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Getting tripped up in oral argument by an arcane question

By March 8, 2004law practice

Bill Dyer has a great post about getting tripped up during an oral argument before the U.S. Fifth Circuit. He was blindsided by a question about the infamous (at least in common law jurisdictions) ‘Rule Against Perpetuities’. Even though I studied law in Louisiana I had to deal with the ‘Rule Against Perpetuities’ and I can say that, after intense study and practice with many hypothetical situations, I actually understood the Rule once. For about seven minutes.

And now it’s time for a Trivia Question: in what movie did a lawyer’s failure to abide by the Rule Against Perpetuities play a central role in the plot? Hint: Ted Danson played a prosecutor in the movie, which wound up being a breakthrough role for him. Click here for the answer. It was a great movie so if you never saw it click here to go to Netflix and rent it.

Update Blog reader Steve Minor emailed to point out that the judge he clerked for once wrote an opinion that references the movie in question. The reference can be found at 730 F. Supp. 1375, 1378 n. 6 (W.D. Va. 1990).

P.S. If you're a practicing lawyer, check out this Law Practice Assessment . After answering a few questions, you'll get detailed recommendations for improving five key areas of your practice.
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