To date, little scholarship, if any, has addressed the autobiographies of law students, which have appeared in law review articles and books since at least the late 1970s. This shortcoming of law and literature scholarship in the nonfiction genre of autobiography is problematic. In the interest of understanding diverse perspectives in the legal community, legal scholars with autobiographical interests ought to give attention to the autobiographies of different individuals in this community, including the law students who will be the future members of the profession. Also, this shortcoming leaves a gap in the narrative discourse of the law since lawyers may be more inclined to write about their legal careers than their law school careers, the latter of which are much shorter and perhaps less glamorous. One then must ask what becomes of individuals’ law school experiences. Law school is often a time of considerable anxiety and change for many law students, and this time can be the first major engagement that many law students have with the legal system. Given the prominent role that law plays in U.S. society, a better understanding of students’ experiences in law school, which is clearly one of the major professional influences on individuals who ultimately practice law, should be useful to current legal educators, lawyers, and perhaps even hapless future law students. Thus, to contribute toward a fuller understanding of the lives of the students who populate law school, this article presents an initial sketch of the nonfiction law and literature subgenre of law school autobiography. To do so, the article offers an overview of the literary genre of autobiography, demarcates several categories of law school autobiography, and then addresses common threads in the law school autobiographies.
Carlo A. Pedrioli, The Rhetoric of Catharsis and Change: Law School Autobiography as a Nonfiction Law and Literature Subgenre, 41 MCGEORGE L. REV. 843 (2010)