Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1987

Abstract

John Reed is the Fred Astaire of the law school world. That doesn't mean John would win prizes for his waltzing and tangoing; the kinship runs much deeper. There is the same purity of line in gesture and speech, the same trimness of content and grace of expression, and the same ineffable talent for brightening up a scene just by entering it. John certainly brightened up the law school days for this former student, a generation or so ago. We jaded upperclass people actually looked forward to John's Evidence classes, and he seldom if ever let us down. The sessions could have been choreographed. John was constantly in motion, playfully juggling one idea after another before our bedazzled gazes. The timing was impeccable. Somehow, magically, he managed not to bore the quick-witted and not to leave the slower learners behind. Did our attention begin to flag? Out would come the sly quip or the droll story, and bnce more we would be back under the conjurer's spell. And it was all done so effortlessly, so spontaneously that it took years before we realized how much forethought and rehearsal time must have gone into the performance. Yet, in John's hands, the showmanship was only a means to an end. After participating over the years in many hearings of various kinds, I became convinced that my schoolmates and I were among a privileged few lawyers in the whole country. Painlessly, even entertainingly, John had let us in on some of the profession's most arcane and inaccessible secrets: the true nature of hearsay; the distinction between competency, materiality, and relevance; the best evidence rule; and divers similar conundrums.


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