When this year’s 1Ls sit down for their first Property Law class they are likely to discuss Pierson v. Post. The case concerns a dispute over who owned a wild fox killed during a hunt. Lodowick Post and his pack of hunting dogs were in pursuit of the fox, having chased it through a stretch of the town commons when Jesse Pierson suddenly intervened to kill and claim it. Post insisted that the fox was rightly his, as he and his pack of hounds had been in pursuit and were on the verge of capturing it. Pierson countered that a wild animal is no one’s property until it is definitively captured or killed.
Pierson is a 1L classic because it dramatizes the legal construction of ownership. The dividing line between the fox’s state of nature and its state as property is whatever the majority opinion says it is. More subtly, the case also dramatizes a key assumption driving much of Anglo-American property law: settling the question of ownership clarifies many of the rights and responsibilities that shape our relations as political subjects. Pierson can feel anachronistic, with the majority discussing obscure legal treatises and the minority perseverating on the noxiousness of foxes. But the case was not really about a fox.
What is the worst thing about law school softball? The fickle weather. Sometimes, while we’re playing outside, it rains. Maybe one day scientists will figure out how to control rainfall, and lawyers will have to argue that controlling rainfall is totally legal, but until then, rain will continue to figuratively dampen our spirits and literally dampen everything else on occasional Saturdays throughout the season.
Thankfully, a certain team has a name and a theme song tailor-made for persevering through such stormy conditions. Both came in handy this past Saturday, as It’s Raining Mens Rea easily dispensed with its opposition on a cold, wet morning, and in doing so earned itself a most satisfying victory dance to that most appropriate theme song at the end of the game.
The winning effort and its accompanying soundtrack highlighted the importance of developing and maintaining a positive attitude in the face of a tough situation. Is this a metaphor for law school or the practice of law? Maybe. But more importantly, it’s a great reason to analyze the X-factor of a great law school (softball) experience, the individual walk-up music each batter chooses to play as s/he approaches the plate for an at-bat. A breakdown of some choice cuts from the members of the Mens Rea roster follow the break, along of course with your weekly standings update. Continue reading