Law School Goes to the Movies

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Presented at the 2013 Southwest Association of Law Libraries (SWALL) Annual Meeting. …

Presented at the 2013 Southwest Association of Law Libraries (SWALL) Annual Meeting.

Speaker: Alan Pannell, University of Colorado School of Law.

Description: This session focuses on the changing role of librarians in choosing movies to screen, facilitating the use of film clips in the classroom, and finding resources for bibliographies and faculty scholarship.

Intended audience: Academic librarians and other librarians interested in the impact of law and film on future attorneys.

More in: Education
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  • Visual learning style of today’s studentsEthics most common issueEspecially useful for trial advocacy
  • Visual learning style of today’s studentsEthics most common issueEspecially useful for trial advocacy
  • Law & Film Scholarship took off in the 90s.
  • Mimi Wesson Law & Literature class - Law & Film grew out of law and literature- Guest Speaker: Jim Palmer
  • In Debt We Trust – Amy Spitz Consumer Law Class
  • Discussion GroupsChoose discussable movies (SEE: Jacobson, How to Offer More Than a Movie)Consider name recognitionMore successful if required or recommended by faculty
  • Shown at Military Law Society event
  • Fair Use = Classroom setting / Speakers / No marketing to public
  • Focus on classic law movies and well-known contemporary legal filmsSEE film lists/ filmographies in books: Movie Therapy for Law School/ Reel Justice/Celluloid Courtroom
  • As needed/requested by faculty OR New titles through collection dev process
  • Accept everything!
  • Positive Psychology at the Movies: (1) The American Film Institute’s 100 most inspiring movies.(2) Positive Psychology movies, grouped by desirable character-building traits.
  • Questions: Choose “discussable” questions (Jacobson, How to Offer More than a Movie)


  • 2. OutlineWhy Law and FilmTraditional Uses of Law and FilmTraditional Librarian RolesNew Uses of Law and FilmNew Roles for LibrariansResources
  • 3. Why Law and Film?“No art passes our conscience the way film does,and goes directly to our feelings, deep down intothe dark rooms of our souls.” – Ingmar Bergman
  • 4. Why Law and Film?“Popular culture is not only entertainment. It covers98-99% of American society today in one way oranother.” – James R. Elkins, “Reading/Teaching Lawyer Films”
  • 5. Why Law and Film?“The reason for teaching lawyer films is simply this:we need vivid, compelling representations of lawyer inaction.” – James R. Elkins, “Reading/Teaching Lawyer Films”
  • 6. Why Law and Film?Storytelling PrinciplesExamples of Legal IssuesStudent Engagement
  • 7. Why Law and Film?“I believe seminars like Lawand Literature and my ownfilm seminar are actually areturn to traditionalpedagogy.”– Alan A. Stone, “Teaching Film at Harvard Law School”
  • 8. Traditional Uses of Law & Film
  • 9. Film Analysis
  • 10. Classroom Screenings
  • 11. Library Screenings
  • 12. CLE Programs
  • 13. Student Association Events
  • 14. Traditional Librarian Roles
  • 15. Copyright Issues
  • 16. Copyright IssuesThe Copyright ActClassroom exemption:(a) performances must be shown “in the course of . . . teaching activities” which involve"systematic instruction [and] whatever their cultural value or intellectual appeal", do notinvolve performances "given for the recreation or entertainment of any part of theaudience"(b) performances must involve "face-to-face teaching activities" meaning that either aninstructor must be present in the room or "in the same building or general area"(c) performances must take place “in a classroom or similar place devoted to instruction” suchas "a studio, a workshop, a gymnasium, a training field, a library, the stage of an auditoriumitself, if it is actually used as a classroom for systematic instructional activities."
  • 17. Acquisition/ILL
  • 18. Acquisition/ILL
  • 19. Collection Development“Your library’s films are someof the highest –quality workin your building, oftenunjustly ignored, maligned,and simply consigned to“popular material” eventhough there is so muchthematic and artistic richnesswaiting to be mined in adiscussion format.”– Alan Jacobson, “How to Offer More Than aMovie”
  • 20. Collection DevelopmentCore Collection
  • 21. Collection DevelopmentPiecemeal
  • 22. Collection DevelopmentDonations
  • 23. Collection DevelopmentTop Checkouts at Colorado Law
  • 24. New Uses of Law and Film
  • 25. Interdisciplinary Scholarship“Un-Dead Labor: China, Industrial Production, and the Zombie Apocalypse,” by Brynnar Swenson(Presented at Southwest Texas Popular Culture Conference 2013)
  • 26. OrientationErrol Morris’ The Thin Blue Line
  • 27. OrientationTim Burton’s Big Fish
  • 28. Law School Movie Series
  • 29. New Librarian Roles
  • 30. Selection CommitteeTRANSCENDENCE: Big FishJUSTICE: Capote, Compulsion, Philadelphia, Norma Rae, To Kill a MockingbirdCOURAGE: 12 Angry Men, North Country, Erin Brokovich, A Few Good Men, The Verdict
  • 31. Companion MaterialsArticles/ReviewsBibliography/Further ReadingDiscussion QuestionsViewing GuideMarketing Materials
  • 32. Faculty Support
  • 33. Faculty SupportFilm Clips
  • 34. Faculty SupportCourse Pages
  • 35. Faculty SupportAssignments
  • 36. Faculty SupportArticle Retrieval
  • 37. Legal Research and Film
  • 38. Legal Research and Film
  • 39. Library and Film Scholarship
  • 40. New DirectionsClockwise from Top Left: The Walking Dead | The Descendants | Moonrise Kingdom | Win Win
  • 41. ResourcesSWALL Bulletin Fall 2012: Guide to Law and Film Resources + UpdatesLaw in the Reel World: http://lawinthereelworld.wordpress.comBooks
  • 42. ResourcesSWALL Bulletin Fall 2012: Guide to Law and Film Resources + UpdatesLaw in the Reel World: http://lawinthereelworld.wordpress.comWebsites25 Greatest Legal Movies and Lawyers in Popular Culture
  • 43. “How to Offer More Than a Movie: Producing Film Discussions That are Serious Cultural Events,”Alan Jacobson, American Libraries, July/Aug. 2011, 42“Law & Film: Teaching Film at Harvard Law School, ” Alan A. Stone, 28 Vt. L. Rev. 813“Symposium: Law in Film/Film in Law: Reading Teaching Lawyer Films,” James R. Elkins, 24 LegalStud. Forum 573ResourcesSWALL Bulletin Fall 2012: Guide to Law and Film Resources + UpdatesLaw in the Reel World: http://lawinthereelworld.wordpress.comArticles
  • 44. The End