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What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:28 pm
by quickquestionthanks
Quick question,

My (very old) professor holds an incorrect belief about a legal issue. He's not a little wrong, not arguably right, but "here are ten cases that say it's potentially reversible error" wrong. His final is all multiple choice, and this legal issue will permeate the exam.

Has anyone faced a problem like this? How did you handle it?

Thanks.

P.S. 3L, top 25%, T30.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:37 pm
by kalvano
Have you considered meeting after class or in his office to ask about it? That way it doesn't look confrontational or gunnerish. Just say you want to clarify a point of law that might be on the exam.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:38 pm
by ph14
quickquestionthanks wrote:Quick question,

My (very old) professor holds an incorrect belief about a legal issue. He's not a little wrong, not arguably right, but "here are ten cases that say it's potentially reversible error" wrong. His final is all multiple choice, and this legal issue will permeate the exam.

Has anyone faced a problem like this? How did you handle it?

Thanks.

P.S. 3L, top 25%, T30.


What is the issue exactly?

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:40 pm
by Zindras
One of my professors did this a number of times. Some (more gunnerish) students called him out during class, but he was stubborn. Practice exams helped a ton to see what he expected on the final.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:36 pm
by quickquestionthanks
I did get a little gunner-ish in class about it. It's about exceptions to hearsay. I sent him an email, and he not only doubled-down, but went even further with his bad definition. I'm concerned that what constitutes hearsay for the purposes of the test will be very hard to predict.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:41 pm
by ph14
quickquestionthanks wrote:I did get a little gunner-ish in class about it. It's about exceptions to hearsay. I sent him an email, and he not only doubled-down, but went even further with his bad definition. I'm concerned that what constitutes hearsay for the purposes of the test will be very hard to predict.


What exactly did he say? Pm me if you want.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:44 pm
by Ohiobumpkin
Just agree with him on your exam responses and move on.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:47 pm
by ph14
Ohiobumpkin wrote:Just agree with him on your exam responses and move on.


I could see how this could be really confusing, especially on a multiple choice test. Probably best to figure this out before the exam.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:11 pm
by target
Curious on what the issue is too since I am taking evidence. Also, are you really sure about he is wrong since your quote includes a qualification? What are those ten cases? Are they from different circuits? Different state courts? etc.

quickquestionthanks wrote:He's not a little wrong, not arguably right, but "here are ten cases that say it's potentially reversible error" wrong.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:53 pm
by quickquestionthanks
I only said potentially because it could be a harmless error, and not reversible. No circuit split, no courts taking the other position.

803(6) exception requires a record. Thus, testimony about a record without introducing the record itself is still hearsay. Prof. seems to think "the record said X" is not hearsay.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:02 pm
by ph14
quickquestionthanks wrote:I only said potentially because it could be a harmless error, and not reversible. No circuit split, no courts taking the other position.

803(6) exception requires a record. Thus, testimony about a record without introducing the record itself is still hearsay. Prof. seems to think "the record said X" is not hearsay.


Are you sure this isn't just confusion with the terminology of a "hearsay exception" versus "not hearsay."

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:12 pm
by quickquestionthanks
Positive. Though I misspoke, I should have said "no hearsay problem" not "not hearsay."

I emailed him the cases and he said he believed they were "analytically incorrect."

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:14 pm
by ph14
quickquestionthanks wrote:Positive. Though I misspoke, I should have said "no hearsay problem" not "not hearsay."

I emailed him the cases and he said he believed they were "analytically incorrect."


I'd go with your professor's explanations then. So he thinks that anytime someone describes a record or document, it is not a hearsay problem? That seems very strange.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:17 pm
by rad lulz
Literally just do what he says. You're not learning evidence. You're learning "Prof. XYZ teaches evidence."

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:21 pm
by target
Could it be the record was offered not to prove the content of the record but just the existence of the record? In the latter case, the record is not hearsay.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:22 pm
by quickquestionthanks
I appreciate your feedback, ph. Way to keep things basic. I just hope he doesn't apply this faulty analysis to other situations.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:23 pm
by quickquestionthanks
target wrote:Could it be the record was offered not to prove the content of the record but just the existence of the record? In the latter case, the record is not hearsay.



Nah. He says that the record is introduced by the testimony. Odd.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:24 pm
by vanwinkle
rad lulz wrote:Literally just do what he says. You're not learning evidence. You're learning "Prof. XYZ teaches evidence."

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:25 pm
by ph14
vanwinkle wrote:
rad lulz wrote:Literally just do what he says. You're not learning evidence. You're learning "Prof. XYZ teaches evidence."


I think the issue now is determining how far your professor's idiosyncratic views on the subject extends.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:10 pm
by PDaddy
I would send him an anonymous e-mail from a remote location (remember that IP addresses are traceable) arguing my case.

That way he cannot identify you and thus hold it against you in any way. I realize that law school grading is functionally and theoretically "blind", but there are other opportunities that a prof could hinder if he perceives you to have embarrassed him or questioned his expertise - even if done in a closed, one-on-one session during his office hours. Moreover, there are some profs who simply cannot be helped, i.e. no matter how constructively you approach him he may not take it in the best way.

I say an anonymous e-mail written in generic language and arguing your points would be best. He can't blame the whole class.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:25 pm
by rad lulz
PDaddy wrote:I would send him an anonymous e-mail from a remote location (remember that IP addresses are traceable) arguing my case.

That way he cannot identify you and thus hold it against you in any way. I realize that law school grading is functionally and theoretically "blind", but there are other opportunities that a prof could hinder if he perceives you to have embarrassed him or questioned his expertise - even if done in a closed, one-on-one session during his office hours. Moreover, there are some profs who simply cannot be helped, i.e. no matter how constructively you approach him he may not take it in the best way.

I say an anonymous e-mail written in generic language and arguing your points would be best. He can't blame the whole class.

LOLOLOLOLOL

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:57 pm
by stillwater
Stand up in front of your class, denounce him, hang a wooden placard from his neck and order him to give a 10 minute self-criticism.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:00 am
by Bildungsroman
PDaddy wrote:I would send him an anonymous e-mail from a remote location (remember that IP addresses are traceable) arguing my case.

That way he cannot identify you and thus hold it against you in any way. I realize that law school grading is functionally and theoretically "blind", but there are other opportunities that a prof could hinder if he perceives you to have embarrassed him or questioned his expertise - even if done in a closed, one-on-one session during his office hours. Moreover, there are some profs who simply cannot be helped, i.e. no matter how constructively you approach him he may not take it in the best way.

I say an anonymous e-mail written in generic language and arguing your points would be best. He can't blame the whole class.

I don't know if this is anonymous enough. I would suggest either a phone call with voice modulation software, or a manila envelope filled with letters cut out of magazines.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:08 am
by LeDique
Bildungsroman wrote:
PDaddy wrote:I would send him an anonymous e-mail from a remote location (remember that IP addresses are traceable) arguing my case.

That way he cannot identify you and thus hold it against you in any way. I realize that law school grading is functionally and theoretically "blind", but there are other opportunities that a prof could hinder if he perceives you to have embarrassed him or questioned his expertise - even if done in a closed, one-on-one session during his office hours. Moreover, there are some profs who simply cannot be helped, i.e. no matter how constructively you approach him he may not take it in the best way.

I say an anonymous e-mail written in generic language and arguing your points would be best. He can't blame the whole class.

I don't know if this is anonymous enough. I would suggest either a phone call with voice modulation software, or a manila envelope filled with letters cut out of magazines.


But he'll still know that quickquestionthanks was gunning about this in class. He needs some way of anonymizing this concern. SMTP spoofing is really easy, so I suggest sending emails that pretend to be other classmates asking about this and then following this above advice. Or if you want to be more legal, make gmail accounts with their names.

Re: What do you do if your professor is wrong about something?

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:31 pm
by uvabro
im afraid to agree with professors on exams about questionable things they said because it's possible they made a mistake or thought 1 thing but spoke incorrectly and will grade by the right answer.