Visual Literacy and the Legal Culture: Reading Film as Text in the Law School Setting

egal Studies Forum, Vol. 17, NLo. 1, 1993

12 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2011

Date Written: 1993

Abstract

The course in Law and Popular Storytelling scratched the surface of a simple idea: lawyers are popular story tellers who operate in an aural and visual storytelling culture. Lawyers tell imagistic narratives constructed upon aesthetic principles that are closely akin to the structural principles that control the formulation of plot-structure in commercial cinema. We tell stores with hard driving plot-lines and clear themes that are readily distilled. We shoot our films from the fixed perspective of protagonist-clients. We are simple realists who construct our stories to hook the sympathy and capture the imagination of audiences who think in pictures. We sequence shots on imaginary storyboards until we establish the patterns that ultimately suit our purposes. We speak and think filmically. We have much to learn from visual storytellers working the same popular cultural turf.

Keywords: film and law, teaching lawyering skills, pop culture and law, storytelling

Suggested Citation

Meyer, Philip N., Visual Literacy and the Legal Culture: Reading Film as Text in the Law School Setting (1993). egal Studies Forum, Vol. 17, NLo. 1, 1993, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1857137

Philip N. Meyer (Contact Author)

Vermont Law School ( email )

68 North Windsor Street
P.O. Box 60
South Royalton, VT 05068
United States

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