The Trials of The Century
Comedic CLE Webinar
Friday, May 21, 2021
8:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Presented by Joel Oster, Comedian of Law LLC
Trials of the Centuries: Learning from History
This class will remind the lawyer about the true essence of being an attorney. We go back in time as review the most significant, precedent-setting, cultural-impacting cases over the last several millennia. We look at the trial strategies, the issues involved, the outcomes, and how those cases can make you a better lawyer today.
8:40 – 9:40 – Trials of Galileo and Socrates
While the trial of Galileo and Socrates happened well before the advent of Instagram, and the tweets from that time period are somewhat limited, the impact on the legal system was and continues to be significant. Galileo was on trial for teaching the Earth revolved around the Sun, and Socrates was on trial for corrupting the minds of the youth. Which is rather ironic because most youth think the word revolves around them. But both trials significantly impacted the law to this day. In this class, we will learn the importance of public trials, trials by jury, the importance of academic freedom and controlling freedom of thought. This class will prove one thing – the more things change, the more they stay the same.
9:40 – 9:50 – Break
9:50 – 10:50 - Marbury v. Madison and the Judicial Power Grab
A nation in its infancy faced the first true test of its laws. President Adams, as one of his last official duties, appointed William Marbury as a justice of the peace. Even though the Senate quickly confirmed the appointment, Adams failed to have the appointment delivered. The incoming president, Thomas Jefferson, no fan of John Adams, refused to have the appointment delivered. And so Marbury sued the new Secretary of State James Madison, seeking a mandamus compelling him to deliver the appointment. A young nation’s laws hung in the balance. This class looks at the arguments that were made, the strategies, and the ramifications today of the holding in this landmark case.
10:50 – 11:00 – Break
11:00 – 12:00 - Leopold and Loeb – Defending the Imperfect Crime
Two wealthy students sought to commit the perfect crime. They kidnapped and murdered 14 year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago. Newspapers called it “the crime of the century.” The problem with the perfect nature of this crime is that Leopold dropped his glasses where the body was dumped. Arguing the case for the defendants was Clarence Darrow. This case transformed closing arguments. Darrow delivered a masterpiece that allowed his clients to avoid death row. This class will examine the mechanics of a masterful closing argument
12:00 – 12:30 – Lunch
12:30 – 1:30 – Scopes Monkey Trial: Litigating Counter-cultural cases
Clarence Darrow. William Jennings Bryant. WGN. This case was the first true trial of the century. The law would never be the same. A high school teacher was indicted for teaching evolution at the local high school in defiance of a state law. And the entire nation listened in as WGN broadcasted the proceedings. The trial climaxed when Clarence Darrow called the opposing lawyer to the stand, a three-time democratic nominee for president. This class will analyze how to litigate counter-cultural cases and review the lasting impact of the Scopes Trial today.
1:30 – 1:40 - Break
1:40 – 2:40 - State v. OJ Simpson
White Ford Bronco Chase. Gloves not quite the right size. A judge who loved the spotlight. And let’s not forget a defendant who is best known for his Academy award winning performances in the Naked Gun trilogy (he was robbed!)(oh, he also had a Heisman trophy in his bedroom closet). This case transformed the way courts are viewed by the public. This class studies how this case was litigated, and what this means to our legal system today.
2:40 – 2:50 – Break
2:50 – 4:30 – Darwinian Awards (Ethics)
By reviewing the mistakes other lawyers have made, from advising clients to put a sign up in their yard announcing illegal activity was going on inside the house, to lawyers getting opposing counsel drunk just to score some points with the jury, this class hands out the Darwinian Awards. Charles Darwin had a theory that only the fittest survive. Well … you can be among the fittest by adjusting your behavior to not match these lawyers.
About the Presenter
Joel Oster, Esq.,
Joel is a seasoned litigator and regular speaker to attorneys and non-attorneys alike. He currently is in private practice in Kansas City, specializing in constitutional litigation, campaign finance, sports law and appellate advocacy. He previously served as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom at its Kansas City Regional Service Center. While at ADF, he was counsel for the Town of Greece, New York in the landmark case Galloway v. Greece. Joel argued the case before the United States District Court for the Western District of New York and the Second Circuit, and was part of the legal team presenting the case to the U.S. Supreme Court where they successfully defended the Town against a challenge to its practice of opening its sessions with an invocation.
Oster regularly litigates First Amendment issues. As lead counsel in Freedom from Religion Foundation v. Obama, Oster skillfully defended the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer against an Establishment Clause challenge. Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, he successfully defended the right of an organization to have a pro-life specialty license plate in Missouri in Roach v. Stouffer. In Wigg v. Sioux Falls School District, he successful represented an elementary school teacher in obtaining equal access to school facilities after contract time after she was denied that right based on the viewpoint of her speech. In addition, Oster has defended various churches based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, against discriminatory zoning codes and regulations. Oster also has defended various individuals, corporations, and political committees against discriminatory and unconstitutional campaign finance regulations.
Joel has also spoken to thousands of attorneys across the United States and has learned from their successful and unsuccessful legal practices. Joel brings this practical perspective to all his seminars.
Oster earned his J.D. in 1997 from the University of Kansas School of Law. Oster is admitted to the bar in Kansas, Missouri, Florida, and numerous federal courts.
Joel is a seasoned litigator and regular speaker to attorneys and non-attorneys alike. He currently is in private practice in Kansas City, specializing in constitutional litigation, campaign finance, sports law and appellate advocacy.
$200 - TBA members
$400 - Non-TBA members
No charge for Law Students.
R.E. Tuck Duncan, Attorney at Law LLC