Information for Students in Prof. Goetz's Courses


My "Disabilities"

I have now surpassed by a number of years that "Golden" birthday when they start giving you discounts at the movies, restaurants, etc.  Along with the grey hair, I have developed two physical disabilities that may affect your educational experience in my classes.

The most serious of these is the (unfortunately as-yet-undiagnosed) neurological condition that I contracted in late 1999.  While the seriousness of the symptoms varies from day to day, the illness produces pain (similar to electrical shocks) and numbness in my legs and hands and, sometimes, spells of unusual fatigue.  There is little probability that you will ever notice the neurological symptoms in the classroom.  However, it does mean that, to mitigate discomfort, I work on a laptop computer at home, sitting up in bed where the surface is soft and I can keep my legs outstretched to minimize the neuropathy symptoms.  Hence, you will not often find me in my office at WB 353.  I have, however, an always-connected internet link and an unlisted phone line at home, either of which can be used to contact me freely, including on weekends and evenings.  If I happen not to be at home, leave a message on the answering machine. Contact information (email, telephone, etc.) is in the Locating the Professor link on the class webpage.

The second problem, which you probably will notice in class, is that I have some noticeable hearing impairment which is not fully corrected by my exorbitantly expensive, high-tech hearing aids. (The competing theories are that this is God's punishment for either listening to too much loud music via earphones or shooting too many shotgun shells at small birds.)  If I don't always understand you in class, it's not your fault.  So indulge an Old Guy by speaking louder, especially if your voice is in the upper frequency ranges--more likely for women--where I experience the most difficulty.

Attendance Policy

I hope that class sessions reward attendance by providing insights that you would find difficult to derive by yourself --or to glean from group notes.  However, when I was a student myself,  I appreciated being treated as an adult.  Therefore, you do not have to excuse yourself to me if you choose to be absent from class, nor do I have a policy of monitoring attendance.  You should know, however, that the Law School has a formal policy of requiring "regular attendance," which has been construed to mean 80% of the class sessions.  From time to time, I am asked by a Law School official about the attendance of a particular student when a problem has come to the attention of the "Attendance Police."  Therefore,  I may require you at some point to certify under the provisions of the Honor Code that you have complied with the regular attendance rule.

Multimedia Classes

I have for many years been teaching all of my classes with Powerpoint slides.  Properly used, such slides not only make the material more intelligible, but also increase coverage by making more effective use of class time.  The number of minutes professors waste just by writing on the board adds up quickly.  I understand that "they let the professor go faster" is exactly the objection that some students have to these slides.  Still, my job is to teach you as much as possible about the things that you may someday need to know in order to justify the trust reposed in you by some future client with a problem, or a potential problem.  I spend a very large amount of time preparing slides that are instructive, entertaining, and highly flexible.  You may, for instance, note that the slides are not designed to be presented in a lockstep order, as with a slide projector, but are hyperlinked.  Thus, it is easy to skip around and adjust the flow of class presentations to the way questions develop in any particular session.

Someone always gripes that "the print is too small" on certain slides.  My retort is one of my favorite phrases, "As compared to what?"  You will find that all of the slides, bar none, are clearer, more legible, and more thoughtfully contrived than if similar material were being written by hand on the board.  So, if you have vision problems, grab a front seat.

Because it is easier and less disruptive of class time to use slides, I will be showing you more visual material than tends to be true when professors have to write information by hand on the board.  You should not make the mistake of thinking that everything that appears on the screen is important enough to be committed to your notes.  Not only will you be unable to "keep up," but you will be incorrect in using "screen time" as a proxy for importance.

As the Law School's projection technology has improved, there is less of a trade-off between room light and projection clarity, but some dimming of the lights is still required.  Especially if the class is reasonably full, this may cause me sometimes not to see your hand when you wish to ask a question or otherwise intervene. So, don't be bashful about aggressively waving your hand or --if all else fails-- just politely speaking out "Excuse me, Prof. Goetz, but . . ."  I do want to hear from you.


At the end of add-drop period, I distribute a seating chart.  You will be asked to sign your name in your chosen seat and, unless you first see me about modifying the seating chart,  to occupy only that seat for the remainder of the semester.

Final Exam

For many years now, all of my final exams have been according to what I call the "Open Everything" Rule.  Not only will the exam be open-book, but I will assume that you have the text materials with you and can consult them.  In addition, you can use your own notes, group notes, etc.  Basically, the main thing that you can not do is, during the exam, solicit or receive aid from any other person.