Tag Archives: Erica Tyler

AALL Spectrum Feature — Moving on Up: To a Deluxe Library in the Sky

interior stairway

A view of the interior staircase from the IT help desk on the fourth floor

Charlotte School of Law Library opened its doors in 2006 to an inaugural class of 86 students. In the early days of building our library stacks, we absorbed a collection belonging to the Mecklenburg Law Library that was no longer maintained by the local public library system. Our first home for the collection was in a repurposed three-story law office, and, while the building itself was a beautiful Gregorian-style mansion situated in the upscale urban area of Dilworth, it soon was deemed too small to meet the physical collection needs of our exponentially growing incoming classes and subsequent staff additions.

West Side Story

In the summer of 2008, we simultaneously cataloged and processed an extensive collection purchased from the former National Judicial College and packed up house and home, destined for a new location. The space was part of new development meant to bring rejuvenation and urban redevelopment to an area of Charlotte that had been the victim of urban blight and serve as a flagship of renewal for the area.

Unfortunately, soon after our move, the recession hit and the development of the area stagnated. Our law library space on the second floor of this building was designed with little input from the library staff and leadership, and the owners of the building resisted creating an interior that was too specific in meeting our needs. As the years passed, our student body grew to more than 1,500, and staff and faculty grew as well. The demands placed upon the law library’s facilities and infrastructure by this influx of patrons, in addition to our attorney members and public patrons, meant that our space was ill-suited to accommodate such demands. 

Moving, Part Deux

In late 2012, we learned that Charlotte School of Law was destined for uptown Charlotte, taking over nine floors of a premier center city office complex, Charlotte Plaza. This time around, we were fortunate to participate in planning our new library, and many of our suggestions were incorporated into the final design. Our main objective in designing the library was to meet the needs of students and faculty alike. We analyzed how our space was currently being used and tailored our new space to increase access and use.

Study rooms in our old space were highly sought after, so in our new space we increased the number of study rooms from 21 to 39 and scattered a number of these study rooms outside the library on other floors at Charlotte Plaza. Many students also appreciated the quiet study space at our old location, so we designated our entire space on the fourth floor as a quiet area. Our reference librarians are highly engaged with our students, so we created a reference hallway dedicated to these librarians’ offices in short walking distance from the reference desk. To enhance collaborative study among students and between librarians and students, we added two distinct Research Zones in the reference area, equipped with computer hook-ups and large monitors.

In order to make all areas of the library easily accessible to students and faculty, we included an internal staircase to connect the fourth and fifth floors. The circulation desk, reference desk, and information technology help desk are all situated directly off the staircase. Focusing on accessibility, we transitioned all of our treatises, state materials, journals, and regional reporters from compact shelving to static shelving.

Free to a Good Home

Although doing away with compact shelving and opening up the library space for our patrons was a welcome change, it did leave us with a conundrum on our hands. Space constraints had been few and far between in our old building, resulting in a somewhat unwieldy collection that had no business moving to our new building en masse. Second copies and non-updated materials abounded, especially reporter volumes, ranging on and on ad infinitum. Once we moved to our uptown building, discard projects would take on a life of their own, requiring use of a freight elevator and possibly even professionals. So, despite the fact that it made our inner librarian bones cringe and twinge, a large number of books needed to be sent away to the “farm” to while away their days in the sunshine, or, more preferably, be rehomed.

Beginning in the 2013 spring semester, we began preparing for our move with a massive book giveaway initiative, reducing our collection as well as allowing us to serve our law student and local legal communities. Over the course of a semester, the library team came together to identify redundant materials, remove them from the collection, and find them good homes. An online database was created via Google, displaying cover art and details of each title. Books were offered in phases, first and foremost to students and alumni as both resource materials and window dressing, well-suited for new lawyer offices, and then to faculty, staff, other local libraries, and the community. Through this project, more than 13,777 books found loving families, with only a few minor hiccups, and we were left with only 2,000 books remaining for the “farm.”

I’ve Got 99 Problems, but My Team Ain’t One

After celebrating our successful discard project, we began planning the spacing and organization of our newly culled collection. We spent days poring over blueprints, wandering the stacks with measuring tapes, and crunching linear feet measurements into calculators. Similar to many other law libraries, our collection is organized primarily into categories, such as regional reporters, journals, federal materials, and treatises, and, within each of these sections, by Library of Congress classification numbers. We also have a dedicated reference section focusing specifically on North and South Carolina law. With two floors and a wide range of shelving in addition to these divisions, simple planning turned into a strange logic puzzle, attempting to preserve our categories and maintain a natural flow of the collection across the floors. Once the final calls were made, we congratulated ourselves and moved on with our regular day-to-day duties.

Our original plan to place our shorter book shelves on the fifth floor to provide a clear line of sight was short-lived. It became apparent that our architects weren’t necessarily familiar with the nuances of library design. The reinforced flooring necessary for taller stacks was only available on the fifth floor, due to the third floor being occupied by a different company, which made it impossible for engineers to reinforce the fourth floor as well. Suddenly our logic puzzle was back with a vengeance, requiring reallocation—meaning more hands on deck, more face palms, and more desperate cravings for margaritas at lunchtime.

The library was the last department scheduled to move on Friday, August 2. However, at this point, both the fourth and fifth floors in our new building were still under construction due to the reinforced flooring required and the labor-intensive installation of the floating stairwell between the two floors. As a result, the library would have to make do with a much smaller temporary space until our permanent location was complete. We rallied and proved our flexibility, rising to the challenge of separating our essential collection for the temporary space and leaving the nonessential materials on the shelves in our old building for the duration of the semester.

A Team in Transition Stays in Transition

August 2 came, and we packed our offices with much fanfare, planning to start work on our temporary floor the following Monday. However, on the way back from a staff lunch outing, management was informed that our temporary library floor was not ready and that our staff would be spread out into unused offices throughout the building for approximately one week. Thankfully, this “temporary-temporary” arrangement lasted only the one week.

In our temporary library space, we proved that we were a team time and time again. We were only in this location for one semester, so the school was reluctant to incur any expenses renovating the floor for such a short period of time. As a result, four members of the circulation staff shared a small work space, all of our technical services staff was confined to one room, and reference librarians were spread out two to an office. There weren’t enough shelves put up for the course reserve collection, one of the doors didn’t even have a door handle, and students were frequently locked out of study rooms due to the way the door locks had been constructed. The library staff had to adapt to tightly packed spaces that housed our work desks, book carts, and overflowing book collection. Students were less than impressed with the temporary library. Library staff frequently had to remind students and faculty that the space was not permanent.

At Long Last, Welcome Home

After the semester closed and the holidays arrived, we went to our homes happily while movers and builders feverishly worked on preparing our new floors, and we were able to welcome in the New Year in our permanent space. Our students, faculty, and staff have all been impressed with our new facilities, and we all believe that it was worth the wait. Finally, we’re here to stay!

This article was featured in the May 2014 issue of the AALL Spectrum, the official magazine of the American Association of Law Libraries.

~Ashley Moye, Brian Trippodo, Erica Tyler & Kim Allman~

Leave a comment

Filed under Building Updates

What ARE Your Favorite Study Aids?

During National Library Week, the library conducted a survey polling our current students about their favorite study aids.

The results have been tallied and sifted through, and we are proud to present the official word on Charlotte Law student’s preferred study aid materials!

Our top five study aids are:

  1. Examples and Explanations – 28.57%
  2. Emanuel Law Outlines – 12.78%
  3. Flash Cards – 12.03%
  4. Black Letter Outlines – 11.28%
  5. Glannon Guides – 10.53%

Here’s the full breakdown:

Want to know why people prefer one type of study aid to another?  We’ve got a graph for that too!

Here’s some of what our students had to say:

“I use The Black Letter Outlines for supplement reading because they provide a solid overview of the specific material and key terms that I should be pulling out of the cases I am assigned.”

“This study aid speaks in regular language. It breaks down concepts to make them very simple to understand (Emanuels).”

“I am an audio learner. It allows me to think visually while I listen to the subject I’m studying (Audio CDs).”

“I’m not one to use study aids, but I like the Examples & Explanations because they’ve been consistently recommended by professors and because they give an opportunity to test your knowledge rather than just rephrasing.”

“I find that most professors suggest this series as a supplement to their teaching. Additionally, I have found that the explanations are very clear and helpful to explain complex theories (Examples & Explanations).”

“The Understanding Series breaks down the subject material in terms in which you will understand it better.”

Want to take a closer look at our study aids collection?  Check out our Academic Success LibGuide, and as always, don’t hesitate to contact the library with additional question or feedback!

~Ashley Moye & Erica Tyler~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, collection, Student Information

A Refresher Course in Bathroom Etiquette


Welcome back, Charlotte School of Law!

The library is now in its permanent home on the 4th and 5th floors. The circulation desk, featuring your course reserves and study aids, can be found on the 5th floor. The 5th floor is also where you will find the Reference Librarians. The 4th floor has been designated as a completely quiet study area.

The new library has state of the art collaborative study spaces and more study rooms – all designed to improve your user experience. Everything is shining and new!

Speaking of shining and new-we’re friends, right? And friends can talk to each other about touchy subjects, right? I’d like to broach a touchy subject: our bathroom conditions. I will refrain from making toilet paper puns because they are tearable.

The problem is not the Charlotte Plaza janitorial staff. We can all do our part in maintaining a high level of bathroom etiquette. I can only speak to the deteriorating conditions in the ladies room. I don’t know how things go down in the men’s room. Nothing can be proven, at least, and those records have been sealed.

I do believe that the following helpful tips can be applied to both men’s and women’s bathrooms:

  1. FLUSH FLUSH FLUSH!! I know that automatic flushing can throw anyone off their game. If automation does not work, push the silver button on the top.
  2. If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie. (yeah, I stole it, but it’s still good)
  3. Wash your hands – that’s where disease comes from.  Did you know that only 30% of   people wash their hands in the afternoon, according to a survey I just made up? It’s true.
  4. It is polite to pull down paper towels for the other person in the restroom with you.  This gesture also invites them to wash their hands.
  5. For the ladies, if you are brushing out your hair or touching up your make-up, clean up after yourself.  No one wants to wash their hands at the sink covered with hairs and foundation.
  6. In fact, everyone should clean up after themselves. Don’t leave a puddle of water behind after you finish washing your hands. Let’s keep it neat and clean.
  7. Lastly, CHECK BEHIND YOU WHEN YOU’RE DONE.  Sometimes the trash receptacle is full.  If your paper towel falls on the floor, DON”T LEAVE IT THERE. Pick it up and throw it away in a less full trash receptacle. Did you know that every time you leave the bathroom dirty that it makes an angel cry?

It’s a new year, and time for new beginnings! Let’s all do our part in keeping all aspects of the new building clean.

~Erica Tyler~

Leave a comment

Filed under Building Updates, Student Information

Congratulations to Our Own Erica Winter Tyler: An Emerging Leader, Indeed!

Erica Winter Tyler has been selected as a 2014 Emerging Leader by the American Library Association.

Being selected is quite an honor. Charlotte Law Library News recently asked Tyler about her background and the Emerging Leaders program.

First, could we have some information about you? What is your background and how did you get to Charlotte School of Law?

I have lived in Charlotte for about 13 years. I am originally from Southern California. I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte cum laude in anthropology and Japanese. I have worked for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system in the past.  I was very happy when I saw a position open with the Charlotte School of Law Library. I have worked for the law library as a circulation assistant since August 2012.

Please tell us about the Emerging Leaders (EL) Program?

I am also working full time on my Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) through The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I heard about the Emerging Leaders program from the LIS department. Emerging Leaders is a career development initiative sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). EL began in 2007 to address the need for grooming a new wave of ALA leaders. The program is aimed at providing LIS students and new professionals with leadership and networking opportunities. Emerging Leaders accomplishes its goals through collaborative projects.

How are Emerging Leaders chosen for the Program?

Applications are accepted annually from late spring until summer. Applicants must submit responses to five essay questions, reflecting the American Library Association values.  For example, I was asked to describe my philosophy about effective leadership and how I would bring diversity to the Emerging Leaders program. Only fifty applicants are chosen for this opportunity and represent the ALA’s commitment to diversity in the field of librarianship.

What happens next?

Program participants will meet for the first time at the ALA Mid-Winter Conference in January 2014. Emerging Leaders will have the opportunity to review potential projects and rank the ones that interest them the most. Ultimately, Emerging Leaders are assigned to a project based on individual job skills, personal interests, and library type. The finished product of these collaborative efforts will be showcased at the annual ALA Conference in July (Las Vegas this year!). Each group will present the results of their projects, and write up a report of the project’s accomplishments. The Emerging Leaders program is a year-long engagement. Afterwards, Emerging Leaders are expected to join one of the various ALA committees for a 2-year commitment. I am particularly interested in the ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) and its associated Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS). I would love to work on long-distance collaborative social science based library projects! Since I am already a distance learning student and also completing an internship as an embedded librarian, I am very comfortable with long-distance collaborations.

Emerging Leaders are involved as a team in completing a project. What types of projects have been completed in the past?

I am very excited about the prospect of working with other new LIS professionals. It will be an amazing opportunity to become more familiar with the ALA organization and to provide direct input to current ALA leaders. Some of the projects that Emerging Leaders have worked on in the past have included video and library wiki creation. Other project teams have developed a “curricular design” for ACRL’s 101 program and presented success stories of the best practices from institutions that have received the “Grow Your Own @ Your Library Institutional Scholarship” program administered  by the Public Library Association (PLA)

I am particularly interested in library ethnography and would love to design a case study project on student user behaviors in academic libraries.

What is the final result of the program?

The goals of the program are to provide new professionals and current LIS students the opportunity to gain confidence in their leadership skills, become familiar with the ALA organization, enhance their collaborative skills, and develop these skills with innovative uses of technology.

Congratulations Erica!

~Betty Thomas & Erica Tyler~


Filed under Careers, CharlotteLaw Library Team Members, Staff Updates

What Study Aids Are Available in the Library?

Wondering how to determine what study aids are available in the library?  Consult this amazing walk-through, created by our Circulation Assistant, Erica Tyler, to learn more about accessing the catalog from the Charlotte Law website, using availability and format to limit your results, determining the location and status of the materials you’re looking for, and even identifying older versions of study aids that allow you longer check-out times.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, collection, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Information

Upper Level Study Aids? We’ve Got You Covered!

Boy reading in the library

You asked and we listened!

We have new upper level study aids available for check-out in the library. These are some of the new arrivals that can be borrowed for 3 days or 3 hours.

Administrative Law

  • Administrative Law: Examples & Explanations (2012)

Business Associations

  • Business Associations: Questions & Answers (2011)

Civil Procedure

  • Civil Procedure: Examples & Explanations (2013)
  • The Glannon Guide to Civil Procedure (2013)
  • Understanding: Conflict of Laws (2013)

Commercial Law

  • Secured Transactions: Examples & Explanations (2011)
  • Payment Systems: Examples & Explanations (2013)
  • Questions & Answers: Secured Transaction (2011)


  • Contracts: Examples & Explanations (2013)

Constitutional Law

  • Constitutional Law National Power and Federalism: Examples & Explanations (2013)
  • Constitutional Law Individual Rights: Examples & Explanations (2013)
  • Questions & Answers: The First Amendment (2010)
  • Questions & Answers: Constitutional Law (2007)


  • Corporations: Examples & Explanations (2012)

Criminal Law

  • Criminal Law: Examples & Explanations (2013)

Criminal Procedure

  • Criminal Procedure II From Bail to Jail: Examples & Explanations (2012)
  • Criminal Procedure: Emmanuel (2012)


  • Questions & Answers: Evidence (2013)

Family Law

  • Family Law: Examples & Explanations (2013)
  • Questions & Answers: Family Law (2011)

Professional Responsibility

  • Professional Responsibility: Emmanuel (2013)
  • Questions & Answers: Professional Responsibility (2012)
  • Professional Responsibility: Examples & Explanations (2011)

Real Estate Finance & Land Use

  • Real Estate Transaction: Examples & Explanations (2011)
  • Real Estate: Emmanuel (2010)


  • Remedies: Examples & Explanations (2013)


  • Agency & Partnerships, and LLCs (2012)

Wills, Trusts, and Estates

  • Wills, Trusts, and Estates: Examples & Explanations (2012)
  • Questions & Answers: Wills, Trusts, and Estates (2008)

To view all of our study aids and their current check-out status, refer to our Academic Success LibGuide!

~Erica Tyler~


Filed under Books & Stuff, collection, Student Information

Awesome Spectacular Library Textbook Giveaway Extravaganza: Part Deux


Hey Charlotte School of Law Students!!

Join us this Friday at 2:00 pm in the Library for Week 2 of our Awesome Spectacular Library Textbook Giveaway Extravaganza!!

Simply come to the Library on Friday at 2pm to enter your name. The drawing will take place shortly thereafter.

This week you could win one of the following:

  • Health Law: Cases, Materials, and Problems (6th edition) – Furrow THOMSON/WEST
  • The First Amendment: Cases, Problems, and Materials (3rd edition) – Weaver LEXIS NEXIS
  • International Law: Selected Documents (2011-2012 edition) – Carter


  • Calamari and Perrillo on Contracts (6th edition) – Perrillo, WEST
  • Business Associations: Cases and Materials on Agency, Partnerships, and Corporations (8th edition) – Klein, FOUNDATION PRESS
  • Prosser and Keeton on Torts (5th edition)- Dobbs, WEST GROUP
  • Uniform Commercial Code (5th edition)- White, WEST GROUP
  • Civil Procedure: Cases and Materials (10th edition)- Friedenthal, WEST
  • Constitutional Law: A Contemporary Approach (2nd edition)- Maggs, WEST
  • Civil Procedure (7th edition)- Yeazell, ASPEN

Stop by to view our poster board in the library to see what you could win next week!

See you September 6th at 2pm. Good Luck, and welcome back!

~Erica Tyler~

1 Comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, Events, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Information

Awesome Spectacular Textbook Giveaway Extravaganza!


Hey Charlotte School of Law Students!!

Welcome back for your Fall 2013 semester. The Law Library will be kicking off the new semester and new location with a textbook/ study aid giveaway. Starting Friday August 30th you can enter your name into our Awesome Spectacular Library Textbook Giveaway Extravaganza.

Simply come to the Library on Friday at 2pm to enter your name. The drawing will take place shortly thereafter.


 This week you could win one of the following:

  • Constitutional Law: Cases, Materials, and Problems-Weaver (3rd edition) ASPEN
  • Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials- Varat (Concise 13th Edition) FOUNDATION PRESS
  • Studies in American Tort Law- Johnson (4th Edition) CAROLINA ACADEMIC PRESS
  • Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies- Chemerinsky (4th Edition) ASPEN


 Stop by to view our poster board in the library to see what you could win next week!

See you August 30th at 2pm. Good luck, and welcome back!

~Erica Tyler~

Leave a comment

Filed under Books & Stuff, Events, Of Interest to Law Students, Student Information

Book Review — The Law and Harry Potter


2007 was an amazing year. The 110th United States Congress elected Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history. Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone. The tomb of Herod the Great was discovered. The Dali Lama received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. Both Argentina and India swore in their first female presidents. NASA launched its Phoenix spaceship. And the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released.

Yes, 2007 marked the end of an era. No longer would grown adults have to shove pre-teens out of the way to claim the last copy of Harry Potter books sold at midnight releases. Organized crime in Las Vegas would have to look elsewhere to bet on which favorite character died by the end of the volume (this actually happened. I hear that now bets are being taken on the Junie B. Jones series). Author J.K. Rowling created a sub-culture with her books about an outcast young boy who discovers he is a wizard. This sub-culture has spawned: hundreds of blogs, a blockbuster movie series, video games, action figures, an attraction at Universal Studios, National Quidditch teams, replica wands sales, replica Death Eater tattoos, several scholarly panels, and legal analysis of the storyline. Now that the frenzy has died down, we are in a good place to reflect upon the world of the Boy Who Lived.

In The Law & Harry Potter (2010) Jeffrey E. Thomas and Franklin G. Snyder bring together a collection of articles that discuss what role the law has within a magical community. In this world, the largest governmental agency is the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, which is under the control of the colossal Ministry of Magic. Within this Department one will find the illustrious Aurors. These individuals are highly trained in counter-Dark Arts measures to investigate and apprehend those who are suspected of using the Dark Arts. Users of the Dark Arts are almost synonymously supporters of the series’ antagonist Lord Voldemort, and are known as Death Eaters. The Aurors can be equated to counter-terrorist organizations in the non-magical world. However, an Auror is given full authority to kill, torture, and coerce suspected Death Eaters. And considering that the Department of Magical Law Enforcement answers to no other department within the Ministry of Magic, here lays the first problem with law and order in the Wizarding world.

In the article “The Persecution of Tom Riddle:  A Study in Human Rights Law,” Geoffrey R. Watson plays devil’s advocate for He Who Must Not Be Named. Watson paints the Ministry of Magic as a totalitarian entity that is made up of individuals who were not elected through popular vote. He claims that there is no separation of powers, and there exists no checks and balances. Watson further argues that the Ministry has violated the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. All this done through its proxy: Harry Potter. One could argue that Wizards are above the common law of Muggles. Yet if Wizards are to be held in a higher regard should not they follow the basic principles of civil rights as well? Watson makes the argument that it was the parental Potters’ involvement in the “state-sanctioned terrorist group known as the Order of Phoenix” that caused injury to Riddle first. I feel compelled to point out that the Order of Phoenix operated outside the scope of the law, such as it is, within the Wizarding world. The members of this organization acted without the consent of the Ministry of Magic, and could be labeled as domestic terrorists. Watson argues that Tom Riddle was simply an idealist who was trying to overcome the injustices of a totalitarian regime. And his actions were merely in self-defense. Riddle was unfairly marked as an enemy of the State, and persecuted without benefit of due process. Watson attacks the credibility of Harry Potter by citing the numerous violations of Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights through use of the polyjuice potion. This potion gives the user the ability to assume the form of another. And this act violates Article 6 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On numerous occasions throughout the series, Harry Potter and his accomplices stole the identities of rivals and engaged in unlawful interrogation. The violation that Watson is specifically citing comes from book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Other articles within this book cover a variety of topics.  Family Law is discussed in “Hogwarts, the Family, and the State: Forging Identity and Virtue in Harry Potter,” by Danaya C. Wright. Evidence of contract law within Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is analyzed within the article “What Role Need Law Play in a Society with Magic?” by John Gava and Jeannie M. Paterson. Geoffrey C. Rapp introduces the issue of wrongful conviction in his article “Sirius Black: A Case Study in Actual Innocence.” And Heidi Schooner discusses the role of banking regulations upon Gringotts, the sole Wizarding bank, in her article “Gringrotts: The Role of Banks in Harry Potter’s Wizarding World.” This just names a few of the fascinating articles within this collection. The Law & Harry Potter is a captivating read that takes a harder look at the implications of a world where problems can disappear with the flick of a wand.

Check this book out from your Charlotte School of Law Library!

~Erica Tyler~

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews - The Stranger the Better, Books & Stuff, collection, Hidden Treasures, Librarians Can Be Fun Too, Of Interest to Law Students

Book Review: Is Eating People Wrong?

Hello there diligent law student! Yes, you there with the stack of Federal Reporters straining your back and dropping that AmJur on your foot. The library loves you. And now that you are creeped out, I have your attention. Are you in the mood to read something out of the ordinary? If your textbook readings are leaving you in tears, why not peruse the unexplored sections in between the stacks? The library has a variety of fascinating books full of memorable anecdotes that enables the law to become more digestible.

Take for example the writings of author Allan C. Hutchinson. Hutchinson is a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto. He is a legal theorist whose research interests include: public law, legal theory, and the legal profession. Hutchinson is a prolific writer, having authored/or edited some 16 works. And February 20th of this year marks the release of his 17th work entitled “Laughing at the Gods: Great Judges and How They Made the Common Law.”

eating people

You can check out his 2011 release, Is Eating People Wrong?: Great Legal Cases and How They Shaped the World, from the library’s Treatise section. In an interview with Rorotoko (5/22/11) Hutchinson states that he chose eight cases he felt had the most impact in shaping common law. He proposed that the legal cases discussed in his book “breathe life” into the law for the reader. Hutchinson presents monumental legal cases such as Brown v Board of Education and Miranda v Arizona.

The book’s title refers to R v Dudley and Stephens. Hutchinson displays his flair for the narrative style as he recounts the details of the infamous events abroad the Mignonette. The Mignonette was purchased by John Henry Want, an English businessman. He and his crew of three had planned to sail from New South Wales to Australia. A storm destroyed the yacht, and the men barely escaped with their lives. After weeks of drifting and slowly starving to death, the decision was made to eat the already emaciated cabin boy. Upon their eventual rescue at sea, the surviving men were at first hailed as heroes. Hutchinson really draws the reader in with his detailed re-telling of the events that led up to the men’s reversal of fortune, and subsequent arrests. This 1884 case set a precedent within common law that necessity is not a defense to a charge of murder. Sadly, this is the only case in Is Eating People Wrong? that analyzes the legal repercussions of cannibalism.

Another highly entertaining chapter concerns Donoghue v Stevenson, a.k.a the “snail in the bottle” case. The chapter entitled “A Snail in a Bottle: Nature, Neighbors, and Negligence” recounts how Glasgow native May Donoghue became ill after finding the partial remains of a snail within her ginger beer bottle. Her decision to pursue legal recourse against the bottling company led to the concept of negligence.

Is Eating People Wrong is a thoroughly enjoyable read that takes a look at some of the notable cases that have come to shape common law. And proves once again that fact is indeed stranger than fiction.

~Erica Tyler~

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews - The Stranger the Better, Books & Stuff, Hidden Treasures, Librarians Can Be Fun Too, Of Interest to Law Students