1545 Massachusetts Avenue
The depiction of law in literature is not a new phenomenon. From The Illiad to Merchant of Venice, Billy Budd to The Bluest Eye, the law “has fascinated creative writers and literary scholars (not to mention filmmakers)” just as “literature has fascinated and even inspired” judges and lawyers (Posner, Law and Literature). Depictions of legal education, however, have been dominated by only a few relatively recent players – The Paper Chase and Legally Blonde come quickly to mind. Despite the inception of formal legal education in the United States with the founding of Harvard Law School in 1817, many of our most well-known heroes of legal literature were not, in fact, law school graduates. Atticus Finch, for example, was admitted to the Bar of the Alabama Supreme Court after serving an apprenticeship in a Montgomery law office. This exhibition seeks to highlight the role of Harvard Law School in literature, whether the law school serves as the scene, the featured characters are law school graduates, or even when the law school has inspired its students to become novelists.