Images of Law School and Law Teaching in 'An Imperfect Spy'

22 Pages Posted: 20 May 2008

See all articles by Spencer Weber Waller

Spencer Weber Waller

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Stacy Caplow

Brooklyn Law School


In this essay, we examine Carolyn Heilbrun's (writing as Amanda Cross) portrait of law and law teaching in "An Imprect Spy" in light of our own experience. Much of Heilburn's image of legal academia is unrecognizable not only to those familiar with that world, but even to those whose outsiders whose knowledge of law schools comes from mainstream media. Nevertheless, we conclude that Heilbrun, who presumably could have situated her mystery novel in any academic setting, believes that the fictional Schuyler Law School's aversion to change and its sexist atmosphere are shared with a broad range of law schools, all of which need to examine themselves more critically. For this belief, we are able to forgive the failings of the book as both a mystery and a novel and appreciate the author's efforts to satirize the pomposity and conservatism of law teachers who resist or disparage even modest innovations in class room and clinical legal education.

Keywords: Amanda Cross, Carolyn Heilbrun, legal thrillers, mystery novels, novels, Imperfect Spy, legal education, clinical legal education, law and literature, feminist jurisprudence

Suggested Citation

Waller, Spencer Weber and Caplow, Stacy, Images of Law School and Law Teaching in 'An Imperfect Spy'. Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1996, Available at SSRN:

Spencer Weber Waller (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E Pearson St.
Room 1041
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-915-7137 (Phone)
312-915-7201 (Fax)

Stacy Caplow

Brooklyn Law School ( email )

250 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics