Writing For Justice

Law, Literature And Laughs

I have always been a big reader. My family is full of big readers. Then I majored in English Literature, and all my friends were big readers. To my shock, when I got to law school, I figured out that not everyone is as big a reader as me. “How can all these really smart, educated people not love reading?” I asked myself ignorantly. I mean, I know we read a lot for class, but for me, the best escape from that drudgery was a good romance, or mystery, or thriller, or yet another reading of Pride & Prejudice.

Then a wonderful thing happened. I took a class called “Law and Literature.” Each week we read a book, play, short story or some other literary work, and analyzed it according to the law we were learning. For example, we read The Crucible, and then did an analysis of whether the witches on trial should be convicted under California Evidence Law. It was not only a fun class, but I got to connect with classmates over literature. From there we started the Law & Literature Society on campus, and even after graduating, we stayed in a private book club for several years until people (like me) started having kids and moving away.

One thing I’ve noticed over the last decade is that the practice of law is really the practice of storytelling. We tell our clients’ stories to a jury, to the judge, to the adjuster, to opposing counsel. It is an art form. The attorneys that are really good at it are a delight to watch and listen to. Me? I’m less a storyteller and more of a critic. An analyst. A consumer of stories.

On one hand, the law is static, rigid and immovable. It is easy to feel confined by the constraints of the law. On the other hand, the law is a fluid, ever-changing landscape. How you see it is a water glass defining characteristic (half-full or half-empty). Of course, perspective can always be changed. A friend of mine is always saying “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

The best way I have found to change my perspective is to look at things through another’s eyes. And the best way to do that is through literature. That is the goal of this podcast – to get perspective from the people and events in books.

The Intersection Of Law And Literature

In each episode, I interview an attorney about his or her work and practice. But each guest also brings a book to discuss. We apply the law to the events of the book, or we apply the book to the practice of law. Sometimes we just talk about the book because we are all nerds at heart.

To listen to episodes, visit the Lawterature website or find it on your favorite podcast streaming service.