Academic journal article Emory Law Journal

The Pirate Hat

Academic journal article Emory Law Journal

The Pirate Hat

Article excerpt

A law professor at another law school told me about David Bederman before I transferred to Emory. She studied with him at the University of Virginia and wanted me to take any course he offered. She described him as "very smart."

It would have taken more than that to get me to take the course in admiralty he was teaching that semester, which seemed unrelated to any vision I had of myself as a lawyer. But I heard he would wear a pirate hat toward the end of the course and that seemed better than whatever a tax or trusts and estates professor might attempt to impress her students.

My doubts about admiralty aside, Professor David Bederman became the best educator I ever had. His Socratic lectures involved connecting the class to his thought process as he deliberately and publicly relearned the material. He would go through that process in front of students, tethered to them with questions and answers thoughtfully geared for the average learner as he bobbed ahead on the path of each case, inviting us to repeat what he was experiencing. He took us through his mental script, slowing where we had difficulty understanding the lines and even crossing out lines that made no sense to let us, his students, add new ones that improved the story. …

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