We seldom recommend attending specific events in this space, but we have no such qualms about pressing fellow citizens and cherished readers to take full advantage of next Saturday’s People’s Law School, hosted annually by Baylor Law School. It again offers a stunning variety of courses touching on concerns ranging from those in our personal lives to topics festering away in the daily news. Two facts further commend it: The courses are not only free but you can take up to three courses in a single, revelatory morning.
As the melodramatic PR hacks from yesteryear breathlessly proclaimed in touting novels and movies, many offerings of this year’s People’s Law School are ripped from today’s headlines, including those on sexual harassment (victims of which made last year’s Time magazine Persons of the Year), the new, controversial tax law (with a lecturer cutting through hyperbole and discussing what is and isn’t in the bill) and the immigration travel ban — specifically, what a president can and can’t do and why each of us should care.
One course sure to attract attention and even spark some debate looks at the impeachment process, a topic much in mind as Americans ponder and discuss a most unconventional president. (We suspect Trump supporters and skeptics will agree on at least that much.) Our friend, law professor Patricia Wilson, who oversees the People’s Law School, tells us this course will dispel talk-radio myths about the process, possibly disappointing some on the left as well as the right. For instance, what specifically constitutes the “high crimes and misdemeanors” Founding Fathers included as grounds for impeachment along with treason and bribery? Our recommendation to the intrepid instructor: Seat Democrats, Republicans and independents in different sides of the room. Remove sharp objects.
Even courses not exactly inspired by current events strike us as compelling, including a behind-the-scenes look at jury selection, which proved one of the most exciting courses during last year’s People’s Law School. Wilson tells us this course offers “another chance to see two experienced trial lawyers demonstrate jury selection, using members of the class as the potential ‘jurors.’” (Who among us will be stricken from jury duty?) Given the multitude of Twin Peaks biker trials now awaiting scheduling, this course promises insights most relevant to local folks.
Other courses include one offering a look at special education law, which Wilson describes as “byzantine.” This will consequently be of great help to bewildered parents of children requiring such education. And she promises an updated edition of debt collection law, “including valuable information on protecting yourself from identity theft.” Again, these and many more are free. While walk-ins are accepted for the school, Wilson encourages folks to pre-register at baylor.edu/law to ensure they get the courses they want. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with sessions collectively running from 9 till 12:45. Our advice: Arrive early at Baylor Law School and join in fascinating discussions among fellow informed citizenry over coffee and doughnuts in the break room.