Shapiro’s swan song: ‘I’m your professor, oh I’m the rule man’

Professor Stephen Shapiro sings to his colleagues at his last faculty meeting.

Professor Stephen Shapiro sings to his colleagues at his last faculty meeting.

By way of saying farewell, retiring Professor Stephen Shapiro serenaded his colleagues at the end of Wednesday’s faculty meeting.

Shapiro, who accompanied himself on guitar, sang two original songs, one that he’s been performing for his students for years — “Law Prof,” or the Rules of Civil Procedure set to music — and another that he wrote specially for the occasion, which was marked with cake and Champagne.

Shapiro joined the UB law faculty in 1985. He has published numerous law review articles in the areas of civil rights, federal jurisdiction and procedure, government ethics and evidence, and he is the co-author of Maryland Rules of Evidence with Objections.

He has also lectured on Maryland and federal law to judges and lawyers and is a volunteer attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland.

Learn more about Professor Shapiro.

Without further ado, here are the lyrics to Shapiro’s “Law Prof”:

When people ask me what I do, I say that I teach Law School
They say oh you’re a lawyer, I say no that is not true
I have a law degree, but a lawyer that’s not me
No pin-striped suits, just chalky pants, it’s better you’ll agree.

I’m your professor, oh I’m the rule man. Subpoenas, motions, pleadings, I’m a real fan
You better learn it, I’m hard to fool man. That college bull you pulled won’t get you through man
It’s almost time to go to class, your head is spinning round
How will you learn this gobbledygook, how will you get it down.

[Rule 6, Computation of Time]
In computing any period of time, prescribed or allowed by these Rules
By the local rules of any district court, or by any applicable statute
The day of the act, event or default, from which the designated period of time begins to run
Shall be included
But the last day of the period so computed, shall be included
Unless it is a Saturday, a Sunday or a legal holiday. (Oy vey.)


[Rule 8(c), Affirmative Defenses]
In pleading to a preceding pleading, a party shall set forth affirmatively:
Accord and Satisfaction, arbitration and award, assumption of the risk
Fraud latches license payment, waiver and duress, and others harder to pronounce than this.
Every pleading shall contain a caption setting forth the name of the court, number and the parties
It also must contain a statement short and plain of the claim or it will be tardy
[Short and plain, right, these are lawyers we’re talking about]
Oh I’m a law prof, call me professor. I’m a laid-back teacher, not a snappy dresser
Oh the world needs lawyers, oh that I see, to provide the jokes for late-night TV.


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