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Q: What is the Yale Visual Law Project?
A: We are a student-created project at Yale Law School that explores the intersection between law and film. Our members receive training in the art of visual advocacy and produce short films on legal issues for public audiences. We launched the project in 2010-11 and just premiered two films – one on racial profiling on the streets of New York City, another on the impact of a controversial immigration raid. In our second year, we’re examining prison conditions in the U.S., including the use of solitary confinement.
Q: Why should law students learn visual advocacy?
A: Visual and digital technologies have transformed the practice of law. Lawyers are using videos to present evidence, closing arguments, and victim-impact statements; advocates are making viral videos to advance public education campaigns; and scholars are debating ideas in a multimedia blogosphere. Everyone’s doing it. But no one is really teaching it — or reflecting upon it. We see training in visual advocacy — effectively evaluating and making arguments through videos and images — as a vital part of our legal education.
Q: How do I join the Project?
A: If you are a student at Yale University or Yale Law School, please contact us to learn about ways to join the project as a full member or affiliate. If you are outside of Yale, please join the conversation on Twitter and our email list.
Q: Where does the Visual Law Project get its support?
A: We receive financial, administrative, and technical support from Yale Law School, the Yale Information Society Project, the Yale Digital Media Center for the Arts, and Yale Information Technology Services, independent filmmakers and production companies willing to provide their services pro bono.
Q: How can I support the Visual Law Project?
A: We are seeking pro bono assistance from filmmakers and lawyers who would like to help us develop our projects. We are also a building a community of students, lawyers and filmmakers invested in visual advocacy, so join our email list for news and updates.
Q: How can I sponsor the Project?
A: If you are drawn to our mission, we invite you to sponsor us. Whether you are an individual or law firm or community organization, please contact us if you are interested in helping fund our current or future film projects.
Q: Where can I get a DVD of Visual Law Project films? Can I download the films?
Q: How do I start a Visual Law Project at my law school?
A: We encourage students and faculty at law schools to imagine launching their own Visual Law programs. We are compiling information that helped us create ours — including info on funding, rights, insurance, curriculum, and everything else we learned the hard way. We will soon share this information with you on our site. If you are interested, let us know. We also encourage you to check out similar programs at University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Harvard University.