Law and Literature: the Pleasures of Reading


Studying law is intellectually rewarding, no doubt. But it can be stultifying at times. After years of reading dusty legal opinions and prolix statutes, we crave good drama in the law.

We miss the powerful stories that interest us most – the characters, conflicts, and plots that breathe life into our laws.

We miss the human, empathetic side of law – the people embroiled in legal conflict, their messy emotions and contradictions.

We miss connection to larger questions of justice, truth, and meaning – morality and law, foundations of law, duty to obey law.

Law and Literature reminds us that these questions, emotions and stories are as vital to our understanding and experience of law as the statutes, legal opinions, and regulations that dominate our legal education.

Law and Literature also helps us become better writers – an immensely important legal skill – by learning from the best writers in fiction and nonfiction.

Law and Literature confronts us with ethical dilemmas that thoughtful lawyers must recognize and resolve.

Above all, though, Law and Literature is fun. We read great stories. We enjoy them. We talk about them. We write about them. We learn from them. The stories will challenge us to reexamine and reimagine our most fundamental assumptions and beliefs about law, our legal system, and the life of a lawyer.

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