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
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
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