ICYMI: From the Journal of Legal Education: A Symposium on Visual Images and Popular Culture in Legal Education @TheAALS


Michael Asimow and Ticien Marie Sassoubre, both of the Stanford Law School, have published Introduction to the Symposium on Visual Images and Popular Culture in Legal Education, at 68 Journal of Legal Education 2 (2018). Here is the abstract.

Legal education historically was based entirely on written text. Traditional casebooks were just that — edited copies of appellate cases with textual notes. Pictures in casebooks were so rare that they deserved protection under the Endangered Species Act. In class, law teachers wrote words on the board. In recent years, many have used technologies such as PowerPoint to facilitate teaching, but the material projected on the screen was often more text. In our social world, however, the authority of the visual rivals that of written text. Today, all of us swim in a sea of images on television, on billboards, on computer screens, everywhere. Our students think visually. Legal education must keep pace.

This symposium explores the possible uses of visual imagery in legal education. The fifteen relatively brief articles that follow take many different tacks, but all of them are intended to suggest new ideas and new methodologies to law teachers. We have divided them roughly into three categories. First, the use of visual materials (including scenes from television and film) in teaching traditional law courses. Second, teaching law students to interpret and to create visual materials and cope with new communication platforms. Third, teaching courses in law and popular culture.

Of course, these three categories overlap in many ways. A law and popular culture class could be devoted entirely to using television and film to teach jurisprudence or professional responsibility (thus mixing the first and third categories). Or a course in making documentaries could be focused on documentaries for use in death penalty cases (thus mixing the first and second categories). Or a trial practice class could concentrate mostly on making visual aids such as simulations for use in personal injury cases (again mixing the first and second categories). But while the categories may be fluid, we hope that organizing the symposium this way helps readers identify the visual tools most relevant to their teaching goals.

The entire issue is available at the Journal of Legal Education website here.

The issue includes essays by Elizabeth G. Porter, George Fisher, Felice Batlan and Joshua Bass, Jennifer L. Schulz, Philip N. Meyer and Caitlin A. Davis, Regina Austin, Richard K. Sherwin, Michael D. Murray, Naomi Jewel Mezey, Ticien Marie Sassoubre, William S. Bailey, Zahr K. Said and Jessica Silbey, Michael Asimow, Christine A. Corcos, and Donald Papy.