Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Hand Rule

Judge Learned Hand famously opined that if the burdens of preventing an accident outweigh its cost multiplied by its probability, it does not constitute carelessness to avoid those burdens. Doesn't that little gem make you want to break out in song? I've got just the thing: The Hand Rule, a little ditty I recently composed and played for some students at Chapman Law School.

Though I've yet to record The Hand Rule, I can offer you a .pdf of the lyrics and chords as well as a PowerPoint, complete with pictures of Learned Hand, to accompany the performance (both uncopyrighted). Here's a sample of a verse and the refrain:
In the case of Carrol Towing Co., Learned Hand set forth to show
The meaning of "reasonability."

Defendant failed to leave in charge, a man to watch its unmoored barge.
And plaintiff's cargo met calamity.

"Negligence!" plaintiff complained and on appeal, Judge Hand explained,
The proper scope of liability.

Learned, learned, Learned. Learned in the law was he.
Learned Judge Hand, Learned, he judged so learnedly!
So learn what the Hand Rule teaches: "There's no liability,
If the burden of the cost exceeds the loss times the probability."
Silly? Yes, but it gets students to pay attention and remember what they learn. So goes the modus operandi of the Law and Fun school.

[Crossposted at Agoraphilia and MoneyLaw.]


Aaron Davies said...

so long as you don't learn the wrong, but only the right Hand Rule.

Tom W. Bell said...