Skip to main content

Law Office of Ronald David Greenberg

Site Map
Notice; disclaimer
About the firm
Contact the firm
Member Login
Curriculum Vitae
Publications (with links)
Publications (by date)
U.S. Navy tour of duty
Selected photos
Business Lwyr comment
Securitization comment
Work in progress
Selected references
Selected editorships
Startup businesses
Safire letter comment
Verbal skills importance
Business law importance
Humor importance
Experience importance
Work-life balance
Professional Engineering
Role of law importance
Pro bono activities
Army ballistic missile
Humor in education and other contexts:    
Harvard B School tax class, 1981:   The following are photos of some of the discussion in class of the Whipple case(United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit. 301 F.2d 108), a case having its origins in Texas. Course materials (excerpts) distributed in class follow below. See "curriculum vitae" at "SELECTED HONORS: Generally" and at "TEACHING POSITIONS/ACTIVITIES"on Navigation Bar.


       Texas flag* is unfolded partially:





       Texas flag is unfolded fully:






       Socratic discussion** continues:



Photo credits, top, middle, and bottom photos (on behalf of student photographer in class): © 1981 Ronald David Greenberg. All rights reserved.



       Course materials (title page; outline of parts I, II, and III:




Copyright © 1981-2012 Ronald David Greenberg and Harvard University, Graduate School of Business Administration, George F. Baker Foundation

Other contexts:

Sports:  In sports, Coach Mike Krzyzewski, e.g., has explored this technique. See, e.g., Coach Mike Krzyzewski treating his Duke players to a show in the theatre room of his home where Coach K came out swinging with boxing gloves on, a towel draped around his neck, throwing punches in the air, looking like a fighter--to lift the spirits of the team during a rare rough season.USA Weekend at page 7 (March 11-13, 2011) [as recalled by former Duke captain Jon Scheyer).
Military:  In the military, General Martin Dempsey, e.g., appointed to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, is a General who has gravitas in spades (e.g., respected and combat tested), apparently has used humor to make a presentation more effective -- he has sung, e.g., the Sinatra hit "New York, New York" in public. See, e.g.,"Some say Dempsey's down-to-earth nature will serve him well in his new job."). For more information on General Dempsey, also available at


* The effectiveness of these maneuvers in class is perhaps questionable. But  click here,, e.g., on professors that attempt to lighten a class with humor on occasion. The students seem to like humor that brings out something in the case to make it more interesting than usual--especially, e.g., in courses like federal income taxation or business law.
** Typically class was conducted under the Socratic (question and answer) method. On occasion, I would revert to a lecture mode for a few minutes. Since tax law can get complicated, I would try to lighten the curriculum with some humor (usually not as elaborate as that portrayed in the photographs above). For example, I might say: "A, B, C, D, E." The student might respond with: "No. It is A, B, C, D, E." I would look at the student quizzically and, after a pensive pause, say: "What are you -- family?" Apparently, most students had experienced similar family exchanges at, e.g., the dinner table where the diners agree but one might respond with "No" even though in agreement. The students laughed. Copyright © Ronald David Greenberg 1970-2012. All rights reserved.