James R. Elkins

Arthur S. Dayton Professor of Law



College of Law
West Virginia University














The Critical Project: "Archaeology of Criticism"

Lawyers and Mythology: An Archaeology

Course Websites

Lawyers and Literature

Psychology for Lawyers

Crime Film Documentaries

Lawyers and Film

Lawyers, Poets, and Poetry

The Lawyer as Storyteller

Memoir and Legal Education

The Art of Advocacy
[Based on the writings and trial advocacy
of Gerry Spence]

Lawyer as Writer

Advanced Criminal Law

Convicting the Innocent

West Memphis Three Case

Prosecutorial Misconduct

Revised WV Homicide Jury Instructionsa

I began law teaching at DePaul University in 1975, and joined the faculty at West Virginia University in 1977. I held visiting appointments at the University of Kentucky, Washington & Lee, and in the Department of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

My teaching focused on the "turn to narrative" in legal education and the legal profession (lawyers and literature, lawyers and film, the lawyer as storyteller) and advanced courses on criminal law (film courses that focus on crime film documentaries and convicting the innocent). In the story|narrative|film courses, I asked students to read literary texts and watch films and explore the broader meaning of their work and their lives as lawyers.

I retired December 31st, 2019.

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