University of Oxford

File(s) not publicly available

Writing about the Law, University of Pennsylvania (Carey)

online resource
posted on 2022-07-06, 16:23 authored by Post Discipline AdminPost Discipline Admin
Lawyers are paid to tell their clients’ stories. Being a good storyteller—understanding pace, characterization and narrative structure—is in some ways as important as understanding procedure or substantive law. One can gain legal knowledge from books, but storytelling takes practice. The first aim of this class, then, is to hone storytelling skills, to learn how to present a compelling narrative. But fiction teaches us more than just technique. A good story or novel challenges our sense of the world and of our part in it. What is it to be human? What makes people love or cease to love? What causes people to step over society’s limits, to step outside the law? Why do people invoke the law against others, and why do people dread and fear that law will be used against them? What is the meaning of this omnipresent human construct, and why does something that at its base is imaginary take on such a terrifying force in society? The second aim of this course is to expose students to the fictional answers offered by some published writers and, more important, to offer them a chance to think about and express their own conclusions about life. Third, knowledge of fiction—how it achieves its effects, what it aims for, how it succeeds or fails—is an important piece of general knowledge. It is my hope that this course will add to your enjoyment of reading novels and stories and so deepen the general education that is very important to lawyers if they are to fulfill their traditional role as members of a learned profession. This information has been collected for the Post-Discipline Online Syllabus Database. The database explores the use of literature by schools of professional education in North America. It forms part of a larger project titled Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities, led by Dr Merve Emre with the assistance of Dr Hayley G. Toth. You can find more information about the project at Data was collected and accurate in 2021/22.


Subject Area


Geographic Region

Middle Atlantic

University or College

University of Pennsylvania (Carey)

Funding Status


Endowment (according to NACUBO's U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20) ($1,000)


Annual Tuition and Mandatory Fees 2021-2022 ($) (Resident; Non-resident, where applicable)


Course Title

Writing about the Law

Terminal Degree of Instructor(s)


Position of Instructor(s)

Professor of Law

Academic Year(s) Active


Usage metrics

    Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities