Families, Law and Literature: The Story of a Course on Storytelling

49 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2015

Date Written: 2015


The law and literature movement has a long and distinguished history and has spawned many strands since its origins in the eighteenth century. Most recently, legal storytelling has realized a prominent position in law school pedagogy; it is seen as a way to teach law students effective strategies for client advocacy. Storytelling acumen enables lawyers to present their clients’ circumstances to legal decision makers in ways that can facilitate favorable outcomes. What is less well-settled is how best to teach storytelling skills in law school. Some scholars are proponents of a theoretical approach — teaching students narrative theory and the rudiments of literary criticism — while others prefer practical methods founded in clinical courses. This article proposes a two-pronged approach to teach storytelling in a family law context utilizing both theory and practice. It features critical analysis of literary texts to expose persuasive narrative techniques and writing exercises designed to help students apply them to lawyering.

Keywords: law and literature movement, legal storytelling, client advocacy, storytelling skills, narrative theory, literary criticism, family law, crtitcal analysis, writing exercises,

JEL Classification: K19, K30, K39, L89, I21, I29

Suggested Citation

Moran, Judith Beverly, Families, Law and Literature: The Story of a Course on Storytelling (2015). University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 1, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2596782 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2596782

Judith Beverly Moran (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States
2123483100 (Phone)

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