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From Mardi Gras to John Oliver, law blogs test ideas

November 08, 2016 9:45 AM
Geoff Campbell newwave@tulane.edu
Tulane Law School professor Sally Richardson’s blogging has made property law accessible by using Mardi Gras to explore issues involving possession, finders law and property valuation. (Photo by Geoff Campbell)


Talk about legal hypotheticals: Professor Sally Brown Richardson used Mardi Gras ladders to discuss possession, king cake babies to teach finders law, Krewe of Muses shoes to talk about property valuation and 8-year-olds’ sleepovers to explain property law.

Richardson, who writes at PropertyProf Blog, is among a core group of Tulane Law School professors launching off current events, pop culture and uniquely New Orleans tie-ins to share their scholarly expertise on blogs. They use the forums as an alternative platform to flesh out ideas — and demonstrate a deft ability to bring life and currency to the law, thereby enriching classroom discussions.

“My goals are to provide interesting and informative substance on property law in a relatively easy-to-read format,” Richardson says. “I use the blog to get people thinking about an issue rather than provide a rock-solid answer to it.”

“I use the blog to highlight and develop issues I’m interested in exploring more.”

Sally Brown Richardson

Professor Shu-Yi Oei has posted about comedian John Oliver, Louisiana’s film tax credit and tax enforcement against vendors at Jazz Fest on The Surly Subgroup, a new tax blog that features the work of a number of prominent tax law professors.

And professor Ann Lipton writes weekly at Business Law Prof Blog, tackling heavy-duty topics in corporate and securities law but also adding a lighter touch with reviews of movies such as The Big Short, Madoff and Money Monster.

“There are many business law issues that are incredibly important because they form the background structure of American life,” she says. “I can provide a service if I can help illuminate even some of those issues to readers who are uninformed about them.”

Richardson says blogging can provide a useful classroom tool — and a springboard for law review articles. “I use the blog to highlight and develop issues I’m interested in exploring more,” she says. “Then I can use a law review article to really dig into an issue.”

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