A new course offered this summer by Yada Yada Law School will answer the question “Seinfeld” fanatics have long been asking: did that parking space belong to George Costanza or to Jerry’s friend, Mike?
The answer is far from simple, according to Professor Sara Bronin, the Thomas F. Gallivan Chair in Real Property Law at the UConn School of Law and the newly minted Junior Mint Professor of Law at Yada Yada Law School. Bronin said it all comes down to whether a reasonable person would see a car stopped just past an empty parking space and assume the driver had claimed the spot.
“I’m going to ask people to consider whether George can signal he’s claiming the space by pulling forward to back into it,” Bronin says. “‘The Parking Space’ episode in ‘Seinfeld’ obviously asks the question ‘Who owns the parking space?’ but it also kind of asks: ‘Who owns anything?’”
Bronin’s class on property law will be the first of 10 virtual weekly lessons on Zoom in the free course “Seinfeld And The Law,” offered by the new and definitely unaccredited Yada Yada Law School. Prominent professors and legal scholars will address topics on which they are experts, with each lecture tied to an episode of “Seinfeld.”
The course and school were created by Gregory Shill, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law who is also known as the Art Vandelay Dean & Kenny Rogers Roasters Foundation Chair in Business Law at Yada Yada Law School. He hopes to bring educational content and laughs to those who are self-isolating or quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I wanted the lectures to be available and digestible to anybody, but to really model the first-year law student’s curriculum,” Shill says. “Sara is a nationally recognized property law and urban design scholar and was an obvious choice.”
“The Parking Space” episode of “Seinfield” — Season 3, Episode 22 – will be the focal point of Bronin’s lecture, which will take place at 1 p.m. on June 3, 2020. She sees it as an opportunity to talk about important topics with much-needed levity.
“The episode teaches us that if we don’t all agree to respect norms for ownership claims, society can descend into chaos,” Bronin says. “It’s almost like the ‘Seinfeld’ creators knew about the legal issues they were raising, at least more than most people assume they did.”
Other classes will explore criminal law, contracts, torts, evidence, and other fundamental legal topics with faculty from law schools around the country. Advance registration is required. The course is free but Shill requests that students make a donation to support the frontline COVID-19 relief efforts of Legal Services of New York City, a cause he is passionate about.
As the first class offered by Yada Yada Law School approaches, Shill is mulling over a slogan for the new institution. One possibility: “A Fake Law School With Real Faculty Teaching Classes About Nothing.”