It's all over the blogosphere now: various law profs across the country are discussing Anna Nicole Smith's will in their classes, as a way of making the law more accessible, or at least more interesting in this age of pop culture. Her early death and poorly drafted will--and the ensuing legal battles over her young daughter and her burial--make this a case of truth truly being stranger than fiction.
You can start your own legal research of the subject with this AP article (reissued via MSNBC.com) and with blog posts on TaxProf Blog and Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog. And don't forget this March 8 article from the Phoenix New Times, which reports that Smith may have had a secret love child in 2001. (A more concise, and less melodramatic, report appeared on March 12 in the New Zealand Herald.) How does that play into the mix?
Note that the media coverage of this law school trend seems positive. Should it be? Is this truly a case of making the law "come alive" through current events? (No decedent jokes, please.) Should her case be discussed in law school classes because students with computers are reading about it online anyway, instead of taking notes? Or is the fact that Smith's case is being discussed in law school classes somehow being used to legitimize the media frenzy surrounding her death?
I don't know, but I suspect some of you have opinions about it--please share them here.