no, that's gross.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Accountant humor! (Part 4)

Guest speaker 1 (re: trying to keep a client from doing something while you try to figure out why exactly they shouldn't): You just have to kind of delay and confuse the client for a few days.
Guest speaker 2: That's kind of the approach the SEC took. You could delay them either with a fog of uncertainty or a fog of fear.

Accountant humor! (Part 3) (Or, But what if your mother is an accountant?)

Guest speaker: You can judge the complexity of an accounting concept by whether you can explain it to your mother.

Accountant humor! (Part 2)

Guest speaker (re: the movie "The Smartest Guys in the Room"): You have an idea when movies start being made about accounting concepts that those concepts aren't too well-received by the public.

Accountant humor! (Part 1)

Guest speaker (before launching into a story): I've found that a good rule of thumb is that accounting stories are only entertaining to other accountants, and even then rarely so.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

In case you were wondering.

From IRS Publication 547: Loss of property due to damage by a family pet is not deductible as a casualty loss unless the requirements discussed earlier under Casualty are met. Example: Your antique oriental rug was damaged by your new puppy before it was housebroken. Because the damage was not unexpected and unusual, the loss is not deductible as a casualty loss.

[Rats. There goes my tax evasion scheme!]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Forgot about that

Student 1: Flogging Molly is playing at Legends tomorrow night.

Student 2: Hm! I should go. ...only... I don't like them.

re: Presto at the end of Jupiter

[very energetic Asian] conductor: You see, composer do something very hard for orchestra here. Tempo get faster, and notes get more. It would be easier if notes get less when tempo get faster, but I did not get to talk to Holst about that. So we have to do best we can.

I'm not making this up.

This is the jurisprudence outline we were given in class today as a course overview. Some would argue that it's pretty representative of the course, actually. The random date in the lower third on the right is a copyright notice. I think.

So it's not just me!

Prof: Have you ever tried to have a discussion with a non-law person? Have you noticed how messed up their brains are? Haven’t you ever started looking for the judge so you can make an objection on the grounds of irrelevance? But if you bring it up, you just lost a friend… or a significant other.


Prof: I hope you can read this outline. I don’t type, and my handwriting is poor.

Student: I can’t. Why couldn’t your secretary type it up?

Prof: She can’t read it.

So do we.

Prof: On Monday I will give you an illegible outline of the court. I hope it is helpful to you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

He wasn't kidding.

Prof: Now that you have completed your [teacher evaluations], I can reveal my true self.

Class: *laughs*

Prof: shhhh!! *vicious look*

Sunday, April 22, 2007

So is this like a marriage?

Group member 1: You guys complete me.

And the presentation is tomorrow....

Group member 2: I found [this document] that says--
Group member 3: The research needs to be done [by now].
Group member 2: That was my research.

Why I go home from group meetings with heartburn.

Group member 1: You're coming up with all these points that don't make any sense!
Group member 2: That's because my brain works in a weird way, and I get all these great ideas in my head and can't communicate them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tax Avoidance 101

Group presentation question (re: Sugar Ray Robinson tax case): Does this change your plans for using tax avoidance schemes in the future?
Student 1: Yeah. I don't want to get caught.
Student 2: Well, it seems like they'll give you most of it if you argue a little bit.

Do you think you're that boring?

A group in my class is giving a presentation using PowerPoint. The slide on the screen at the moment reads:
Transition Slide
Listen to the speaker while they are talking

Monday, April 16, 2007

What kitties say

That's about right. Puck does this at random almost on a daily basis.

Why I stopped reading law books

Prof: If you read [a particular philosopher's] work, you'll get depressed. If you're already depressed, don't--your pills won't offset it

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ducking with style

Student: [question about the impact of birthrates on global legal convergence]

Prof: You know, [student], when you have an answer to that question, a lot of people want to know.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I want some ancient rites!

Student, re a European Human Rights Court case condemning adverse possession: I don’t think the English were arguing that they had adverse possession in their bones and the European continent was taking it away from them…

Prof [fake accent]: The ancient rite of the British farmer of taking other people’s land!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Are you sure communism doesn't work?

Guest speaker: I remember I walked into a store once and there was vinegar and salt. It was a liquor store.

Sure, I can relate.

Guest speaker (on the aftermath of the fall of communism in eastern Europe): It's pretty much like North Korea for a moment [i.e., for a while], if you can relate to that.

¿Usted habla inglés?

Prof: Are you fluent in Russian?
Polish guest speaker: Yes.
Prof: And other languages?
Speaker: I speak some English.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Well, from a pragmatic viewpoint...

Student (in a discussion the effects of switching to a consumption tax--specifically, effects on the elderly): They won't complain very long. ... It's better to [tick] off a seventy-year-old than to [tick] off a twenty-year-old.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


From my Tax Policy book again: The fifth of these tasks [assigned to Hercules] was one of the most daunting of all--to clean, in one day, 30 years of accumulated manure left by thousands of cattle in the stables of Augeas. (The analogy to the tax system is, we fear, obvious.)

But I wouldn't bet on it.

From my Tax Policy book (Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen's Guide to the Debate over Taxes): [T]he AMT will likely end up becoming a contentious political football. ... Still, at some point there must be a limit to how much unnecessary complexity politicians are willing to impose on the middle class for the sake of scoring political points.

But I really wanted to!

Oh the signs the signs...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Thanks for the reassurance.

Prof (after shooting down a student's answer to a question): Now everybody's scared. Don't be scared; I'm harmless. I'm really a nice person.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Shall we assume we've made our word quota?

From McQuade v. Stoneham:
We will assume that Stoneham put him out when he might have retained him, merely in order to get rid of him.

If you sold him, would you report capital gain?

Prof (re: how a consumption tax could work): What is savings? ... Do I include the money I spend on my child? Because I see him as equity--as an investment--right?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

And the golfers didn't send out W-2s?

Student (re: a past summer job): And there were no tax return forms hanging around the caddyshack. ... unless you were caddying for someone who worked for the IRS.

But it gives tax profs something to do.

Prof: There's an area [of tax] called Behavioral Research. To me, there's just one question to ask: How do you feel about paying taxes? And we all know the answer to that, so we're done.

But it's a member of the family!

Prof: You still have people trying to claim their pet's medical expenses. They just see "medical expenses" and don't read past that. They figure their dog is a dependent, right?

It's just a piece of paper ... right?

Prof: If you're married and you're both paying in the maximum [to Social Security], when you're ready to retire you should get divorced and just live together. ... Make sure you change the address on one of the checks.

Thank you. That was helpful career advice.

Prof: Most fraudsters [get caught because they] don't know when to quit. So if you're ever going to steal from your employer, set some kind of target, and when you hit it, get the heck out of there. Go to the Cayman Islands or something.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The delights of Business Associations

via IM:

Student 1: It’s early afternoon and he’s talking about proxy voting.
Student 2: delightful
Student 2: maybe you'd like a root canal?
Student 1: do I get anesthetic?

I'm game!

Student 1: [goes off about how men communicate]

Student 2: All this talk about manliness... It makes me want to... eat a cheeseburger!

Not unlike some of our classes...

Prof: I don’t know why he called his book “Sociological Jurisprudence.” We in graduate sociology always thought it should be called “The Painful Elaboration of the Obvious.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Did it taste good?

Today was Jack's birthday and he brought in chicken for lunch for the whole class. Korean kids are terrible beggars especially when it comes to food. Chris (in gr. 6) is especially bad. We were all eating and Chris was watching us, clearly desiring some.

Me: "Chris, you can look all you want but you are not getting any chicken."
Chris: "That is ok - I am eating with my eyes. Shhhh!"

Monday, March 26, 2007

So does the court win the case?

From Angel v. Angel, a child custody case out of Ohio:
Neither counsel cited any authority for their respective contentions nor alluded to the Ohio Statutes relating to care, custody and control of minor children. This imposes an unfair burden on the Court.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

1 year old today

I'd like to take a moment today and say Happy Birthday to the Frittering Away Blog. It was 1 year ago today that I was told I had to delete my blog (on my own brithday no less). And within 24 hours it was back up in this quote format....

So Happy Birthday Frittering!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Do I really want to know?

Prof: Ask (student) sometime how he came to know so much about the technology behind feminine hygiene products.

Try again.

Prof: Most people, when you say "taxes," what do they think about?
Student: Cigarettes.
Prof: Well, at least I didn't get "alcohol." ... Most people think about income taxes.

I guess the glass is half empty.

Prof: When I get the (Social Security) statements quarterly or annually or whatever, I just kind of laugh and throw them in a drawer. There's no way. ... Eventually they'll be like, "If you start taking out (your money) when you're 90..."

Sure. It's my light reading on weekends.

Prof: Have you ever just sat down and read the tax code?

So we should get on your good side?

Prof: Grading in this class is so abstract.


Prof: I'm going to evaluate you based on the interest you show in here. So ... it would be to your benefit to fake it.

Guess that didn't work out like you'd planned.

Prof: This is supposed to be a seminar. There are supposed to be about ten to twelve of you in here, and we're supposed to sit around and talk about tax policy. ... but there are twenty-six of you.

Hold me back...

First, let me apologize for my recent lack of posting; I've just returned to classes after a 10-week internship. Unfortunately, my tax accountant colleagues were not nearly as quotable as my professors. Spending all that time in a classroom must do something to a person.

Anyway, on with the show...

Prof (describing a group project): You'll like it about as well as you'll like just about any other required educational activity.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Did you tell the SEC about your lemonade stand?

From Business Associations:
…[T]he securities laws apply to lots of things that don’t look very much like securities at first glance. For example, investments in worm farms.

Only effective way I can think of

From Business Associations:
It is perhaps a cheap way of getting your attention, but it is nevertheless worth pointing out that securities regulation issues reportedly are the single most common source of legal malpractice claims against business lawyers.

That was free.

Prof: Men and women speak different dialects, and men, the quicker you learn to translate, the better chance you have of having (and keeping) a significant other.

I don't remember that from Greek class.

Prof: Hercules is the Greek word for muscles… and for doing stupid things while you’re drunk.

Good point. Do I get a refund?

Prof: There’s no reason that you should borrow large amounts of money so that the school can pay me an obscene salary to teach you about clothes when the emperor doesn’t wear any.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

...and if I have shinguards.

Prof: If you went to visit a married friend and he said “Hey, come on in, watch the game,” and his wife said “Under no circumstances am I allowing you into my house.” Would you go in?

Student: Depends who’s playing.

And the car was from Jupiter...

Prof: Can a dog sniff the car?

Student: Yes, that would be okay.

Prof: What about a robot probe?

Student: No, that would be a violation.

Prof: What if it was a dog that was in an accident and was half-dog, half-robot?

Student: Um?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Vote for Pedro

[when discussing a tax provision that denies business deductions for drug dealers]

Student: Does this ever come up? I mean do drug dealers really file tax returns?

Prof: I don’t think there are many drug dealers filing tax returns and trying to deduct their flights to Columbia.

Student: So why is this in here?

Prof: Because some Congressman wanted to show his constituents he was tough on drugs.

HT: the Bard

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hungry, anyone?

Granny and the grenade

Favorite quote:
But what if she had cooked it?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Nah, I just watch Law & Order

Student, describing the facts of a case: Well, the police tagged the suspect and identified the house they thought had drugs. They finished casing the place, and…

Prof: “Casing the place?” Are you part of the underworld?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dividendcandy Mountain

Prof, on the corporate duty of care: It expects you to be really good but only holds you accountable for being really bad. What’s in between really good and really bad is fluff we feed to the masses to keep them happy.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I only weave when I'm committing securities fraud.

Student: Yeah, I think it might be reasonable to search cars on a routine traffic stop.

Prof: That’s reasonable? So, maybe the driver is weaving and speeding because he’s… mounting his rocket launcher?

Student: Well, maybe LSD makes you weave and speed in a certain way. I don’t know.

Prof: Sure you don’t.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Seen in Starbucks

I saw this in the stall of the restroom at Starbucks. The last line made me laugh.

But Erin Brockovich was on last night...

Prof: That was in the optional reading. You guys all did the optional reading, right? I know I always did while I was in law school.

That's got to crimp your academic research.

Student, illustrating a civil procedure point: It’s not Jane Foster, but it’s a good law movie.

Prof: I won’t watch a Julia Roberts movie. I’m sorry—I just can’t do it. They make me physically ill.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Is this a trick question?

Prof: Student, what do you think about altruism?

Student: I think it’s nice… Yeah, it’s a good thing.

Why Michiana is still inhabited

Prof, as current temperature is 4 degrees Fahrenheit: I think I just have short memory. I forget winter during the summer, and summer is too short for me to move before it’s winter again.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

You don't know the answer, do you?

Business Associations Prof: Student, does that make sense?

Student: Well, being that I don’t know a whole lot about business associations—

Prof: That’s why you’re here.

Student: And I am enriching myself in the discipline daily.

Prof: With great wonder and excitement, no doubt.

That and they won't date you...

Prof: The worst thing you can see in grad school when you walk into your first class is three nuns in the front row. Their homework will ALWAYS be done. I'm a human being! I shouldn't have to be judged by nuns!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's just a flesh wound.

Prof: Student, what if the suspect stabbed the woman in the head with a machete and ran away with the purse? Is deadly force justified? He still has the purse. But not the machete… It’s with the woman.

Student: um.

Prof: She’s not dead, don’t worry. We’ll make this PG-13. She’s going to be okay.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Glad it wasn't just me.

Prof [re: chapter on corporate formalities]: This is the most boring reading assignment of the semester, maybe of your entire life. I like to set the expectations low.

Where is this going?

Prof: You can argue that tax law is invalid, but if I don’t pay they’ll put liens on my assets. It won’t do them any good, because I don’t have any assets. I spent them all on my children.

Quiverfull of blunt sticks

Prof: You can’t coerce gratitude. I wish you could; I have eight kids, and if I could make them grateful I could retire.

Things you learn in school

Student, upon looking up the seven deadly sins and corresponding virtues: What!? Chastity's a virtue?

The true distinction of common law

Prof: I love talking about the English law system, obviously because it is all about cross-dressing. And wigs! It’s all about the wigs!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

But I try to keep my opinions out of lectures...

Prof: Bork’s positivism can’t be applied, so it’s no better than the positivism of these other guys. In a word, positivism sucks.

Ignore the subtext.

Prof: Why did we fight the revolution?

Student: To get rid of oppressive imperialist England?

As opposed to woodshedando

Written on cello part to Beethoven’s 5th above a particularly challenging run of 32nd notes: Fake-issimo

Let's not get into family law here.

Prof: Let’s say you are my daughter, and you have a curfew of 10:00. The prom goes until 12 or 1. Now if you ask me if you can go to the prom, and I say “yes,” knowing the prom times, have I impliedly given you permission to stay out past 10 that night?

Student: If you were my dad, no.

A license to tautologize

Prof: If I were an economist, that would be a redundant phrase—reduce the cost, increase the efficiency. I’m not an economist, thank goodness.

Monday, February 05, 2007

BJU Alumn Chris Sligh: Next American Idol?

I've never followed AI before, but I had to check out Jon's bro, and I'm glad I did. I think I found my new favorite band. I know, I know, it's lame to jump on the bandwagon so late, but I really didn't know Chris and his band were so good before the (pseudo)media caught on. Jon, I'm holding you personally responsible for not telling me before.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ok, have we left anyone out, now?

Prof: When Stevens wakes up every morning, he gets a surprise. O’Connor is sick. We thought Rehnquist was going to last forever.

While we're at it...

Prof: This is a typical Douglas opinion… which is to say that it’s virtually unintelligible.

Not to get personal...

Prof: [Justice] Holmes was a dirty old man. And he was mean-spirited. The fact that he is lionized by so many people should be disturbing.

Law students aren't drunks! They're art lovers!

Excerpt from email from the Student Bar Association (no pun intended):

Since the [Law School] does not condone drinking, we are hosting a tour of some of the finest architecture the Pubs in Chicago have to offer. Saturday, February 10th, we will be visiting some of the finest pubs around Lincoln Park/wrigleyville. Nothing is more impressive than they way Beaumont's ceiling is supported by 4 weight-bearing "dancing" poles or the fine craftsmanship that went into creating Barleycorn's 21 beer taps.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Did it come with satisfaction guaranteed?

Prof: Take my summary (of the history of philosophy) for what it’s worth. You paid an enormous amount for it.

What do you get if you baptize Nietzche?

Prof: Thomas Aquinas is Aristotle baptized.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You were really gonna cite that?

From a 1968 2nd Circuit case (our friend Judge Friendly, who else?), discussing the foreseeability of a drunk sailor stupidly sinking a boat:
Moreover, the proclivity of seamen to find solace for solitude by copious resort to the bottle while ashore has been noted in opinions too numerous to warrant citation.