I LICENSED NIMMER

by ALEX KOZINSKI*
I started law school at UCLA in the fall of 1972. No one in my family had been a lawyer or had anything to do with the law, so I had no idea what to expect. The first day of class, I had quite a surprise: The professor at the front of the class looked very familiar and, on closer inspection, I recognized him as Edgar “Ted” Jones, the judge on the 1960s TV show Day in Court — an early and much tamer version of Judge Judy and Judge Wapner.

Was I jazzed! A law school with celebrities as teachers. I knew I’d made the right decision in picking the school closest to Hollywood. It was also the only one that didn’t reject me, but I took credit for that too in strategically blowing a few key classes as an undergrad. The professors that first quarter were all showmen of one type or an- other, the way law professors tend to be. Some did it by strutting across the classroom and gesticulating with dramatic flair. Others did it by presenting deep paradoxes or anomalies in the law, and asking us to pon- der the mysterious and nonlinear way in which the law developed. Still others did it by creative use of the Socratic method, always managing to manipulate students into making contradictory arguments and then telling them they were beginning to think like lawyers. And one did it by lampooning my accent, which got a big laugh.