Talking Law to Fact with Professor Garfield Tenzer

May 8, 2018
Professor Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer

​Talking Law to Fact with Professor Garfield Tenzer

Pace Law Professor Leslie Y. Garfield Tenzer has recently added host of podcast to her resume. We sat down with her to find out what her podcast, Law to Fact, is all about.

JD:  Let’s start with the basics, what sparked you starting this podcast?

LT:  It was a combination of a few things. I am always looking to explore new technological outlets and I wanted to provide students with unique learning tools. I had noticed that podcasts were gaining in popularity and so it seemed like making podcasts would be a way to impart information while providing me with an opportunity to learn a new medium.

JD:  The podcast is called Law to Fact - how did you come up with the name?

 LT:  Well, originally I called it Podagogy, which I thought was clever because it was a combination of the words podcasts and pedagogy, which means a method of teaching. Apparently others are equally clever because I learned, after about 10 podcasts, that there is already a Podagogy. So, I spoke with several students and we brainstormed and came up with Law to Fact. It made sense since I constantly remind students in class that the key to acing an exam is applying law to fact.

JD:  Are the podcasts applicable nationwide or more focused on NY law?

LT:  Nationwide! They are all geared to basic law school courses, and so they are designed to benefit anyone in law school, although I have had non-lawyers contact me and say they enjoy them too.

JD:  What is the format of the podcasts?

LT:  Now they are all interview based. My original goal was to provide an overview of each topic through a medium that students could listen to in the car or at the gym (although try lifting weights to the elements of negligence!). So I started out with scripts and taped myself with mini-lectures. Then, one of my students asked me to create a podcast on the Erie Doctrine I don’t teach Civ. Pro. So between not being fully familiar with how to explain the Erie doctrine and loving Marc Maron’s WTF interview podcast, I decided to try out a Q&A interview format. I asked Professor Michael Mushlin, a Civ. Pro. Expert, to do a podcast with me. I interviewed him and I got to play Marc Maron! I love this format much more than the straight lecture format.   

JD:  What is your goal with each podcast?

LT:  My goal is help students learn the law and learn how to communicate their understanding of the law as it applies to different factual situations. So in each podcast I try to tease out three questions.  First, what are the rules of the particular area of law we are discussing; second, how would a student see this particular area of the law on the exam; and finally, how should the student structure an answer if they see this area of the law on the exam.

JD:  Have you had any student feedback?

LT:  The feedback has been very positive. Yesterday, I got an email from a student saying I saved her because she just didn’t understand future interests until she heard the podcast. (Special thanks to Jason Czarnezki for this one!).

JD:  You recently reached 5000 downloads and rapidly increasing – did you ever think it would be downloaded on such a widespread basis?

LT:  No! I am blown away. I check the analytics all the time and I love seeing that number rise.

JD:  Some people can’t stand to hear themselves recorded – are you one of those people who avoid listening to yourself after the fact?

LT:  Not at all or I definitely could not be hosting this podcast!

 JD:  Where is the podcast available/easily streamed?

 LT:  It is available on ITunes, Buzzsprout, and Stitcher.Com and they will be on Spotify in the next few weeks.

 JD:  What are your future plans for Law to Fact?

 LT:  I am on sabbatical this Fall and I plan to take a podcast “road trip” and interview professors at other schools. 

JD:  Any tips for students as they take their end of year exams?

LT:  Yes. Get out of what I call the “Undergrad Head.” Students think that the skills that got them the grades to get into law school – like memorization – are the skills that will get them good grades in law school.  But that isn’t the case. Law school exams test the ability to analyze a particular set of facts to the law they learned in class. I guess that is why I call my podcast Law to Fact, because the best exam answers are the ones that apply law to fact. 

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