In courtrooms, law offices, government agencies, and elsewhere, how truth and justice are represented and assessed is increasingly dependent on what appears on electronic screens. Lawyers are coming to realize that in order to be successful they must understand the tools of communication at their (and their adversaries’) disposal, especially the visual and multimedia tools that digital technologies make available. Lawyers in the digital era must comprehend and master the effects of these visual tools on their audiences’ perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. Advocates who do not adapt to these demands are going to be at a competitive disadvantage.
There are many visuals to explore on this site. Choose your own entry point and pathway: from top-flight visual litigation service providers (featuring best practices in visual persuasion inside the courtroom) to visual legal training (featuring new law teaching tools and methodologies in real and virtual classrooms) to law and popular culture studies (featuring new scholarly approaches to the interpenetration of law and pop culture) to recent media events (featuring current law-related developments in the visual mass media).
The goal of the Visual Persuasion Project is to promote a better understanding of the practice, theory, and teaching of law in the current screen-dominated, pervasively visual, digital era. The Project was formed in 2005 to study and advance the cultivation of critical visual intelligence, to inspire creative visualizations of evidence, case narratives, policy analysis, and legal argumentation, and to help lawyers, judges, law students, and the lay public integrate new visual tools into more traditional (textual and verbal) approaches to legal analysis.
This site is sponsored by New York Law School’s Visual Persuasion Project (Professor Richard K. Sherwin, founder & director).
In a seminar called “Visual Persuasion in the Law,” taught by Prof. Richard K. Sherwin at New York Law School, students learn how lawyers communicate in court and out using visual images on electronic screens. For their final projects, the students, working in small groups, create short films on a law-related topic.
Here is one such film from Fall 2012:
Devil’s Advocate: The Fight to Free Damien Echols from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
“Devil’s Advocate: The Fight to Free Damien Echols” is a short film produced and directed by New York Law School students Anthony Iliakostas (’14), Meghan Lalonde (’13), and Ryan Morrison (’13). The film examines how Damien Echols, a member of the ‘West Memphis 3’, was wrongfully convicted of the murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Featuring one-on-one interviews with Damien and his legal team, this film provides an inside look at the people responsible for Damien’s freedom and the ongoing fight for ultimate exoneration through years of rallying support from the same entity that helped convict him in the first place: the media.
Visualizing Law conference trailer from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
October 19, 2011 @ Cardozo Law School
October 21, 2011 @ New York Law School
Conference Panelist Interviews
Interview of Prof. Richard K. Sherwin from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Interview of Prof. Peter Goodrich from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Interview of Prof. Nathan Moore from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Interview of Prof. Laurent de Sutter from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Interview of Prof. Desmond Manderson from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Interview of Prof. Jessica Silbey from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Interview of Prof. Jay Mootz from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Presentation by Prof. Amy Adler from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Performance Anxiety: Visuality and Sexuality in First Amendment Law
Presentation by Prof. Desmond Manderson from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
The Sight of Justice: Images of Colonialism and the Rule of Law
Presentation by Prof. Jessica Silbey from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Writing about Images in and of Law
Presentation by Prof. Jay Mootz from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Law Among the Sight Lovers
Presentation by Prof. Alison Young from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Arresting the Image
Presentation by Prof. Christian Delage from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Visual Evidence and Digital Image
Presentation by Prof. Richard Sherwin from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque
Presentation by Prof. Christian Biet from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
Visualizing Law in the Baroque Age. The Play of Value and the Law: Image and Comedy at the End of Louis XIV’s Reign.
Presentation by Prof. Peter Goodrich from Richard Sherwin on Vimeo.
The Visual Thresholds of Law
More about the Project’s Director and Founder
New Book from Routledge
On Today Show on televising capital punishment.
C-SPAN Interview about his book, When Law Goes Pop
[University of Chicago Press 2000]
- Stay Free Magazine Interview
- Keynote Lecture, University of Alabama Law School (“Law’s Screen Life”)
- CKUT (Montreal) McGill radio Interview on the need for visual literacy for lawyers, judges, and jurors.
- “On Being Among Friends“
- “Celebrity Lawyers and the Cult of Personality“
- “Law, Metaphysics, and the New Iconoclasm“