Hooters files suit against Twin Peaks restaurants

OK, at some level I understand that this is a serious lawsuit. As reported by the AP, Hooters has accused a former executive of taking confidential information to his new employer, rival Twin Peaks restaurants.

Now, I’d never heard of Twin Peaks restaurants before (do I smell some kind of trademark or dilution claim out there concerning the show?), but the AP describes Twin Peaks as a competitor that also features “scantily clad women serving casual food.” A quick Google image search of “Twin Peaks Restaurant” will (ahem) reveal that Twin Peaks waitresses wear uniforms that share certain design similarities with Hooters’ uniforms.

So let me get this straight…Hooters is claiming that Twin Peaks and the former Hooters executive are illegally competing against Hooters by taking the super-secret key to Hooters’ success. Huh? People don’t already know the key to Hooters’ success? And all this time I thought that people went to Hooters for the super-secret seasoning in their cuisine.

In rememberance: Keith Aoki

Today, the legal academy lost a good friend and colleague. Keith Aoki passed away after struggling with illness. Those of us who had the privilege of working with Keith will remember him for his intelligence, wit, energy, and caring. I was lucky enough to know him as a fellow intellectual property professor, member of the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty, AALS committee member, and most of all – friend. He was an inspirational, outstanding, and special person in every way. Rest in peace, Keith.

Exquisite Irony: High School Officials Struggle with Realization that Cheerleading Outfits Might be “Sexually Suggestive”

A sports law story making the rounds involves the ability of Seminole County high school cheerleaders to wear their cheerleader outfits on game day. Not long ago, the county implemented a stronger dress code that required skirts to be longer than mid-thigh. This code also banned “sexually suggestive” clothing and appeared designed to stop the bare midriff, below-the-waist belt lines in fashion today. Then came the discovery that (NEWS FLASH!) cheerleading outfits have skirts shorter than the dress code allows. And, even worse, cheerleaders want to wear their outfits to school on game days. The principals of the various high schools put their heads together, and concluded that “spirit-building distraction is the intent of having the cheer squad wear outfits to school on game days.”

I can hear the boys of Seminole County now, breathing a sigh of relief that their principals have finally figured out exactly which girls should be allowed to wear short skirts to school to properly develop the boys’ school spirit. And it’s so good to be told that boys should stare at the cheerleaders to ensure the success of the school’s sports teams. Heaven forbid that they would ever stare for other reasons. And heaven forbid that any cheerleader would EVER wear her uniform to school for reasons other than school spirit.

Choosing a law school, part 7

In this post, I’m going to argue that prospective students should care whether a law school’s faculty publishes. Not everyone agrees, and we’ve all had professors who were great scholars but indifferent classroom teachers. I also freely concede that teaching ability does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with scholarly ability, so that a school’s best teachers need not be its best publishers. Nevertheless, I still think that faculty who publish have a better chance of offering outstanding classes than those who do not.

To illustrate, I’ll reveal a bit about two classes I have taught: copyright and evidence. I’ve published a reasonable amount about copyright, including a casebook published by West. By contrast, I’ve published nothing about evidence, with my background in that area coming from my work as a litigator.

Students have rated both of these classes well. In fact, I don’t think there’s any significant variation in the numbers. Yet, I firmly believe that I teach better a copyright than evidence class because the things I learn from research and publishing enable me to give copyright a deeper and more nuanced treatment. I know more about the overall structure of the area, respond better to student questions, and challenge students in more ways in copyright than in evidence.

Now granted, I don’t think this is something that students always pick up. My evidence class is pretty “black letter,” sticking to how lawyers need to work through evidentiary problems in courtrooms. This makes sense given how students will use evidence, and I think students feel that the course serves them well. Nevertheless, I am aware that I don’t blend in the “big theory” issues as well as I could because I don’t know them that well.

By contrast, I pack a lot into my copyright course. This sometimes frustrates students. Some only want “black letter” law (something that is very elusive in copyright at best). Some dislike what they consider theoretical digressions from what they need to know for practice. I could teach copyright to that lower common denominator, but I choose not to. And I like to think that my students come to appreciate that the complexity they encounter ultimately serves them well when they deal with that subject’s frustrating ambiguity in practice. In short, although I teach what I think is a good, competent evidence course, the academic “ceiling” in my copyright class is much higher.

To be clear, I am not saying that publishing is the only thing that prospective students should care about in evaluating a law school’s faculty. As I suggested in an earlier post, some law schools clearly value teaching and their professors are accessible to students in ways that can matter a great deal. Students should visit schools, talk to existing students, and see if classes are well-received. Such inquiry will probably identify a number of schools that appear to have good teaching. At this point, I think it makes sense for a prospective student to then compare publication records of the faculties to see how often they will learn from professors who are at the forefront of their fields.