Whittier Law Review
legal education, legal writing, literature
Because I believe a breadth of reading enhances one's ability to think and write, throughout the years I have tried to encourage extra curricular and diversified reading to be done in conjunction with my Legal Writing class. Unfortunately, yet understandably, law students generally only do the required work, but not more. As a consequence, I have discovered, over time, that the "readers" in my classes continue to read while the "non-readers" never take the opportunity to discover what advantage there might be in taking my advice. Because no change has occurred in students' overall attitudes, I decided to make life more interesting by integrating literature into the first year Legal Writing curriculum. The final project of our first year Legal Writing course is the appellate advocacy experience. Traditionally, this consists of pleadings and opinions from a Moot Court casebook assigned for the purpose of researching legal issues, writing a brief, and preparing an oral argument. I decided, however, that I would shift from the stock format and begin assigning a novel to be used as the basis for the problem. The novel I chose for the experiment was Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov.
Karin Mika, Innovative Teaching Methods and Practical Uses of Literature in Legal Education, 18 Whittier Law Review 815 (1997)