About Ian C. Pilarczyk

Ian C. Pilarczyk is a legal historian and scholar who is also director of the Executive LL.M. in international business law, and the Legal English Certificate Program, at Boston University School of Law.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 4/18/17: Lawyer’s Day

Distressingly, there is no official “Lawyer’s Day” in the U.S.–despite the fact that nearly half of the members of Congress are lawyers.The second Tuesday in April is, however, informally known as “International Be Kind to Lawyers Day” and has its own … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 4/10/17: Slow-Motion Video and Juror Bias

A recent study has shown that jurors who are shown surveillance video, in slow motion, of criminal acts committed by defendants often suffer from ‘intentionality bias’. Even when reminded that the footage was artificially slowed down, unanimous juries were four times … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 4/3/17: Good Samaritan Laws and Pets

Currently six states have ‘Good Samaritan hot car laws’, which protect people from liability for breaking into a locked car to rescue a pet that was left unattended. Typically these laws require a good faith belief that the animal was in danger, … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/27/17: Succession of the Vice-President

The Twenty-fifth Amendment was adopted in 1967 and establishes that the Vice President succeeds the President in the result of the President’s death, resignation or incapacity, and also establishes a process for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/20/17: Gifts and Windfalls

In U.S. tax law there is a distinction between gifts and windfalls. A windfall — historically referring to fruit or trees blown down by the wind which then become public property — now refers to any sudden, unearned gain such finding money on the … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/13/17: The Twenty-Fourth Amendment

The Twenty-Fourth Amendment restricts the federal government and the states from requiring a poll or other tax in order to vote in federal elections. It was approved by Congress in August of 1962, and ratified by the states in January … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/27/17: ‘On the Lam’

The expression ‘on the lam’, meaning to be a fugitive from the law, has a murky past. It is often thought to be urban slang from the 1920s used by members of the criminal underworld. The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang traces it back … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/20/17: Presidents who have served on the Supreme Court

In honor of the President’s Day holiday: William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States (1909-1913), remains the only president to also serve on the Supreme Court. He lectured in legal ethics at BU Law from 1918-1921, and then served as the … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/6/17: Husband Killing as Petty Treason

Until 1828 in the U.K., a wife killing her husband committed ‘petty’ or ‘petit’ treason, not murder, as the law deemed this a crime against the social order. The penalty was burning at the stake, until replaced by hanging in 1790.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/30/17: The First American Gun Law

The first gun law passed in the United States was in Kentucky in 1813, which banned people from carrying concealed weapons. Kentucky currently requires a permit for concealed carry, although a gun permit is not required for owning a firearm.

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/23/17: The Stupid Motorist Law

Arizona has a law popularly referred to as the “Stupid Motorist Law“, which renders motorists liable for the cost of their rescue. A response to the flash floods common in the Southwestern U.S., the law states that if a motorist ignores barricades … Continue reading