Law & Literature

~ Keynotes and Seminars

Healing the Healers
Preparing Lawyers for Life
Law and Literature
Children, Women and Justice
Law and Culture
Presidents and Politics

With cinema and short stories, Judge Schudson presents provocative, inspiring, and truly enjoyable seminars for judicial conferences. Often "back by popular demand," he has presented one-two day seminars to the delight of judges from Arizona to Indiana, from California to Louisiana. Judge Schudson works with judicial education directors to design seminars providing just the right fit. He is a member of the National Association of State Judicial Educators. 

The Law and Literature Series:

Just Desserts: Behind the Scenes of America’s Legal System (from the kitchen to the consumer) - five day seminar

Law, some say, is like sausage – it’s best if you don’t really know how it’s made. But law, according to Judge Schudson, really is best when cooked carefully, by the best chefs using the finest ingredients. So come into the kitchen. Read the real recipes, both good and bad. And taste the desserts, just and … perhaps not so flavorful.

Just Desserts is a five-course feast. Each day, this interactive seminar will sample a different dish — corporate crime, employment discrimination, child sexual abuse, environmental protection, abortion, immigration, tort reform, DNA evidence, “whistleblowers” and consumer protection are among the many possible hot topics. Each day, the seminar will digest an actual case — discussing the arguments, studying the decision, learning how it developed, and discerning whether justice was done. And by week’s end, the seminar will consider what, if anything, these seemingly disparate dishes convey about justice in America today.

The main course of reading will consist of five fascinating judicial decisions. The trimmings will include a few short stories by great American authors and movies. Hold onto your briefs – Just Desserts promises to be fast-paced, serious, fun … and truly delicious!

“We are still smacking our lips over Just Desserts. This was a seminar where we participated rather than just listening and learning. The 'homework' -- reading cases to be discussed the next day -- meant we were much involved in more than class sessions. We appreciated the time and care that went into the preparation. Judge Schudson has a sharp eye and ear for his participants.”

John Short, State of Wisconsin Procurement Officer (retired)
Anne Short, Professor of History (retired)
University of Wisconsin-Extension

Law and Literature: Never the Twain Shall Meet? - two-five day seminar

With literary masters and judges as your guides, enter some of America’s deepest forests — violence against women, corporate crime, immigration, genetic research, elder care, mental illness and others. Explore the moral, ethical, and legal conflicts confronting writers and judges, the ways they respond, and the extent to which they influence the choices America makes. Your literary trail will be blazed by short stories — Tolstoy, Melville, Kafka, Susan Glaspell and Katherine Anne Porter are among your many possible pathfinders, each traveling in tandem with actual judicial decisions addressing the same subjects. Law and Literature: Never the Twain Shall Meet? You be the judge. 

"I have attended two seminars of Judge Schudson's and eagerly await the third! His education and experience are reflected in very edifying, stimulating courses taught in a relaxed style, well-seasoned with a great wit. His teaching comes under the heading: 'Don't Miss!'

George A. Fiedler, M.D

"I didn't think that Judge Schudson's one-week seminar, Just Desserts, could be surpassed until I signed up for another, Never the Twain Shall Meet. His seminars are informative and just plain fun.

Rick Ronvik, Director (retired)
Gifted Child Program
Chicago Public Schools

Loves Me, Loves Me Knot -- the History, Law and Literature of Marriage  – keynote and/or seminar

“Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage….” So the song says.

“No,” answers Stephanie Coontz in Marriage, a History -- from Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage, not necessarily, not historically, and certainly not until recently. And she probes “why the revolutionary implications of the love match took so long to play out and why, just when it seemed unassailable, the love-based marriage” of modern times “began to crumble.”

Neither marital workshop nor touchy-feely encounter group, Loves Me, Loves Me Knot will explore the history, law, and literature of marriage. With Coontz' groundbreaking book laying our foundation, and with short stories and movies building our structure, we will consider contemporary topics including marriage and: politics; public policy; economics; grandparenting; blended families; sex; tragedy (when terrible things happen to loving couples); “collaborative divorce”; the ingredients of great and gruesome couplings; myths; humor; spirituality; and finally, what we simply won't take for granted … “love and marriage.”

Appropriate for all -- men and women, couples and individuals, married, single, separated, divorced, widowed, or just simply wondering -- Loves Me, Loves Me Knot offers fascinating history, provocative literature, and entertaining cinema to help us all untie some heartfelt but simplistic assumptions so we might do a bit of intellectual re-lacing.

“Judge Schudson made a good conference a great one! His presence alone helped make those two days very special. The evaluations read like a broken record: 'Excellent!' 'He needs to go on the road,' 'What personality!' 'He gave me hope' and on and on.”

Mark A. Dalebroux, Director
Georgia Council on Child Abuse

Law and Literature -- Confronting Life and Death – one week seminar, or two to four week intersession course, or one semester seminar

Designed for undergraduates, these seminars consist of several components. For example, as the Law and Literature Scholar in Residence at Lawrence University, Judge Schudson presented a three week course consisting of:

  1. "Just Desserts" -- a law and literature seminar;

  2. two law and literature movie/discussion evenings (required for "Just Desserts" students; open to the college community):

    1. “Bartleby” -- the Oddball and the Law / Herman Melville and the First Amendment

    2. “Absence of Malice” -- the Journalist and the Law / Judith Miller, Valerie Plame, and the First Amendment

  3. two lectures (required for "Just Desserts" students; open to the college community):

    1. “Alice in Courtland” -- Women and Children in America's Justice System 

    2. “Mugged in Moscow” -- Post-Dictatorship Legal Reform in Chile, Russia, and Spain

  4. classroom guest appearances, as requested by college faculty

  5. “So You're Thinking About Law School” discussion(s), as requested by college administration;

  6. Informal student interaction -- daily dining hall lunches and dinners with students and student organizations.

Marriage, Murder, Isolation and … Judging – one to two day seminar

Marriage - union, children, family, love. Marriage - isolation, desperation, -- 
hatred, murder. And marriage - the source of great literature, both giddy and gruesome.

But does marriage have anything to do with judging? Yes, of course, every day America's courtrooms host marital ceremonies, marital disputes and dissolutions, marital violence and murder. And that alone would be more than enough to prompt judges to better understand marriage through literature.

But can the literature of marriage also help judges better understand judging?

With short films and short stories, Marriage, Murder, Isolation … and 
will probe the possibilities and find some fascinating answers.

“Everyone raved about your session.” 

Cathy Springer, Indiana Judicial Education Director

Brains and Biases – Yesterday and Today – one to two day seminar

“Oh, please, not another program on race and gender 'sensitivity' - been there, done that!” Well, then, let's go where we've not gone before. And let's consider why we must do so now.

What can literature, old and new, help us understand about the issues, old and new, coming to our courts? What can recent research in brain science help us understand about our own brains and biases, our own emotional intelligence, our own motivations and decision-making processes?

Same ol' same ol' - or a whole new ball game in the age of Obama?

“You were a big hit with the judges. The evaluations were very high, and your style of teaching forced the judges to get involved and contribute to the discussion. Several comments on the evaluations were along the lines of 'bring Charlie Schudson back' and 'he's the best I've heard in years,' so please do not be surprised if you are invited back to North Carolina.” 

Jennie Cannon Zbierski, Assistant Director
Administrative Office of the North Carolina Courts


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