The Best Law Journal in America?

Bobbleheads copy

The Harvard Law Review? The Yale Law Review? The Journal of Law and Economics perhaps? No: let me suggest it is The Green Bag, which I wouldn’t exactly call a law review, but somehow law journal doesn’t seem to quite fit it either. There’s nothing else like it. Call it, for lack of a better term, a compendium of legal things of interest, not always serious or even timely.

You can look up old issues of The Green Bag online to get a flavor of it, but the annual Green Bag Almanac & Reader is only available to print subscribers, though a few excerpts are available online. (Likewise their Supreme Court Justice bobblehead figures—see above—are only available by special order; I have several.)

And the best part of the annual Almanac & Reader is the “Lowering the Bar” section written by Kevin Underhill, supposedly of the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, which really exists, even though it sounds like the conflict backup law firm for the Car Talk guys, whose main outside counsel all NPR listeners know is Dewey, Cheatham and Howe.  Anyway, “Lowering the Bar” contains the legal world’s version of “News of the Weird.” Such as:

Nov. 14: A mistrial was declared in the Calcagno v. Springfield, in which the plaintiff accuses pop star Rick Springfield of knocking he down with his rear end during a concert. She called no supporting witnesses, but did show the jury a photo she claimed to have taken just before impact. Springfield said he did not recall the incident, but he did tentatively identify the pictured buttocks as his own.

Jan. 2: A judge rules in favor of William Berroyer and his wife in their lawsuit against the U.S. government, awarding them a total of $862,000.  Berroyer alleged he was injured when he tripped over a phone cord at a local IRS office, which he had visited in order to discuss how he planned to pay $60,000 in back taxes. The visit did answer that question, eventually.

Apr. 22: KATU News in Washington reports that a woman has sued for $275,000 alleging she was attacked by a duck at a trailer park. The plaintiff’s lawyer claims neighbors will testify that “this duck was a crazy duck” that had attacked people before, which is the basis for the lawsuit’s allegation that the duck’s owner knew it had “abnormally dangerous propensities.”

Oct. 8: “I think I can safely say this is an very unusual claim,” said Shari Moore, the city clerk of St. Paul, Minnesota.  She was referring to Megan Campbell’s claim for property damage sustained after a city vehicle hit her car. The claim is unusual because Campbell had been driving the city vehicle at the time.

And there’s lots more that make The Green Bag worth a subscription.


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