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Injuries, Outsiders and the Law: Revisiting David Engel’s Classic “The Oven Bird’s Song”

Posted on: | by John Beatty |

Mary Nell Trautner’s new collection, Insiders, Outsiders, Injuries, & Law: Revisiting “The Oven Bird’s Song grew out of a 2015 Baldy Center conference based on Buffalo Law professor David M. Engel’s groundbreaking 1984 article. “The Oven Bird’s Song” followed residents of a rural county in Illinois and showed how they used or did not use the legal system to resolve personal injury disputes.

The collection features works offering context to the original article, showing the article’s insight into the laws of the United States and beyond, and showing how class and status affect use of the legal system to resolve disputes.

Four Buffalo Law professors are featured in the collection. David Engel’s original article is reprinted and he also offers a new piece reflecting on his work. Alfred Konefsky’s chapter, “Karl’s Law School, or The Oven Bird in Buffalo” situates Engel’s piece “within the intellectual life and context of the Buffalo Law School.” Lynn Mather’s chapter, “Client Selection: How Lawyers Reflect and Influence Community Values” discuss the lawyer’s role in navigating not only the legal system but the community itself. Anya Bernstein, in “The Songs of Other Birds,” compares Engel’s work to her own work in Taiwan.

The book is available to be checked out from the Law Library. David Engel’s original article, “The Oven Bird’s Song,” can be downloaded for free from Digital Commons @ University at Buffalo School of Law.

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