What We Talk About When We Talk About Law Schools: Deconstructing Meaning In Popular Culture Images of Legal Education
Hedgehogs and Foxes, April 2019
27 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019
Date Written: April 1, 2019
Films, television, and novels often send us very specific messages about law schools and legal education that tend to replicate and reinforce both general notions about the ways in which we educate our lawyers, and in turn sustain our legal system. Most movies, tv shows, and novels mention the Ivy League law schools because they represent the first step toward guaranteed achievement in a legal career. Such mentions serve as proxies for several things, including that the character who attended the school is intelligent, ambitious, and possibly from a privileged background. Even viewers who know little about law schools are familiar with U.S. News Rankings and what those rankings mean. Viewers understand that Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Stanford lead the list. They know that these schools are the most selective and prestigious. If popular culture characters attend, graduate from, or teach at these schools, then they are likely to be smart, or wealthy, or ambitious.
Keywords: Legal education, Law and television, Law and popular culture
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