January 17, 2013
Using The Blind Side as a Visual Aid for the Parol Evidence Rule
I start the second semester of Contracts with the Parol Evidence Rule. I think it's a complex but manageable topic that engages my no-longer-terrified "seasoned" students at the beginning of the semester. Some students, however, struggle to understand exactly what the effect of the rule is, especially after I tell them that it's not really a rule of evidence. Then, after we cover the exceptions, they're even more confused. So, for the visual thinkers in the class, I show this clip:
For the students not familiar with football, I explain that the player featured in the video, Michael Oher, is an offensive lineman at the heart of the book and movie, The Blind Side. His primary job is to protect the quarterback. More specifically, Oher's job is to protect the quarterback's "blind side"--the side the QB can't see when looking downfield to pass (for right-handed quarterbacks, the left tackle protects the blind side; for lefty QBs, it's the right tackle's job).
Then, I say, "Michael Oher is the Parol Evidence Rule. The defenders rushing in are parol (or extrinsic) evidence. Defensive linemen are prior written agreements. Linebackers are contemporaneous statements. The safety is fraud in the inducement. The quarterback is the judge. Most of the time, Michael Oher (a.k.a., the Parol Evidence Rule) is keeping the extrinsic evidence away from the quarterback/judge. The QB/Judge knows the evidence is there but it does not reach him or affect his decision. That said, Michael Oher is not perfect. Neither is the parol evidence rule. Sometimes, a safety gets through, and for good reason."
And so on. The analogy breaks down in various places but still seems to work for some students. Thus, I thought I'd share it on the blog. I hope some of you find it useful.
[Heidi R. Anderson]
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Hmmm, I am very intrigued by the metaphor. I love the use of film, and am always looking for new suggestions of effective clips to use in the classroom. And a sports metaphor often provides a very effective & accessible analogy for a good number of my students (and I have been wrestling with how to help them grasp the PER, as we begin the second semester as well). I want to chew on the analogy some more, but thanks so much for posting this idea, Heidi. (And if anyone else is willing to share any metaphors or visual aids they have found to be effective, by all means, please post a reply. )
Posted by: Chris Osborn | Jan 18, 2013 8:07:14 AM