1.  Entertaining, curmudgeonly, will tell the occasional joke or make an observation which borders on the racist, undisputed expert of his field, not always the most clear in explaining things. [A number of colorful anecdotes regretfully but necessarily redacted.]

2.  If you leave this school without having taken a class with J.J. White you will not have gotten your money's worth.


3.  I've taken Commercial Transactions with JJ - the final 10 weeks or so were spent on Secured Transactions. It's a code class - you'll read and re-read Article 9 of the UCC. The other reading is quite light. We did have a quiz mid-semester, but that was nice because it forced you to get up to speed. JJ is totally awesome and you'll learn a ton of useful stuff. You end up covering a bit of bankruptcy in the class, too.


4.  JJ White is one of the best professors I've had at the law school. I took Comm Trans with him - which is a 4-credit class that's about 1/3 negotiable instruments and 2/3 sec trans. He works you like a dog, with monthly quizzes (the best two of which count for 1/3 of your grade - although since his Sec Trans seems like a front-loaded class, I don't know how he'll structure that). The material is very difficult (in fact, Comm Trans is widely known as one of the hardest classes at the law school), and he puts you through the wringer each time he calls on you in class. His final exam was 5 hours long, and by far the hardest exam I've ever taken in law school. On the plus side, JJ is a wonderful person - he's been teaching this material since the 60s, and he has a lot of insight into it, very entertaining in class, etc. He also truly cares about you as a student and person - if you go into his office hours, he'll make sure you understand the material. And he reads everyone's bios at the start of the semester -- he might call on you and say, for instance, "I see you worked as a banker in Japan. How is this done there?"


5.  I am a 3L and took Commercial Transactions with JJ White first semester of my 2L. I had no background in business at all but it was honestly one of the best classes I have ever taken. The class will be demanding but JJ will bring out the best in you as a student. I would recommend taking JJ while you still can because this could be one of the last times he teaches the class. You can always take tax later with a good professor but JJ is an institution among law schools profs. That's my recommendation. Let me know if you have any other questions.


6.  I've taken tax with logue & secured transactions (2 credits, no bankruptcy) with JJ White. This are both challenging classes, but tax is probably a bit easier. Secured transactions & JJ White - one of the toughest classes I've taken, but totally worth it (but I want to do transactional work). Good luck!

Go with JJ, very practical class


7.  Commercial transactions is a useful class just to understand how some small part of the financial system works (esp important now), and JJ is entertaining (if sometimes in a cringe-inducing way). That said, if you want to litigate or do public interest or really anything but finance/deals, it's probably not as helpful in terms of background knowledge as tax, especially with Logue, who emphasizes the policy angle more than, say, Kahn, who emphasizes the twenty-year-old problem set angle. So I would recommend tax with Logue (and against tax with Kahn, unless you want a class you can pass/fail without attending).


8.  JJ is hyper intense and not especially culturally sensitive, but is the leading expert in his field (contracts). Highly recommend him.


9.  I echo the above. JJ can be intimidating because he uses the classic old school Socratic method. However, he's very clear and his exam provided no surprises. I recommend him highly.


10.  He's a bo$$.


11. I currently have JJ for Commercial Transactions.  I had him for contracts last year and liked that class, but this is a totally different experience, and I can't say the experience has been good.


Because JJ has re-written his textbook so many times, he presents concepts out of order in class, and often discusses topics in great detail which students didn't prepare to learn.  This makes being cold-called much worse in commercial transactions than in contracts - JJ will make you "the dog of the day" (his term) for an entire class period and you'll have NO idea how to answer his questions.  It is a regular event to watch some poor, mostly-clueless soul be questioned for 80 minutes straight.  JJ patiently guides his victims through his questions, but it is tough to learn this way.  Taking notes on the lectures is especially challenging with all the backtracking and horrifically mangled diagrams he draws on the board.

Generally, be prepared to teach yourself more UCC than you ever thought you'd need to know.  We have covered articles 3,4,4a,9, and sections of the bankruptcy code.  This is a TON of material.  If you don't get his hornbooks (The "Concise Hornbooks" on Payment Systems & Principles of Secured Transactions) you are probably beyond screwed, unless you are just a wiz at reading at the UCC and understanding it.

Know what you are getting into before you register for comm trx.  Don't take any other hard classes that semester - JJ will work you like a mule!

On the plus side, I have learned a lot about farm equipment and heard many entertaining anecdotes in class.  I guess that makes all the suffering worth it.

12.  Commercial Transactions was terrifying and disorganized. He may be well known, but it's not worth taking the class just for that. Take something from Pottow.



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