Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Applied Legal Storytelling conference

On the legal writing listserve, Professor Dave Thomson, from the University of Denver, reported:

"Co-sponsored by the Legal Writing Institute and City University of London’s Inns of Court Law School, Once Upon a Legal Time – Developing the Skills of Storytelling in Law, brought together over 70 legal educators from 10 different countries, including Australia and Africa.  Panel discussion topics ranged from storytelling in briefs, and jury instructions, and citation, and judicial opinions, and in the clinic, to the formation of Narratives to – yes, Harry Potter.

"The conference ended with a seated dinner in the Old Hall of Lincoln’s Inn, one of the four original Inns of Court, built in 1490.  Ben Johnson called the Inns of Court 'the noblest nurseries of humanity and liberty in the Kingdom.'  Afterwards, many in the group walked to a local bookstore, where, at midnight, we purchased copies of the British version of 'The Deathly Hallows.'  Last night, on the loooong flight home, I noticed many folks reading it by the sepulchral overhead light.

"Kudos go out to Steve Johansen, Ruth Anne Robbins, and Brian Foley on this side of the pond, and Robert McPeake and Erika Rackley (and several terrific administrative support folks) on the other.  It was a terrific conference, with many mind-expanding sessions, and great fun to be in London."

And Professor Ken Chestek, at the University of Indiana, added:

Old_hall1 "My favorite part of the conference may have been the Friday night dinner at the Old Hall at Lincoln’s Inn that David described. The room itself is spectacular. It was the original courtroom, and the bench from which the judges presided is still there, towering ten feet over the floor where the barristers once stood. As David’s picture shows, the walls are paneled in dark wood; portraits of some of the judges who presided there over the centuries adorn the walls. Just before dinner was served, one of the British conference planners, Erika Rackley, stood up and read, in her charming British accent, the first few paragraphs of the novel Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. When she finished, she closed the book and said, 'Dickens has just described the place where you are sitting right now.' Indeed the book opens at the Court of Chancery at Lincoln’s Inn, which was the room we were sitting in. And it occurred to me that Charles Dickens himself had been in that very room."

Professor Ruth-Anne Robbins, at Rutgers-Camden, also pointed out that the Applied Legal Storytelling conference has a blog with pictures.


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