James R. Elkins

E-Mail: jelkins@labs.net




June, 1975 LL.M., Yale

December, 1971 J.D., University of Kentucky

Order of the Coif

May, 1967 B.A., University of Kentucky

Major: Political Science (with a minor in Economics)


Married, Age 75, 1 Daughter


January 1969 - October 1970 U.S. Army. Acting Chief Legal Clerk, Judge Advocate General's Office, John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance, Fort Bragg, North Carolina


Kentucky (retired); United States Court of Claims; United States Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals


2020 - Retired (December 30. 2019)

2013 - 2019 Arthur S. Dayton Professor of Law, West Virginia University

May 1981 - 2013 Professor of Law, West Virginia University

September - December 1987 Visiting Professor of Legal Studies, Department of Legal Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

August - December 1985 Visiting Professor of Law, Washington & Lee University

August 1984 - March 1985 Visiting Scholar & Adjunct Professor of Legal Studies, Department of Legal Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

1979 - 1983 Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Behavioral Medicine & Psychiatry, West Virginia University

January - August 1981 Visiting Scholar, Stanford Law School

February - May 1981 T-Group Facilitator, Stanford Graduate School of Business

August - December 1980 Fellow & Visiting Scholar, Health Law Institute, University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston) and University of Houston College of Law

1977 - 1980 Visiting Assistant & Associate Professor of Law, West Virginia University

June - August 1976 Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

1975 - 1977 Assistant Professor of Law, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

September 1974 - August 1975 Special Assistant United States Attorney, FHA Fraud Investigation, U.S. Attorney's Office, Newark, New Jersey

[Department of Justice Special Achievement Award: Recognition of meritorious service for criminal fraud investigation of New Jersey mortgage companies and real estate brokers. July 21, 1974]

February 1974 - August 1974 Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Newark, New Jersey

March 1972 - February 1974 Trial Attorney, Civil Division, Economic Stabilization Section, Department of Justice, Washington, DC

May 1971 - December 1971 Legal Intern, United States Attorney's Office, Lexington, Kentucky

September 1967-December 1968 Instructor, American Government & Economics, Midway Junior College, Midway, Kentucky


2003 Faculty Scholarship Award

March 10, 2003 "Living With and Against the Disciplines: Law, Philosophy, and Literature," Reynolds Lecture, Elon University

1995 Benedum Distinguished Scholar, West Virginia University

1980 - 1983 National Kellogg Fellowship

1980 Health Law Fellowship, University of Texas Health Science Center & University of Houston Law School

Summer, 1979 NEH Fellowship in Law and the Humanities (University of Chicago) (James Boyd White)

September 9, 1978 West Virginia University Foundation Associate Award, Humanistic Approaches to Teaching

Summer, 1978 Project for the Study of Humanistic Legal Education


Administrative Law Advanced Criminal Law [Convicting the Innocent] Advanced Criminal Law [Homicide Jury Instructions] Advanced Criminal Law Advanced Criminal Law [West Memphis Three Murder Case] Advanced Criminal Law [Prosecutorial Misconduct] Appellate Advocacy Art of Advocacy Crime Film Documentaries Criminal Law Criminal Procedure Critical Legal Studies Environmental Justice Family Law Jurisprudence Law and Mental Health Law and Psychiatry Lawyers and Film Lawyers and Literature Lawyer as Writer Lawyer as Storyteller Lawyers, Poets, and Poetry The Legal Imagination Legal Interviewing and Counseling Memoir and Legal Education Narrative Jurisprudence Practical Moral Philosophy for Lawyers Professional Responsibility Psychology for Lawyers The Lawyer as Person Mythology and Professionalism Women and the Legal Profession


1994 - 1996 University of North Carolina School of Law, Intergenerational Ethics Project


1980 - 1983 President, American Lgal Studies Association


1996 - Present Editor, Legal Studies Forum

1994 - 1995 Editorial Board, Legal Studies Forum

1987 - 1992 Book Review Editor, Journal of Legal Education

1985 - 1988 Editorial Board, Journal of Legal Education

January 1987 - August 1987 Book Review Editor, Legal Studies Forum

1983 - 1987 Editor, Transformations, Newsletter of the American Legal Studies Association

1979 - 1984 Editorial Board, Legal Studies Forum


The Law School Journey: A Calendar of Readings (Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2020)

Lawyer Poets and That World We Call Law: An Anthology of Poems about the Practice of Law (New York: Pleasure Boat Studio, 2013)

Legal Interviewing and Counseling (West Publishing Co., 4th ed. 2005)(co-authored with Thomas Shaffer)


"Preface," to Narrative Jurisprudence: A Law, Lawyers, & Stories Bibliography, 43 Legal Studies Forum 3-7 (2019)

Talking with Rebecca and Clara About Their Encounter with Fictional Lawyers, 65 Journal of Legal Education 966 (2016)

A Teacher's Reading of Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, 37 Legal Studies Forum 37-62 (2013)(Suppl. 1)

Why Write? 63 Journal of Legal Education 333 (2013) [online text]

Life Adds Up: Notes for a Teacher's Memoir, 35 Legal Studies Forum 165-225 (2011)

Popular Culture, Legal Films, and Legal Film Critics, 40 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 745-791 (2007)

Finding Pinder, 31 Legal Studies Forum 1035-1042 (2007)

Meditations on the Odd Lives We Live, 31 Legal Studies Forum 885-931 (2007)

TS Kerrigan: An Interview with James R. Elkins 31 Legal Studies Forum 473-493 (2007)

A Poetics--of and for--Ruthann Robson, 8 New York City Law Review 363-400 (2005)

In Search of the Lawyer Poets, Rattle #23 (Summer, 2005)(vol.11, no.1)(pp. 117-124) [revised version titled, "The Remnants of a Lost & Forgotten Library: On Finding the Lawyer Poets," 30 Legal Studies Forum 1-9 (2006)

Interview [Albert Borowitz], 29 Legal Studies Forum 1047-1056 (2005)

Simon Perchik: An Interview, 29 Legal Studies Forum 181-186 (2005)

Ruthann Robson and James R. Elkins: A Conversation, 29 Legal Studies Forum 145-172 (2005)

Reading/Teaching Lawyer Films, 28 Vermont Law Review 813-879 (2004)

[revised, condensed version, published in 25 (1) Les Cahiers de L'Apliut(Symposium: Cinéma et Langue de Spécialité) 8-25 (2006)]

An Anthology of Poetry By Lawyers (Introduction), 28 Legal Studies Forum 1-19 (2004)

"A Letter to 'Law & Literature' Students in Australia," in Law, Memory & Literature 20-33 (Australian Legal Philosophy Students Association, ALPSA 2004 Annual Publication, 2004)

The John William Corrington & Charles Bukowski Correspondence: On Poetry and Writing, 27 Legal Studies Forum 561-611 (2003)

A Great Gift: Reading John William Corrington, 26 Legal Studies Forum 425-490 (2002)

John William Corrington, 26 Legal Studies Forum 493-502 (2002)

John William Corrington's Journals 1980-1988, 26 Legal Stud. F. 541 (2002)(editor)

Lowell B. Komie of Chicago: Writer and Lawyer, 25 Legal Studies Forum 1-10 (2001)

Lowell B. Komie: An Interview, 25 Legal Studies Forum 223-246 (2001)

A Law Culture Diagnostic (Review Essay), 8 (1) Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture 48-57 (2001)[online text]

Lawyer Ethics: A Pedagogical Mosaic, 14 Notre Dame Journal Law, Ethics & Policy 117-222 (2000)[online text]

The Critical Thinking Movement: Alternating Currents in One Teacher's Thinking, 23 Legal Studies Forum 379 (1999)[online text]

A Conversation of Moralists, 23 Legal Studies Forum 249 (1999)[online text]

The Things They Carry Into Legal Writing (And Legal Education), 22 Legal Studies Forum 749-788 (1998)[online text][an excerpt appears in Linda H. Edwards (ed.), Readings in Persuasion: Briefs That Changed the World 102-104 (New York: Wolters Kluwer, 2012)

Rhetoric, Disciplines, and Stories: How Will We Know When We Have Too Much Law, 22 Legal Studies Forum 519-527 (1998)[online text]

Teaching a Lawyer's Confessions, 21 Legal Studies Forum 151-192 (1997)[online text]

An Argument Against Reticence in the Teaching of Virtue, 21 Legal Studies Forum 221-238 (1997)[online text]

What Kind of Story Is Legal Writing?, 20 Legal Studies Forum 95-135 (1996)[online text]

Thinking Like a Lawyer: Second Thoughts, 47 Mercer L. Rev. 511-541 (1996)

Troubled Beginnings: Reflections on Becoming a Lawyer, 26 U. Memphis Law Review 1303-1324 (1996)

Pathologizing Professional Life: Psycho-Literary Case Stories, 18 Vermont Law Review 581-643 (1994)

The Moral Labyrinth of Zealous Advocacy, 20 Capital Law Review 735-796 (1993)[online text]

Writing Our Lives: Making Introspective Writing a Part of Legal Education, 29 Willamette Law Review 41-68 (1993)

Symptoms Exposed When Legalists Engage in Moral Discourse: Reflections on the Difficulties of Talking Ethics, 17 Vermont Law Review 353-423 (1993)

From the Symposium Editor, 40 Journal of Legal Education 1-2 (1990)(Introduction to Pedagogy of Narrative Symposium)

Socrates and the Pedagogy of Critique, 14 Legal Studies Forum 231-252 (1990)

A Bibliography of Narrative, 40 Journal of Legal Education 203-250 (1990)(Symposium on Pedagogy of Narrative)

The Stories We Tell Ourselves in Law, 40 Journal of Legal Education 47-76 (1990)(Symposium on Pedagogy of Narrative)[online text]

The Quest for Meaning: Narrative Accounts of Legal Education, 38 Journal of Legal Education 577-598 (1988)[reprinted in David R.Paoke (ed.), Narrative and the Legal Discourse (Liverpool, United Kingdom: Deborah Charles Publ., 1991)]

Resistance to Legal Ethics, 12 Journal of the Legal Profession 29-48 (1987)(co-authored with Elizabeth Gee)

Reflections on the Religion Called Legal Education, 37 Journal of Legal Education 522-528 (1987)

The Reconstruction of Legal Ethics as Ethics (Review Essay), 36 Journal of Legal Education 274-283 (1986)

A Conversation Called Ethics, 10 Legal Studies Forum 265-274 (1986)

Professing Law: Does Teaching Matter?, 31 Saint Louis University Law Journal 35-51 (1986)(Response to Sanford Levinson's, 1986 Richard J. Childress Memorial Lecture, Saint Louis University)

On the Emergence of Narrative Jurisprudence: The Humanistic Perspective Finds a New Path, 9 Legal Studies Forum 123-156 (1985)

The Examined Life: A Mind in Search of Heart, 30 American Journal of Jurisprudence 155-187 (1985)[online text]

The Pedagogy of Ethics, 10 Journal of the Legal Profession 37-83 (1985)

Rites of Passage: Law Students "Telling Their Lives," 35 Journal of Legal Education 27-55 (1985)

Ethics: Professionalism, Craft, and Failure, 73 Kentucky Law Journal 937-965 (1984-85)

Cinderella: The Mythic Lives of Women Law Students, 8 American Legal Studies Forum 125-146 (1984)

On Working with Feminine Energy, 8 American Legal Studies Forum 147-159 (1984)

On the Significance of Women in Legal Education, 7 American Legal Studies Forum 290-316 (1983)

Becoming a Lawyer: The Transformation of Self During Legal Education, 66 Soundings 450-468 (Winter 1983)

A Humanistic Perspective in Legal Education, 62 Nebraska Law Review 494-525 (1983)

Coping Strategies in Legal Education, 16 The Law Teacher 195-210 (1982)

Moral Discourse and Legalism in Legal Education, 32 Journal Legal Education 11-52 (1982)

"All My Friends Are Becoming Strangers": The Psychological Perspective in Legal Education, 84 West Virginia Law Review 161-222 (1981)

Reflections on Humanistic Teaching, 5 American Legal Studies Forum 3-19 (Winter, 1981)

Legal Representation of the Mentally Ill, 82 West Virginia Law Review 157-225 (1979)

The Paradox of A Life in Law, 40 University Pittsburgh Law Review 129-168 (1978)

The Legal Persona: An Essay on the Professional Mask, 64 Virginia Law Review 735-762 (1978)

The Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals: A Study in the Abdication of Judicial Responsibility, 1978 Duke Law Journal 113-153

Corporations and the Criminal Law: An Uneasy Alliance, 65 Kentucky Law Journal 73-129 (1977)

A Counseling Model for Lawyering in Divorce Cases, 53 Notre Dame Lawyer 229-265 (1977)


Old Wine|New Skins, 39 Legal Studies Forum, 39 Legal Studies Forum 115-135 (2015) (recomposition of poems by James Clarke)

Signposts in the High Country of the Mind, 37 Legal Studies Forum 105-153 (2013) (Suppl. 1)

Story Basics: Instructions from the World, 35 Legal Studies Forum 235-532 (2011)

A Lawyer's Literary Miscellany, 34 Legal Studies Forum 391-466 (2010)[online text]

What Seems to Move Is Still, 32 Legal Studies Forum 105-119 (2008)(story lyrics by John Hay)


Book Review: Bunyan Bryant (ed.), Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies and Solutions, The Workbook (1996) (Albuquerque, NM: Southwest Research and Information Center)

Book Review: Deeper Shades of Green: The Rise of Blue Collar and Minority Environmentalism in America by Jim Schwab, 20 (1) The WorkBook 27-29 (Spring, 1995)(Albuquerque, NM: Southwest Research and Information Center)

Book Review: Elizabeth Dvorkin, et. al., Becoming a Lawyer--A Humanistic Perspective on Legal Education and Professionalism, 6 American Legal Studies Forum 307-322 (1983)[online text]

Book Review: A Theory of Criminal Justice by Hyman Gross, 81 West Virginia Law Review 219-228 (1978-79)

Book Review: One L by Scott Turow, 3 American Legal Studies Forum 81-88 (1978)[online text]

Book Review: Legal Interviewing and Counseling by Thomas Shaffer, 30 Vanderbilt Law Review 923-940 (1977)


"Narrative Jurisprudence: A Law, Lawyers, & Stories Bibliography," 43 Legal Studies Forum 3-177 (2019)

"Guilt and Redemption," 42 Legal Studies Forum 75-181 (2018) [Constantin Himmelried stories/Michael Blumenthal translation]

"The Green Roar of Zen," 42 Legal Studies Forum 1-71 (2018) [Charles Dowling Williams poetry]

"Legal Studies Forum: Poetry Anthology," 41 Legal Studies Forum 1-657 (2017)

"Radiant Kingdoms," 40 Legal Studies Forum 1-115 (2016)(Suppl. 1)[Gerry Grubbs poetry]

"Seasons at West Wind Farm," 40 Legal Studies Forum 103-261 (2016) [Charles Dowling Williams poetry]

"Fugitive Light," 39 Legal Studies Forum 1-89 (2015)(Suppl. 1) [James Clarke poetry]

"Reluctant Witness," 39 Legal Studies Forum 193-275 (2015) [James Clarke poetry]

The Borgo of the Holy Ghost," 38 Legal Studies Forum 1-81 (2014)(Suppl.1) [Stephen McLeod poetry]

"Designated Dreamer," 38 Legal Studies Forum 1-85 (2014)(Suppl.2) [James Clarke poetry]

"Against the Cold Everlasting," 37 Legal Studies Forum 1-93 (2013)(Suppl.2) [John Glowney poetry]

"Rereading Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," 37 Legal Studies Forum 1-155 (2013) (Suppl.1)

"All the Broken Places," 37 Legal Studies Forum 1-125 (2013) [James Clarke poetry]

"The Juried Heart," 36 Legal Studies Forum 1-97 (2012)(Suppl.1) [James Clarke poetry]

"Missed Exits," 36 Legal Studies Forum 284-353 (2012) [Steven M. Richman poetry]

"Work Stories," 36 Legal Studies Forum 1-125 (2012)(Suppl.2) [Dennis James short stories]

"In This Age of Memoir," 35 Legal Studies Forum 1-233(2011)

"Instructions from the World: Story Basics," 35 Legal Studies Forum 235-532 (2011) [a composite of excerpts/quotes]

"A Personal History of America: Tales of the Man Made Season," 34 Legal Studies Forum 1-339 (2010)(co-edited with Jack Mearns)[the historical writings of John Sanford]

"Trajectories," 33 Legal Studies Forum 1-119 (2009) [Margaret J. Hoehn poetry]

"Novlets: 67 Sonnets," 33 Legal Studies Forum 1-87 (2009)(Suppl.1) [Lee Warner Brooks poetry]

"The Beautiful Daughters of Men: A Novella in Short Verse from Tinakori Hill," 33 Legal Studies Forum 1-81 (2009)(Suppl.2) [Gary Forrester poetry]

"Bring Me One of Everything: Selected Writings of Leslie Hall Pinder," 31 Legal Studies Forum 1033-1287 (2007)

"Correcting the World: Selected Poetry and Writings of Michael Blumenthal," 31 Legal Studies Forum 1-447 (2007)

"Crimes Gone By: Collected Collected Essays of Albert Borowitz 1966-2005," 29 Legal Studies Forum 588-1062 (2005)

"Poetry and Law | Lawyers and Poetry | Fiction & Memoirs," 29 Legal Studies Forum 1-587 (2005)

"Off the Record: An Anthology of Poetry by Lawyers," 28 Legal Studies Forum 1-732 (2004)

"Fiction by John William Corrington," 26 Legal Studies Forum 1-492 (2002)

"Fishing Deep Waters: John William Corrington (1932-1988)," 26 Legal Studies Forum 493-912(2002)

"The Legal Fiction of Lowell B. Komie," 25 Legal Studies Forum 1-246 (2001)

"Teaching a Lawyer's Confessions," 21 Legal Studies Forum 139-300 (1997)

"The Pedagogy of Narrative," 40 Journal of Legal Education 1-250 (1990)

"Legal Education and the Pedagogy of Ethics," 10 Legal Studies Forum 265-324 (1986)

"Narrative Jurisprudence," 9 Legal Studies Forum 123-234 (1985)

"Worlds of Silence: Women in Legal Education," 8 American Legal Studies Forum 1-161 (1984)


Strangers to Us All: Lawyers and Poetry


"Foreword," to James Clarke, The Juried Heart xi-xiii (New York: Pleasure Boat Studio, 2015) [republished in Canada under the title Oblique Verdicts (Toronto: Exile Editions, 2017)]

"Lowell B. Komie's Lawyer Stories" & "A Reader's Guide to the Stories," in Lowell B. Komie, The Legal Fiction of Lowell B. Komie xiii-xvi, xvii-xx (Chicago: Swordfish/Chicago, 2005)

Professional Burnout Among U.S. Veterinarians: How Serious a Problem? 82 Veterinary Medicine 1245-1250 (1987)(with Dr. A.D. Elkins)

Guest Editorial: Professional Burnout & Veterinarians, 18 Journal American Animal Hospital Association 849-852 (1982)(with Dr. A.D. Elkins)

Psychiatric Judgments and Legal Standards of Proof, Newsletter, West Virginia District Branch, American Psychiatric Association (Spring 1979)

Imagination and Creativity in Lawyering: A Report on a Law School Seminar, 3(1) American Legal Studies Forum 13-22 (May 1978)[online text]

Seasons, Semesters and Paradoxes, 5 Cause of Action 8-9 (March 1977)


Return to: Elkins Web-site Directory