TheLaw andHarry Potter
Jeffrey E. Thomas
Franklin G. Snyder
CAROLINA ACADEMIC PRESS
Durham. North Carolina
Copyright © 20 I 0
All Rights Reserved
of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The lawand Harry Potter
I[edited by]Jeffrey E. Thomas andFranklin G.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 978-1-59460-645-8 (alI<. paper)
I. Rowling, J.K.--Criticismandinterpretation. 2. Rowling, J.K.--Charac
3. Potter, Harry (Fictitiouscharacter) 4. Lawinliterature.
5. Magic inliterature. 6. Wizards inliterature. I.Thomas, Jeffrey E. II.Sny
PR6068.093Z75652010 823' .914--dc22
Durham, NorthCarolina 27701
Printed inthe United States of America
Traditions and Institutions
What Role Need LawPlay in aSociety withMagic?
John Gava &Jeannie MariePaterson
and Gemots: Anglo-Saxon LegalReferences in Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy
Benjamin H. Barton
MoralChoice, Wizardry, Law and Liberty:AClassical Liberal
of the Role of Law inthe Harry Potter Series
Crimes and Punishments
Harry Potter and theUnforgivable Curses
SiriusBlack: ACase Study in Actual Innocence
Geoffrey Christopher Rapp
The Persecution of TomRiddle: AStudy in Human Rights Law
Punishment in the Harry Potter Novels
Harry Potter and Identity
Hogwarts, the Family, and theState: Forging Identity and
Virtue in Harry Potter
Danaya C. Wright
of Moral Judgment inChildren 149
Wendy N. Law &Anna K. Teller
Harry PotterandtheCurse of Difference 167
When HarryMetMartin: Imagination, Imageryand the ColorLine 179
Benjamin G. Davis
Harry PotterandtheImage of God: HowHouse-Elves CanHelp
Us to Understand theDignity of thePerson 189
Alison McMorran Sulentic
The Wizard Economy
Economic Growth inthe Potterian Economy 211
AvichaiSnir & DanielLevy
TheMagic of Money andBanking 237
Gringotts: The Role of BanksinHarry Potter's Wizarding World 261
Goes to Law School 275
Which Spell:Learning to Think Lilee aWizard 293
Mary Beth Beazley
Harry Potter as ClientinaLawsuit: Utilizing theArchetypal Hero's
as Part of Case Strategy 307
Ruth Anne Robbins
WhoWants to Be aMuggle? TheDiminished Legitimacy
of Law as Magic 333
Agents of theGood, Servants of Evil: HarryPotter and
Law of Agency 349
Daniel S. Kleinberger
Professor Dumbledore's Wisdomand Advice 365
HarryPotter Goesto Law School
"It isour choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than
Law students read Harry Potter.'Theyreadabout himinbetween reading
cases, statutes, codes,
and othertextsfilled withmagical words.(Sometimes
they read about
him instead of reading cases,statutes andcodes.) Hogwarts
of Witchcraft andWizardry looksverymuch likeaHarvard Law School
for wizards, aschool wherestudents learnthesecrets of magic words of power.
of schools offerexplicit andimplicit lessonsaboutpower, itsac
quisition, anditsuses. Education offersstudent wizards and
alike thetools tobecome forcesforevil or good inthe world.
Like all great novels of development, theHarry Potter stories askone cen
tral question, "HowshallIlive inthe world, forgood
or for ill?" This isan
often unspoken questioninlaw school, whereconcerns aboutgrades, jobsand
all tooeasily takeprecedence. Yet, itisonelawstudents mustface.
of practitioner willIbecome? WherewillIseek thekind of "fierce
JOy" that Harry findsinhis Seeker role?And, mostimportantly, whatwillI
choose todo with thispower I
This chapter explores theimplications
of thesimilarities betweenlawschool
and wizard schoolbyfocusing on the topics of: (1)students; (2)professors; (3)
studying andexams; and(4)academic culture.1conclude thattheseries
Harry Potter books canberead collectively as oneoverarching bildungsroman
of development) andthat thisprocess of development isvery simi-
1.Chamber ofSecrets 333.
2. The Chronicle ofHigher Education, inits periodic surveys ofthe top ten books being
read on college campuses, consistently lists Harry Potter books. My owninformal polls of
students inmy Law and Literature coursesconfirm that Rawling's books are quite popular
arnong law students.
276 Harry Potter Goes to LawSchool
lar tothe process lawstudents followinlearning to"think likealawyer" dur
ing their three years
of law schoo1.' Knowledge ispower inthe most literal
sense inthe world
of Hogwarts, andinthe world of law school, as well. Stu
dents atHogwarts areselected foranelite education (althoughtheacceptance
letter arrives byowl, rather thanordinary mail).They
face atough curriculum,
and terrifying andlor boringteachers. (Snape isthe
frighteningly cruelSocratic teacherwholives tohumiliate students.Professor
isthat favorite teacherwho isfirm but fair.)Harry andhisfriends
must negotiate theprocess
of becoming moreandmore powerful atthe same
time theyarefeeling powerless
as"lowly" students withinthehierarchy of the
educational institution.Forlawstudents inparticular, there
Harry Potter stories.
Student Lawyers andStudent Wizards
Sorting Out Ordinary and Extraordinary
Students-Am ISupposed to Be Here?
Rawling's booksfollow inthe popular literarytradition of the19th-century
British schoolstory.' (Traditionally, suchstories followthesocial, educational,
and moralprogress of ayoung boyataBritish "public" boarding school.)But
isanother, morerecent type of school storywhich also ispertinent to
understanding theHarry Potter series: thelaw school story.Whether it
as anovel (John layOsborn, Ir.'s The Paper Chase) or as amemoir (ScottTur
One L), the law school storyexplores lawstudent lifeand thechallenges
of legal education.sln lawschool stories, just as inthe British publicschool story,
3. Abildungsroman isanovel ofdevelopment, astory tracing theformation ofahero
or heroine through childhood toadolescence toyoung adulthood. Famousexamples in·
dude Goethe's Wilhelm Meister andDickens' David Copperfield. CHRIS BALDICK, OXFORlJ
CONClSE DICTIONARY OF LITERARY TERMS 27 (2004). See generally JEROME BUCKLEY,SEA
SON OF YOUTH: THE BILDUNGSROMAN FROM DICKENS TO GOLDING (1974).
4.The most famous example isThomas Hughes'1857novel, Tom Brown's Schooldays.
See generally BEVERLY LYON CLARK, REGENDERING THE SCHOOLSTORY:SASSYSISSIES AND
(1996); ISABELQUIGLY, THE HEIRS OF TOM BROWN (1982). For an ex
cellentdiscussion of howtheHarry Potter stories fitintotheschool storygenre, see Karen
Manners Smith, Harry Potter's Schooldays: ].K. Rowling and the British Boarding School Novel,
inREADING HARRY POTTER: CRITICAL ESSAYS 69 (Giselle Liza Anatol ed.,2003).
5. See, e.g., JOHN JAY OSBORN, JR., THE PAPER CHASE (1971); SCOTT TURROW, ONE L
(1977). These two are themost well-known lawschool stories, butthegenre continues.
nan yrUller \..;Jues LU Law ,)cnOOl "II
thereader follows thedevelopment of theprotagonist as he(and theprotag
onist typically hasbeen a"he") encounters terrifyingly strictteachers, takes
part inexhilarating schoolcompetitions, worksthrough massiveamounts
homework, andmakes friends and foes amonghisclassmates. Harry'sepic
story, spread acrossacourse
of intensive studylasting years,reflects many of
thesame fears, hardships andtriumphs thatlawstudents face during their
in law school. Law school and wizardschoolalikeareprocess-oriented.
Students movethrough aprocess
of early self-doubts andanxieties, to agrow
ing knowledge thatnot
all theanswers areinbooks, and to aconfidence not
only intheir abilities
to think likelawyers/think likewizards butalso a self
confidence intrusting themselves to maketheright choices.
When Harryfirstlearns thathehas been accepted intoHogwarts, hewor
ries, likemany anew
law student, thatthere hasbeen ahorrible mistake. "A
wizard?Him?Howcould hepossibly be?'" He also frequently wondersifthe
Sorting Hatputhim inthe correct
house-should hebeinSlytherin instead
of Gryffindor' Similarly,many law studentssecretlyworrythatthey will be
as imposters-could they really begood enough to compete with
all theother obviously brightandtalented students?
While theSorting Hatsorts students intoone
of four houses basedon
abilities (Gryffindor forthe brave, Ravenclaw forthe bright, Slytherin for
the ambitious andHufflepuff forthe hard-working), lawschools sortstu
dents inmany ways.
We sort our students beforetheyareaccepted intolaw
of undergraduate grades, L.S.A.T. scores,applicant es
says, etc.)andalso once theyareinlaw school (onthebasis of course grades,
classrank, membership inthe Law Review, MootCourt competitions, and
thelike). Law school admissions committees sometimescanbephilosoph
ically morelikeHelga Hufflepuff (depending onthe school's missionstate
ment andcommitment tohard work anddiversity)
or more likeRowena
Ravenclaw (totallyfocused ongrades and
L.S.A.T. scores). Thesorting process
in law schools isnotunproblematic, for grades are not perfect reflections of
ability.Additionally, toomuch sorting andemphasis ongrades cancreate
a debilitating, cut-throatatmosphere oncampus. TheSorting
of thedivisive dangers of unbridled rivalry,inthe song itsings in TheOrder
of thePhoenix (which couldbere-titled, "Lament of theAdmissions Com
See, e.g., RICHARD KAHLENBERG, BROKENCONTRACT: AMEMOIR OF HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
6. Sorcerer's Stone 57.
278 Harry Potter Goes to LawSchool
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned [am to split you
Still Iworry thatit'swrong.
must fulfill my duty
And must quartereveryyear
Still [wonder whether sorting
May notbring theend [fear.'
Law students arealready apretty competitive bunch,andthesorting process
that starts withlawschool admissions andcontinues throughout
of lawschool canprovoke as intense rivalries amongstudents jostlingfortop
as any of those we see between Gryffindor andSlytherin.
Of Gunners and Gut Courses
Harry andRon begin asrather average students. (Harry'sgrowingskill 111
DefenseAgainsttheDark Artsseems moreinnate thangained bystudying,
and Ron frequently relies on copyingHermione's notes.)Hermione, however,
isdearlyagunner fromdayone. "Gunners," inlaw student parlance, arethose
and partlyfeared students whoconstantly raisetheir hands to
every question theteacher asksandwho have over-prepared foreach ande"ery
isthekind of student who,inaContracts dass,asks,"Professor,
in this 19th-century case
about sheep-shearing citedinfootnote 23,what ef
fect didtheexchange ratehave onthe breach of thewool delivery?")
Interestingly, Hermioneseemstobe the
only gunner in the school. (She rarely
has any competition inher dasses, andshedearly
isquitedifferent fromlawschools, whereanygiven dassmight
of gunners shooting theirhands upinto theairatevery op
As a result of the prevalence of gunners, one popular game we used
toplay inlaw school was "Gunner Bingo." You would fill out abingo cardwith
of thegunners inyour class, and eachtimeonespoke youchecked
or her name. Then,youhad toraise your ownhand andwork the word
"bingo" intoyour answer to the professor. ("Professor, once you prove offer, ac
ceptance, andconsideration, then Bingo, you have anenforceable contract!") Gun
nerBingo required alarge dasswithagood number of gunners, but we never
had ashortage. Hermione appearstobe the solitary gunneratHogwarts.
well inlaw school. UnlikeHarryandRon, she lives and
breathes herstudies. Hermione
iscompletely focused on learning,and very
7. Order of'ile Piloenix206.
Harry PotterGoestoLaw School 27~
well-organized. Shedraws upstrict study schedules andcolor codes hernotes.
(Iremember beingcompletely intimidated byseeing afriend's color-coded
of notestaken during our CivilProcedure classinlaw school.
Her notes werealmost
as lengthy as our casebook.) We learn in The Prisoner of
Azkaban thatHermione evenstudies onvacation. Andtotop itoff, shetakes
as acourse, despitebeingMuggle-born, becauseshethinks
will be interesting tostudy Muggles fromthewizarding point of view.
Hogwartsstudentsconsider MuggleStudiesaneasy course (a "gut" course),
ascompared toadifficult coursesuch as Potions. Perhaps the lawschool equiv
of Muggle Studieswouldbeacourse on Harry Potter andthe Law-at
least, that is, untilthestudents realizedwhattheywere getting into.Taxation
might bethe equivalent
of Potions, as faraslegendarily difficultcourses go.
Thefirstyear students atHogwarts don'thavemuch choice intheir courses,
as first year lawstudents usuallyhavetotake arequired schedule. While
Hogwarts studentswillbetaking suchcourses
as Potions, Transfiguration, and
Defense AgainsttheDark Arts, firstyear lawstudents willbetaking Contracts,
Civil Procedure, LegalWriting, Torts,
and thelike. It isnot until aftertheir
first year thatlawstudents getsome choice intheir courses, andeven then they
still have a
number of required coursestotake.
Law school education isaform of initiation (intothemysteries of thelaw),
of passage (perilous andexhilarating). Strongbondsareforged under
conditions, not unlike the bond formed between Harry,Ron,and
Hermione: "Therearesome things youcan't share without endingupliking each
out atwelve-foot mountaintroll isone of them."8Simi
larly, lawstudent friendships, formedinthe camaraderie
of late-night study
ing and tough classes, canbedeep andlong-lasting. Somefriendships ripeninto
marriage, andsome intothatother closerelationship, thelaw partnership.
Socratic Teaching andLearning by Doing
Inafamous scenefromthefilm version of The Paper Chase, theintimidat
ing Professor Kingsfield (playedbyJohn Houseman) humiliatesalaw student
8. Sorcerer'j Stone 179.
280 Harry PotterGoestoLaw School
by handing himadime infront
of the whole class and telling him"Call your
mother. Tellherthere isserious doubt about your becoming alawyer."9 Snape
would give Kingsfie1d arun forhis money inthe "Humiliating YourStudents
Olympics:' Hefrequently insults
and embarrasses studentsinfront of their
peers. While someteachers areencouraging (ProfessorSprout,forexample,
ishappy toaward points forgood answers), Snapedisplays asadistic delight
in taking points away
and inteaching throughintimidation. Snape isperhaps
the nightmare versionofthe Socratic professor. TheSocratic Method
as thetraditional techniquefor law schoolteaching. Underthismethod, the
professor (likeSocrates) engagesinaline
of directed questioning withthestu
dents, hoping toencourage themtothink through difficultproblems analyt
ically. Inits worst form, itcan beatool forhumiliation, whereateacher with
a great deal
of knowledge hidestheball from astudent withlesser knowledge.
Snape playssuchagame withavengeance. Heconstantly asksHarry ques
Harry can't possibly knowtheanswer. Snapeabuses theSo
cratic Method. Forexample, hebrings Neville neartears, criticizing hisefforts
at potion making: "Tellme,boy, does anything penetrate thatthick skull
yours? Didn't youhear me say, quite clearly, thatonly oneratspleen was
10Such behavior wouldclearly bebeyond thepale intoday's law school
classroom, andwould probably resultinstudent protests tothe dean.
But what teacher hasn'tsecretly wishedatsome timeoranother
as Professor Moodydoesinturning Dracointoaferret and bouncing him
about (topunish himforattacking
Harry when Harry's backwasturned)?
When Professor McGonagall asksMoody whatexactly he
swerstersely, uTeaching."11 It's not Socratic, but itisindeed apriceless teach
ingmoment. (You can betMalfoy willnever forget it.)
all of theteachers atHogwarts usesome form of prac
tical application intheir teaching. Theoneexception seemstobe the History
of Magic teacher, whosesoletechnique isthelecture. He isso boringandhis
isso set, heactually died but didn'tnotice, andhisghost simply got
to teach one day. Rawling's description of atypical History of Magicclass
must sound familiar tomany aweary lawstudent: "Professor Binnsopened
and began toread inaflat drone likeanold vacuum cleaneruntil
in theclass wasinadeep stupor, occasionally comingtolong
enough tocopy down aname ordate, thenfalling asleepagain.""
9. THE PAPER CHASE (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. 1973).
10. Prisoner ofAzkaban 125-26.
II. Goblet ofFire 206.
12. Chamber ofSecrets 148.
Harry Yotter Goes W Law ~cnOOl ''0'
Aside fromProfessor Binns,everyone else teaches byhaving thestudents
actually putthelesson intopractice. Thus,Professor Trelawney hasthestu
dents interpret thepatterns
in tealeaves. Professor Lupinhasthestudents put
away theirbooks andusetheir wands toface aboggart. Professor McGona
gall hasthem transfigure objects(abeetle intoabutton, or a mouse intoa
of practical applications of knowledge issomething law students
do inclinical courses. Most law schoolsofferopportunities forsecond orthird
ear law students to work in alegal clinic under thesupervision of an attor
ney. (Examples of possible clinicsmightinclude achild advocacy clinic,ado
mestic violence clinic,animmigration clinic,ataxation orbankruptcy clinic,
an environmental lawclinic, apoverty law clinic, andthelike.)
The infamous McCrateReport,published bythe American BarAssociation
in 1992, heavily criticized law schools forplacing toomuch emphasis onthe
ory and toolittle onskills training.
13(Undoubtedly, anycourse thatfocused on
something likeHarry Potterandthe
Law would bethe first togo, under the
Report.) Inthe world
of Hogwarts, all the weights are on theMcCrate side of
thebalance scale.That is, itisonlyevilteachers (such as thedespicable Pro
fessor Umbridge) whowant tofocus
on theory atthe expense of practice. In
deed, thestudents aregreatly outraged in
TheOrder of thePhoenix when
Umbridge writeshercourse aims
on theboard forDefense AgainsttheDark
Arts, andtheaims arepurely theoretical.
law students, showagreat enthusiasm forteach
ers who have been practitioners. There isnothingthatbeats themystique of
real lifeexperience. Considerthefollowing remarksinresponse toHarry's
question aboutwhatProfessor Moody
islike as ateacher:
"Fred, George, and
Lee exchanged looksfull of meaning.
'Never hadalesson likeit:said Fred.
(He knows, mao,' saidLee.
'Knows what?'saidRon, leaning forward.
like tobe out there doing it:said George impressively.
'Fighting theDark Arts:saidFred.
'He's seenitall: said George.""
13. AM. BAR ASS'N, SECTION ON LEGAL Eoue. AND ADMISSION TO THE BAR, LEGAL ED
UCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT-AN EDUCATIONAL CONTINUUM: REPORT OF
THE TASK FORCE ONLAW SCHOOLS AND THE PROFESSION: NARROWING THE GAP (1992).
14. Goblet ofFire 208.
282 Harry Potter GoestoLaw School
A very special type
of practitioner isthecelebrity lawyer.(Celebrity pro
fessors,alas,are far less common.) Thecelebrity lawyer isatype seen at many
law schools. This issomeone whotypically comesintoteach aspecialized sem
or two. Theadministration hopestoadd acertain cachet
to the school (andpossibly giveabounce tothe school's reputation). Celebrity
lawyers areamixed lot,
but onething theyhave in common-they willal
ways assign theirownbooks. Thus,Gilderoy Lockhart isnoexception inas
of his books (everything from Breakwith aBanshee to Year
withthe Yeti) in TheChamber of Secrets.
Finally, one of themost interesting teachersHarryhas isnot evenahuman,
but a centaur. Firenzeseemstobe avery postmodern teacher(andperhaps a
of a Critical LegalStudies personatheart inhis disavowal of any tran
was the most unusual lessonHarryhadever attended. Theydidin
burn sage andmallowsweet there ontheclassroom floor,and
Firenze toldthem tolook forcertain shapesandsymbols inthe
gent fumes, butheseemed perfectly unconcerned thatnotone of them
see any of the signs hedescribed, tellingthemthathumans were
hardly evergood atthis, thatittook centaurs yearsandyears tobe
come competent, andfinished bytelling themthatit
was foolish to put
toomuch faithinsuch things anyway, becauseevencentaurs some
times read themwrongly. Hewas nothing likeany human teacher
Harry hadever had. Hispriority did
not seemtobe toteach them
but rather toimpress upon them thatnothing, not
even centaurs' knowledge, was foolproof. 15
Studying and Exams
Books and OtherSources of Knowledge
ScottTurrow famously described theprocess of reading casesduring law
school studies as "likestirring concrete withmy eyelashes."" Grinding away
at studies isone of thegivens of law school education, and of awizard's edu
cation,too.Trying tomaster theinfamously difficultRuleAgainst Perpetu
ities (from Property
class in law school) isonapar with mastering the fiendisWy
difficultrecipeforPoly juice Potion.
15. Order ofthePhoenix 603-04.
16. -fuRROW, supra note 5.at31.
Harry Potter Goes to LawSchool 283
Books aresources of power, bothinlaw school andinwizard school. But
because theyarepowerful, booksalsocanbedangerous. In
The Prisoner ofAzk
aban, Harry's The Monster Book ofMonsters actuallybiteshim. RontellsHarry
just how dangerous bookscanbe:"Some
of the books theMinistry's confiscated
-Dad's told me-there was onethat burned youreyesout. And everyone who
Sonnets ofaSorcerer spoke inlimericks forthe rest of their lives. And some
old witch inBath hadabook thatyoucould
never stop reading! You justhad to
wander aroundwithyour noseinit, trying todo everything one-handed."17
Tom Riddle'sdiary, of course,provesespecially dangerous, particularly toGinny
and Harry. Similarly, casesandstatutes, too,canbeused forgood
Law students oftenprefer usedtextbooks, notonly because theyarecheaper
but because sometimes theyaremarked-up withgood nota
tions made bythe previous studentowner.Similarly, Harryenjoys hisused
marked-up) copy of Advanced Potion-Making in TheHalf-Blood
Prince, amazing Professor Slughorn withhisskill in Potions.
law books andmagical booksalike,arefilled withsecrets. Part of the
of education islearning howtodecipher thewords of power inbooks.
part of the educational process isrecognizingjustexactly howfar
will take you, andtheextent of their limitations. Hermione,throughsev
of the early Harry Potterstories, clearlybelieves thatallthe answers arein
TheChamber of Secrets, when Harry askswhy Hermione hasto go
tothe library, Ronreplies, "Because that'swhatHermione does;' adding, "When
doubt, go tothe library."" Hermione isclearly startled whenProfessor
Trelawney tellsthem inDivination class,"Books cantake youonly sofar in
this field."l9 Butbythe time
of theevents of The Order of the Phoenix, she is
ready totake theplunge andhelps formDumbledore's Armytopractice De
fense Against theDark Artsbythemselves. HermionetellsRon, "No, Iagree,
we've gonepastthestage where
we canjust learn things out of books ... ."2.
Law students, too,must face thatchallenging anddifficult moment when they
realize thatthere maybeno clear-cut answerinthe books.
Study Aids and Anti-Cheating Spells
Law studentshaveawide variety of study aidsavailable tothem, basedon
how much money theyarewilling tospend
and on the depth of their desper-
17. Chamber afSecrets 230-31.
18. Chamber ofSecrets 255.
19. Prisoner ofAzkaban 103.
20. Order of the Phoenix 325.
284 Harry PotterGoestoLaw School
as exams approach. Courseoutlines, flashcards, computerprograms, tu
tors,allthese andmore tempt students to layout hard-earned cash.Other
chemical substances purporting toaid in concentration alsomay make the
rounds. However, atleast lawstudents arenot tempted bybottles of Baruf
fio's Brain Elixir, which Ron
and Harryconsider buyingin TheOrder of the
until Hermione tellsthem the real ingredients (drieddoxydroppings).
And what hapless
law student, pullinganother all-nighter whilestudying for
a final exam, wouldn't
love to haveaTime-Turner such as Hermione has? Every
studentneedsmore of thatmost precious commodity, time.
But before exams, Professor McGonagall sternlytellsthestudents, "Now,I
must warn youthat themost stringent Anti-Cheating Charmshavebeen ap
plied toyour examination papers.Auto-Answer Quills are banned from the
examinationhall, as areRemembralls, DetachableCribbingCuffs,andSelf-Cor
Ink."21 While law students undoubtedly areintrigued bythe sound of
some of these cheating tools,theyarealso fully aware that law schools usetheir
own computer magictoensure thatstudents typingexamsareunable
on the Internet) or to accessany ftles ornotes.
Hogwarts examsoften are acombination of written tests and practical tests.
Students havetobe prepared towrite longessay answers explaining thehistory
of the Goblin Rebellion, but alsobeable tomake apineapple tapdance across
a table. (Theincentive tostudy forthe Potions test
the professor threatenstopoison one
of thestudents to see iftheirantidotes
as Snape doesin TheGoblet of Fire.)
Exams loomlargefor law students, too(although lawschool examsover
of writtenessayquestions ratherthanpractical applica
tions). Firstyearexams areparticularly stressful,withthegrade forthe entire
course resting onone examination. The results of first year exams oftenbecome
thebasis forreceiving aninvitation tobe on the editorial board of theschool's
law review (avery prestigious position).Manya
law student hasfeltthesame
feels inhis History ofMagic exam: "Think, hetold himself, his
face inhis hands, whileallaround himquills scratched outnever-ending an
swers, andthesand trickled through thehourglass atthe front
21. Order ofthe Phoenix 708-09.
22. Order of.he Phoenix 726.
Harry PotterGoestoLaw School
Grades and Future Careers
There isanold saw about lawschool gradesthatgoes something likethis:
'X students becomethe law professors; the'B'students becomethe lawyers;
andthe'C'students becomethejudges:' Thecomforting ideabehind thissome
what ironic saying
isthatthegrade-obsessed gunnerswhotruly "love thelaw"
will find their niche inteaching. Thesolid students willbecome practitioners
and make piles
of money, andthose withother skills(such as political skills)
will beable tolord itover
all as decision-makers inthe judicial system. There
seems tobe some similarity heretothe Hogwarts denizens.Forexample, Dum
was one of the smartest wizards of all timeandyetheonly wanted to
be Headmaster. (Hewasoffered thepost
of Minister of Magic, butwas not
interested.) Similarly,theequally brilliant LordVoldemort wasone of the
brightest studentsHogwarts hadever seen,
and hewanted tobe the Defense
Against theDark Artsteacher. Thescholastically averageWeasley twins,Fred
leave school early to makeamint ofmoney in their Joke Shop. Medi
as Fudgeendup as Minister of Magic.
of thestudents, gradesareintegral tocareer paths.Thus, itis
Book Five, wherethestudents taketheir O.W.L. exams, thatillustrates most
clearly thestress andstrain
of exams. O.W.L.s aresimilar inimportance tothe
Bar Exam for
law students, forlike the Bar, O.W.L.s areessential toproceed on
with your career.
Perhaps theonly thing moreexcruciating thantaking exams iswaiting for
the results. Inaddition tofinal exams incourses, lawstudents havetopass
their statebarexamination beforetheyarequalified topractice
law. The test
isusually takenin July, and theresults takeseveral months. (Unfortunately,
the results arenot delivered byowl.) Thebarexamination scorehasboth an
essay component andamultiple choicecomponent andtheresults arenot al
ways capable of being takeninataglance. One of myfriends, out of townon
a document reviewwhenhisletter arrived, hadhismother openitfor him.
He asked her
on thephone, "DidIpass?" Therewasalong, agonizing silence
as sheopened theletter andread it, and finally shesaid, "Ijust don't know!"
as itturned out.)Similarly, Harryandhisfriends havetode
cipher acomplicated gradingsystemwhere
"0" standsfor"Outstanding," "E"
means "Exceeds Expectations,"
"P\' onlymeans "Acceptable," andthefailing
grades are"P" for"Poor;'
"0" for"Dreadful;' and of course,theappropriately
named bottom grade,"T"for
23. Half-Blood Prince 102.
286 Harry PotterGoestoLaw School
isperhaps morecreative forHogwarts students
than forthe typical lawstudent.
Our lawschool placement officerarely hassuch
as, "Have You GotWhat ItTakes To Train Security Trolls?"
and "Make ABang
At The Department of Magical Accidents andCatastrophes.""
Rankingsand School Competitions
Hogwarts seemstobe the Harvard of wizarding schools.In The Goblet of
Fire, Harry firstlearns of theexistence of other wizarding schools. The three
largest European schoolsareHogwarts, Beauxbatons
and Durmstrang. (It's
interesting tospeculate whatthelaw school equivalent
of theother schools
would be.)ButHermione tellsHarry thatDurmstrang's gotahorrible repu
tation. Shesays, "According to
AnAppraisal ofMagical Education in Europe, it
of emphasis on the Dark Arts."25 This Appraisal seems tobe the wiz
of theannual (andnotorious) U.S. News and World Report
ranking of lawschools. (Therankings arenotorious becauselawschools bit
terly complain abouttherelevancy
of therankings, but spend aninordinate
amount of time andenergy hoping tomove up in therankings.)
The rivalry between schoolsinthe Triwizard Tournament
larly, mootcourt competitions betweentearnsrepresenting differentlawschools
can bevery competitive.
Formalities of Dress andAddress
Inthe type of public boarding schoolsetting of Rowling's novels,theaca
isquitea bit more formal thanatmany lawschools. Forone
and faculty atHogwarts dressformally forclasses. (Theywear
black robes overtheir regular clothes.)
Law students, incontrast, nolonger
wear suitsandtiestoclasses (unless theyhave aninterview scheduled forright
after class). Iremember my
grandmother beingappalled whenshesaw me
out to one of my law school classesinblue jeans andat-shirt. She
was evenmore shocked whenItold hersome of my professors alsowore jeans.
As forforms of address, Hogwarts teachersaddressstudents bylast names.
In law school classes, this
isprettymuchamatter of teaching styleforthe pro-
24. Order oftile Phoenix 657.
25.Goblet ofFire 166.
n..u1Yl~Vllt::l ⸀⸀䨀嘀䌀㨀~ lV Law ,Jl,..UUUl LOI
fessor.Somelawprofessors addressstudents as "Mr.Smith" or"Ms. Jones:'
while other professors usefirst names. (Thechoice
size-the larger theclass, themore likely thattheprofessor will go bylast
names.) However, inboth Hogwarts
and law school, teachers areaddressed as
"Professor." (It istherare lawprofessor who feels secureenough toask stu
dents toaddress herbyher first name.)
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft andWizardry isa1,000 yearoldinstitution
housed inamedieval castle.Many
law schools, eventhemore recently estab
lished ones,optforthe ancient medieval lookintheir buildings (particularly
the library). Suchasetting suggests asacred place(acathedral oflearning), a
place filledwithpower, astrong andentrenched institution.Themajestic
chitecture ofHogwarts (and of manylawschools) metonymically represents
the power andprivilege
Book 7or Is There Life after LawSchool?
Thewell-schooled Rawlingbeginstheconcluding bookinher Harry Pot
terseries withtwoepigraphs: aquote fromAeschylus' ancient and bloody
TheLibation Bearers, and aquote fromtheQuaker William
More Fruits ofSolitude. This istheonly book out of theseven inwhich
Rawling includes anyprefatory quotes,andit
isworth whileconsidering her
selection insome depth, particularly fortheir insights intotherule
"Bless thechildren, givethem triumph now:'theChorus praysinthe quote
The Libation Bearers andElectra andOrestes dutifully plotmatricide in
their vengeance-based society.Theselection fromWilliam Penn,
hand, offersconsolation inthe
face of death: "Fortheymust needs bepres
ent, that love and
live inthat which isomnipresent." ForPenn, loveandfriend
ship cannever perish, being
part of thedivine. The two quotations, while
and love, could hardly bemore aptfortheir resonances
The Libation Bearers isthesecond playinAeschylus' Oresteia trilogy, the
of a blood feudthatdestroys theill-fated family of theHouse of Atreus."
26. For an excellent version ofthe trilogy, see ROBERT FAGLES, THE ORESTEIA: AGAMEM
NON, THE LIBATION BEARERS &THE EUMENIDES (1984).
288 Harry Potter Goes to LawSchool
isoften taught in"Law &Literature" courses, and broadlyfeatures
a movement fromarevenge societytoarule oflaw society.
other things) astudy injurisprudence. Inthe first play, Queen Clytemnestra
kills herhusband, Agamemnon,
as revengeforhiskilling of their daughter,
Iphigenia. (Agamemnon hassacrificed Iphigeniainorder toget fair winds for
his war ships heading toTroy.) Inthe second play,
The Libation Bearers, the re
maining childrenplotthedeath of Queen Clytemnestra andhernew husband.
Electra urgesherbrother, Orestes, toavenge theirfather's deathbykilling their
but then he istormented bythe Furies for
of matricide. Thethird play isthetrial of Orestes. DoesOrestes de
serve continued tormentbythe Furies forkilling hismother, whenit
duty toavenge thedeath of hisfather? A jury of Athenians hearsthecase,
as judge. Apollo acts as Orestes' attorney andtheFu
on behalf of themurdered Clytemnestra. Theresult isahung jury,
with Athena castingthedeciding voteformercy. Thespiral
of vengeance comes
to an end.
At first blush, therecould hardly beagreater contrast thanthatbetween
the violent, bloody
story of the Oresteia and thegentle consolation of the
William Pennexcerpt. However, forstudents
of legal history William Penn is
farmore than just thebenevolent Quakerfounder of Pennsylvania." Penn
studied lawatLincoln's Innand drafted thelegal framework forthe govern
of Pennsylvania. Butperhaps mostsignificantly, Penn was responsiblefor
protecting theearly righttotrial
by jury inEngland. Penn,adefender of Quak
of preaching inpublic inviolation of an Act tosuppress re
At Penn'strial,thejudge directed the jury tocome toaverdict
As anadditional outrage,thegovernment re
fused topresent anofficial indictment (probablyoverconcern thattheAct it
self might beoverturned). Despiteenormous pressurefromthejudge, thejury
of "not guilty:' Thejudge thensentthe jury tojail. Great
political pressures wereinvolved inthe case; theLord Mayor
of London even
became involved intrying tostrong-arm thejury. However, the
and eventually wontheir freedom, protecting theright totrial byjury.
Both opening excerptsresonate withtheidea
of asystemic change,abreath
takingly different worldview.Theblood vengeance
of The Libation Bearers
mustgivewaytoalegal system of reason tempered bymercy. Thedark human
fear that death
isafinal end gives way tothe divine light of Penn'svision of undy-
27. For agood discussion of Penn's life and work, see HANS FANTEL, WILLIAM PENN:
ApOSTLE OF DISSENT (1974).
..jOj 1Y.rUUl;l 䨀唀䌀㨀~ lU Ld.W ..Jl.llUUl
ing love. (And for legal history fans, Penn'smostfamous trialcreated asea-change
by truly democratizing theBritish jurysystem, andevidencing the
isnot for sissies.)
So what dothese twoepigraphs havetodo with Harry, Ron,andHermione,
or, forthat matter, withlawstudents? Theyare
key tounderstanding thechil
dren's quest, and
key tounderstanding thetransformative goals as well as the
of a formal lawschool education. Anew world view,atransformation
that comes fromwithin, canchange thevery idea
of "victory" forHarry as well
as for young lawyers.
"If theDeathly Hallows reallyexisted, andDumbledore knewabout
them, knewthattheperson whopossessed allthree
of them would
of Death-Harry, why wouldn't hehave toldyou? Why?"
had his answer ready.
"But yousaid it,Hermione! You'vegottofind
out about them for
isa sea change atwork inBook Seven. Of all seven books inthe Harry
TheDeathly Hallows istheonly onenotsetatHogwarts. The
newsetting itselfmarks a great seismic shift,presaging thecoming transfor
mation of world view. Harry,Ron, and Hermione havedropped out of school
to fight against Voldemor!.
Like thechildren in TheLibation Bearers, theirgoal
isadeath: essentially, theyare on amission tokill Voldemort. Nolonger for
them arethe familiar school-year rituals
of theHogwarts Express,schoolrobes,
Quidditch matches,Houserivalries andfinal exams.
All that isfamiliar andcom
forting, including Hogwarts itself(aplace
Harry views as home), isnow dan
and perverse. AtHogwarts, studentspracticetortureskills on other
students. (TheyusetheCruciatus Curseonthose who've earned
Onlypureblood witches andwizards areentitled toeducation. DeathEaters
are teachers now.Education isliterally upsidedown(consider the opening
scenetothe book, where theprofessor of Muggle Studies ishungupside down
and tormented andkilled byVoldemort).
We are inBig Brother land,Nazi
of our living nightmares. Theperversion of education is
thatitcan become indoctrination.
Harry as questing herowillhimself betransformed byhis journey, but only
after great suffering.
On hisquest, Harry finds that one byone he isbeing
of his all sources of power and comfort. Hiswand isbroken, hisbest
28. The Deathly Hallows 433.
29. Deathly Hallows 573.
290 Harry PotterGoestoLaw School
friend Rondeserts him,andHarry's corebelief inDumbledore
shaken. Whycouldn't Dumbledore havetoldhimwhat todo? Why doesn't
Harry justhave amagical list
of instructions tofollow? HashisHogwarts ed
ucation failedhim?Harry comes tounderstand thatinorder tomake thegreat
est paradigm shift
of all,themove fromchildhood toadulthood, "you'vegot
to find out
... for yourselfl" Thinking foryourself, like"thinking likealawyer:'
isa leap intoa new world, atransformation intoanewer self. "Why doesn't my
lawprofessor just give usthe answers?" isafrequent complaint of firstyear law
students. We want students tothink forthemselves, tobe ready to face new
factual situations. Andsometimes, likeDumbledore,
we don't havethean
swers-all we have isagood hunch concerning what we thinkthecourts might
do. Harry haslearned hislessons atHogwarts, butHogwarts cannotteachhim
everything. Hismost difficult lessoncomes whenhedecides
not toact. In not
racing Voldemart tothe Elder Wand,'o Harrydoessomething that isout of
characterforhim - hesits still. As aSeeker inQuidditch, and as avery active
hero inthe first sixbooks, Harryhasbeen innear-constant motion.Butout
ward physical activity
isnotalways theright decision. Harrysuffers through
his own seachange whenhemakes theconscious decisiontodo nothing about
retrieving theElder Wand.
Law students as wellmay come tothe point where
they reach thelimits
of wisdom fromformal legaleducation. Oftensuchmo
ments areethical dilemmas whichariseduring summer clerkships orfirst year
jobs. Atsuch points, theyoung lawyer's decisions shapethetype
both professionally and personally, shebecomes. She isnotwithout power
her legal education will serve heringood stead. Buttheanswer toaquest is
not something tobe learned inschool, butrather something to be foundwithin.
Dumbledore makesitclear thatwith great power comes greatresponsibil
ity. When hetalks tothe young TomRiddle forthe first time, Dumbledore
says thatatHogwarts, "[W]eteachyou not onlytouse magic, but tocontrol
it.... All new wizards mustaccept that,inentering our world, theyabide by
laws."31 One of the dangers of acquiring power isstartingtobelieve youare
better thanthose without power.This
isValdemart's mistake,butitalso isa
common mistakeforanyone entering aspecialized profession, includingthe
30. DeathlyHallows 302.
31. HalJ.Blood Prince 273.
Harry Potter Goes to LawSchool 291
law. Hermione, speaking of elfrights andwizard prejudices, tellsLupin, "It
all stems fromthishorrible thingwizards have
of thinking they'resuperior to
othercreatures .... JI)2 Coming toterms withpower, whether youarealawyer
or awizard, meansfinding theright balance between prideinexpertise andhu
mility ingood service. Howyoucome todefine "good" shouldbean integral
of the individual lifelongeducational journey.
Of course,there isnotjust one ur-story of legal education, or of amagical
education, forthat matter. Feminists andCritical Racescholars, amongoth
ers, have longnoted thatthestructure
of legal education stillserves toreinforce
a power andprivilege thatalltoo often
iswhite, male,and not working class."
isone of the reasons Iso enjoy Hermione as acharacter (andwhyIse
cretly wishRawling hadmade herthe main character, despite Harry'scharms).
Perhaps Rawling will
give usfurther adventures atHogwarts, featuringRon
andHermione's daughter,orother diverse wizardstudents.
Atthe end of The Half-Blood Prince, Harry determines not to return to
out on aquest tofind anddestroy firsttheHorcruxes,
and then Lord Voldemort himself.)Afterall,one can't stayinschool forever
as that thought will betoRowling's fans.)Harry leavesHogwarts readyfor
this lastquest because Hogwarts hastaught Harryto"think likeawizard" the
way that lawschools teachstudents to"think likelawyers." Thistype
not simply memorizing rules(magical words of power), but also
knowing howtoapply oldrules tonew cases, andperhaps evenenvisioning a
of the law (or are-shaping of the rules of magic) as itaffects thema
of our lives. "There was alot more tomagic, as Harry quickly
waving your wand andsaying a rew funny words."34
32. Order of,hePhoenix 171.
33. See, e.g., Lani Guinier etaI., Becoming Gentlewomen: Women's Experience atOne Ivy
League Law School, 143 U. PA. 1.REV. I(1994). For an example of some of the limits of
trying touniversalize the law student story. see Brian Owsley, Black Ivy: An African-Amer
ican Perspeetiveon Law School, 28 COLUM. HUM. RTS. L.REV. 501 (1997).
34. Sorcerer's Stone 133.
3. Harry Potter goes to law school
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