University Honors College - The Honorable mention
Wednesday
12/21/16

Spring 2017 Law Course with Open Seats for Honors Scholars

Posted by Tim on December 21, 2016 in Academics, Graduate School Programs, Honors Experiences

Interested in taking a Law School course?  Check out Telling Stories with Dr. Schlegel!  This has been taught previously as an undergraduate Honors seminar.  Professor Schlegel would like to offer some seats in his graduate Law course to Honors scholars.  The course description is below.  Students interested in enrolling should contact Tim Matthews for the appropriate paperwork at: trm7@buffalo.edu.  Since it is a graduate level course, you can receive Honors experience credit.

Law 683, Telling Stories                                                                                               Schlegel!

M/W 5:30                                                                                                                   Spring 2017

“The legendary Supreme Court litigator John W. Davis once remarked, “A case well stated is a case half won.”  By this, Davis meant that cases are more often won or lost on how well lawyers weave the facts into a compelling story than on how well they articulate the law.  Thus, former students who are, and faculty who were, trial lawyers regularly remind me about the crucial importance in any litigator of the ability to tell a story.

However, stories do not tell themselves, whether they are seen on the page or on the screen.  Stories are shaped by the author, and derivatively by the director.  What that shaping accomplishes is the subject of this course.  Thus, it is designed to improve your ability to tell a story by examining how master storytellers shape their stories.

During the semester we will read three great novels and a good play, chosen because there exist at least two contrasting movie versions of each.  The novels are Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, all by Jane Austen.  The play, Sabrina Fair by Samuel A. Taylor formed the basis for two movies called Sabrina.  In order for you to have time to read the first novel we will begin the course with two films — Mostly Martha and No Reservations that share a text, though the text is unavailable to me and, in any case, is written in German.  In the third class we will discuss, and thus compare, how each director shapes the implicit story.  Thereafter, we will first discuss how the author shapes the story, and then, after seeing the two film versions, discuss how each director shapes/reshapes the pre-existing story.  Papers will be due throughout the semester.  Initially they will be short analyses of the films and text.  About the middle of the semester the papers will lengthen and shift to the job of shaping the kind of stories that lawyers tell.

One more thing ought to be noted.  I am neither a film scholar nor a literary theorist.  Indeed, I do not enjoy reading either film scholarship or literary theory.  It is as a lawyer/law professor that I have gotten interested in the romantic comedy as an exemplar of the art of storytelling.  If you cannot abide the form, you best not take the course.