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Book Review: If it Does Not Fit, Must you Acquit?

Ever dreamed of becoming a lawyer or at least learning about the U.S. legal system? Well here's a funny way to start.
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   22-07-2013
Book cover of If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit?; photo courtesy of Lawpsided Press
If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit?: Your Humorous Guide to the Law
By Sean Carter; illustrated by Sharon Stockdale

Ever dreamed of becoming a lawyer – or at least learning about the U.S. legal system? Well, it turns out it might not be as boring an endeavor as you think – especially not if you read this book: If It Does Not Fit, Must You Acquit? Read and you’ll be giggling yourself into law school before you know it. The author, Sean Carter, is a Harvard Law graduate and former Securities Lawyer, who now calls himself "Humorist at Law". He knows his stuff.

The title might strike a note to those who remember (or have read about) the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial in the U.S. (in which well known former American football player and actor O.J. Simpson stood trial on two counts of murder - his ex-wife and her friend). His lead lawyer, Johnnie Cochran, famously stated as part of his argument during the trial: "If I put this knit cap on, who am I?" he asked. "I'm still Johnnie Cochran in a knit cap ... and O.J. Simpson in a knit cap from two blocks away is still O.J. Simpson. It's no disguise. It makes no sense. If it doesn't fit. If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." Simpson was acquitted after eight months of trial, known then as the most publicized criminal trial in American history.

But aside from the historical background to the title, this is a truly entertaining (and informative) read – well accompanied by funny little cartoon-ish illustrations to, well, illustrate, the point in hand. And every chapter is then completed with amusing ‘Chapter in Review’ page questions. For example (taken from the book):

Chapter in Review: Other Constitutional Freedoms
2. Under the 5th Amendment, a governmental “taking” requires:
  1. Just compensation
  2. A fast getaway car
  3. Courage

It’s everything you ever wanted to know about Contracts, Property law, Federalism, Constitutional Law, Criminal law, Negligence, Procedural Law – oh, we could go on. It’s all a bit of fun – so don’t take it as seriously as you would a textbook or a real law professor on the subject – but it does allow you to learn things you’d otherwise not likely be amused at: larceny, anyone?
 
But of course if you do remember to sign up for law school afterwards, it might never be this much fun.

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