'Just Trying to Be Human in This Place', Too: From Inside the Law School Classroom to filmandlaw.com
39 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2012 Last revised: 1 Jan 2013
Date Written: 2012
Five years ago, the latest in a long line of studies and research projects that critically examined American legal education were published. The Carnegie Foundation Report, “Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law”, and the empirical research findings of linguistic anthropologist Elizabeth Mertz, “The Language of Law School: Learning to 'Think Like a Lawyer,” identified many shortcomings and negative consequences that result from the traditional pedagogy of the American law school classroom. In this Article, Professors Kate Nace Day and Russell G. Murphy explore some of the findings of these studies in the context of their experimentation with the use of storytelling, feature films, and documentaries in upper-division law classes. Beyond critical analysis of in-class film screenings, the Authors have integrated actual productions of small-scale documentary projects into the classroom experience to produce new forms of exposition describing and explaining law and to develop new methods of understanding and teaching law. Further, in light of Mertz’s findings on disturbing silences in the classroom, the Article explains how storytelling and film may create a more inclusive classroom by transforming the vision of law received by outsider students. The Article concludes by extending this work to broader types of community education and activism through the Authors’ new website, filmandlaw.com.
Keywords: legal education, sex trafficking, human rights, film and law, technology and the law, public policy
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