Richard K. Sherwin Recognized for Expertise in the Field of Visual Persuasion and the Law
Stephen J. Ellmann Recognized for Expertise in Clinical Legal Education, Constitutional Law, and South African Law
New York, August 28, 2013 – Professor Richard K. Sherwin and Professor Stephen J. Ellmann have been named Fulbright recipients, announced Anthony W. Crowell, Dean of New York Law School (NYLS). Sherwin, who received the honor to work on a new project called “The Moving Images of Law,” will be the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Law and Literature at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada this academic year. Ellmann received a Fulbright Specialist Award to work on comparative constitutional law and clinical legal education planning this summer at the University of Capetown Faculty of Law in South Africa.
Sherwin, a faculty member of NYLS since 1988, is an expert in visual communication, specializing in the domain of visual persuasion in litigation and litigation public relations.
Ellmann joined NYLS in 1992. He is an award-winning author on legal ethics and an expert in clinical legal education, constitutional law, and South African law.
“We are delighted that the scholarship of Professor Sherwin and Professor Ellmann has been recognized with these extraordinary awards. Sherwin’s pioneering work in the area of visual communication as applied to our legal system is a brilliant example of the innovative methods and curriculum that flourish at New York Law School. Ellmann’s understanding of two legal systems, our own and South Africa’s, has given him special insights not only into comparative constitutional law but also legal ethics and legal education,” said Dean Crowell. “Their Fulbright awards are validation of their great talents and of the importance of these growing areas of study and practice.”
In 2001, Professor Sherwin debuted Visual Persuasion in the Law, the first course of its kind in the nation to teach students about the role, efficacy, and pitfalls of using visual evidence and visual advocacy in contemporary legal practice. During the semester students create original short films pertaining to a legal topic or controversy, produced in the Law School’s digital media lab. In 2005, he launched the Visual Persuasion Project website, the first and to date the only site to showcase “best practices” in the visual litigation services field. The goal of the Visual Persuasion Project is to promote visual literacy among lawyers, judges, law students, and the lay public, based on a better understanding of visual communication practices.
According to Sherwin, “We are living in a pervasively visual culture. Law has migrated to electronic screens in court and out. In order to maximize effective communication, including direct and cross examination at trial, lawyers need to cultivate visual literacy. There is no escaping this technological imperative.”
Sherwin gained nationwide attention with his well-received book, When Law Goes Pop: The Vanishing Line between Law and Popular Culture (University of Chicago Press 2000, 2002). His most recent books, Visualizing Law in the Age of the Digital Baroque: Arabesques & Entanglements (Routledge 2011) and Law, Culture and Visual Studies, co-edited with Anne Wagner (Springer 2013), explore the interpenetration of law and the visual in history and in the current digital baroque era.
Professor Ellmann pursues his deep interest in legal education through his work as Director of New York Law School’s Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning, one of the central offices of the school working on developing new curricular programs focused on preparing NYLS students for the challenges of the world of legal practice today.
Said Ellmann, “This was a special opportunity to engage with South African legal education, South African law, and South Africa itself, to renew my friendships with South African lawyers and law teachers, and to get to know others. It was also a chance to put South African and American perspectives together, on issues ranging from constitutional law and statutory interpretation to the design of law school clinics. I learned a great deal every day – and all day long!”
As a clinical scholar himself, he has written extensively on the skills and ethics of lawyers’ interviewing and counseling of clients, most recently as a co-author of Ellmann, Dinerstein, Gunning, Kruse & Shalleck, Lawyers and Clients: Critical Issues in Interviewing and Counseling (West 2009). Also writing about broader questions of legal ethics, he earned the Sanford D. Levy Memorial Award from the New York State Bar Committee on Professional Ethics for his article, “Lawyering for Justice in a Flawed Democracy,” 90 Columbia Law Review 116 (1990). His extensive work on South Africa includes a study of law at the end of apartheid, In A Time of Trouble: Law and Liberty in South Africa’s State of Emergency (Clarendon Press (Oxford 1992), and The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Perspectives on South Africa’s Basic Law (Witwatersrand University Press and Ohio University Press 2001), which he co-edited with Penelope Andrews, now Dean and President of Albany Law School.
About New York Law School
Founded in 1891, New York Law School (NYLS) is an independent law school located in the heart of New York City’s legal, government, financial, and emerging tech centers. Known as “New York’s law school,” NYLS embraces the City as its classroom by complementing a rigorous legal education with an innovative and diverse set of “uniquely New York” experiential learning opportunities. Since opening our doors more than 120 years ago, we have produced graduates who have gone on to hold high elected and appointed office in the City, lead large and small firms, and gain broad recognition as captains of business and industry. Our renowned faculty of prolific scholars has built the School’s strength in such areas as constitutional law, civil and human rights, business and finance law, media and information law, tax law, real estate, and a number of interdisciplinary fields. NYLS has more than 15,000 graduates and currently enrolls approximately 1,200 full-time and part-time students in its J.D. program and 95 students in its five advanced-degree programs in American business law, financial services law, real estate, tax, and mental disability law studies. Learn more about New York’s law school at www.nyls.edu.
About the Fulbright Program
The Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship program in international educational exchange, was proposed to the U.S. Congress in 1945 by then freshman Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. In the aftermath of World War II, Senator Fulbright viewed the proposed program as a much-needed vehicle for promoting “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world.” His vision was approved by Congress, and the program was signed into law by President Truman in 1946. Fulbright Canada was established in 1990 as an integral part of the worldwide Fulbright Program, which operates in more than 150 countries. Led by the commitment and the vision of the two governments, and supported by investments made by universities and by key private sector partners, Fulbright Canada annually offers some $2 million in scholarships, fellowships, and programs that support the academic exchange of the most promising academic minds in our two countries.