Literature and the law: English alulm brings classroom to the courtroom
The May 12 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune featured an article on the recent return of former St. Olaf English major Leslie Moore (class of '77) to the Twin Cities. Moore, a litigator with a "high-buck, hard-charging New York City firm for the past nine years," is "coming home" to work for the venerable law firm of Lindquist and Vennum. A single, adoptive parent of a three-year-old daughter from China, she's choosing to relocate nearer to her extended Minnesota family.
Before graduating from Yale Law School in l992, Moore earned a Ph.D. in English from Yale University, taught in the Yale English Department, and published a book, The Making of Paradise Lost, a study of Milton, Swift, and 18th-century writing.
She noted that literature and the law have a great deal in common: "You're working with narrative in courtroom work. And you're being extremely selective about which facts you emphasize. In the process of doing that you write a narrative. Much of what I did when I taught was teaching others how to write a story, a form of narrative."
Moore's work in English literature has stood her in good stead in her legal career. "The skill set," Moore went on to say, "rhetoric composed of description, exposition, the development of material, narrative and argument . . . those are the same elements that you use as a lawyer in your writing or oral advocacy."