Legal biographies and autobiographies are a rich and important source of information about the legal system, the evolution of case law and statute and legal cultures more generally. Yet, despite a growing interest over the last fifty years in the information such studies contain, they have been much neglected in the study of law.
The Legal Biography Project, convened by the Law Department at the LSE, seeks to remedy this omission by providing a focus in Britain for biographical research in law. The aim of the project is to create a rich foundation for scholarship on legal history, legal biography and the history of the legal profession. Drawing on published works, official records, personal letters, oral histories, art work and film we aim to facilitate a broader discussion than has taken place to date about ideas of lawyering, judgecraft, judicial identity, judicial diversity and the changes which have occurred to these notions over time.
The pursuit of this goal has two main aspects. First, the Project aims to promote scholarship in the field through a number of activities, including:
workshops and public lectures
the establishment of a network of scholars working in related fields in both other departments at LSE and beyond;
Second, the Project aims to raise funds to develop the collection of legal biographies that it received through the generous bequest of an anonymous donor in 2011. Full details about the collection, and a catalogue to enable research access, will be uploaded to this website in late November 2011.
Staff in the law Department are currently working on two projects that have relevance to the way that stories about law and the judiciary are told. The first of these is the Irish Feminist Judgments project which is exploring how seminal cases might have been decided differently if a feminist had been judging:http://www.feministjudging.ie/. The second AHRC funded project focuses on how judicial identity and biography are mediated by images of the judiciary: http://judicial.images.org
The Legal Biographies Collection
The Legal Biographies Collection is housed within the LSE Law Department in room 6.18 of the New Academic Building. The Collection is available for public access during normal Reception hours, 10am - 4pm, Monday - Friday. Appointments, however, are essential: please email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a time. Please note that this is a reference collection only, and all researchers will be required to provide appropriate identification, and to fill out a form, in order to access the Collection. Access to photocopying services can be arranged through Reception.
Professor W.R. Cornish FBA (Magdalene College, Cambridge)
Sir Ross Cranston FBA (chair)
Dr Stephen Cretney FBA (Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford)
Guy Holborn (Librarian, Lincoln's Inn)
Professor Patrick Polden (Law School, Brunel University)
Tuesday 28 October 2014 | 6.30pm | Moot Court Room, 7th Floor, New Academic Building
Slavery and Biographies at Jefferson's Monticello
Professor Annette Gordon-Reed (Harvard) will speak as part of Black History Month.
Annette Gordon-Reed is Charles
Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and Harmsworth
Visiting Professor of American History in the University of Oxford. She is the
author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy
(1997) and The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (2008), which
won the Pulitzer Prize in history and the National Book Award for Non Fiction.
She is also the author of Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History
Tuesday 25 November 2014 | 6.30pm-8pm | Old Theatre, Old Building
On 25 November, as part of the Legal Biography project, Sir Ross Cranston will interview the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, about his career in the law. Called to the bar in 1969, Lord Thomas practised as a commercial barrister, becoming a QC in 1984, before his appointment as a judge in the Queen’s Bench Division in 1996. After being appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2008, he became President of the Queen’s Bench Division in 2011, In 2013, he succeeded Lord Judge as Lord Chief Justice, Head of Criminal Justice and President of the Courts of England and Wales.
Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter
Thursday 6 March 2014 | 6.30pm-8pm | Thai Theatre, Lower Ground Floor, New Academic Building
In Conversation with the First Women Law Professors
In celebration of International Women’s Day the
Legal Biography Project is hosting a public lecture in which Professors Linda
Mulcahy and Fiona Cownie will interview Professors Brenda Barrett, Carol Harlow
and Dawn Oliver.
These three women were amongst the first women law professors ever to be appointed in the UK. The event will be followed by a drinks reception to mark the re-launch of the University of London Women in Law network.
click here for audio recording
Tuesday 18 March 2014 | 6.30-8.00 pm | NAB2.16 (New Academic Building)
‘Neil MacCormick and Scotland’
Dr. Maksymillian Del Mar (Queen Mary, University
Tuesday 18 February 2014 | 6.30-8.00 pm | Moot Court Room (New Academic Building, 7th floor)
‘Late Medieval and Early Modern Legal Prosopography’
Sir John Baker (University of Cambridge)
Wednesday 15 May 2013
LEGAL BIOGRAPHIES WORKSHOP
This workshop was being jointly organised by the British Library, the Institute for Advanced Legal Studies and the Socio-Legal Studies Association. Drawing on the expertise of archivists and academics working in the field the day focussed be on the methodological considerations and problems involved in doing archival research for legal biographies. The aim was to draw attention to archives that newcomers to the field may not have been aware of and to consider the practical problems involved in analysing sources. Speakers include:
• Lesley Dingle, Squire Law Library, Cambridge
• Guy Holborn, Lincolns Inn Library
• Les Moran, Birkbeck
• John Simms, British Library
• Mara Malagodi, LSE
• Susannah Raynor, SOAS
• Antonia Moon, British Library
• Rosemary Auchmuty, Reading University
• Elizabeth Dawson, Archivist, IALS Library
• Linda Mulcahy, LSE
• Kristen Rundle, LSE
Tuesday 21 May 2013 | 6.30pm |
New Theatre, East Building, LSE
In Conversation with Dame Heather Hallett
The Rt. Hon Lady Justice Hallett has been a Court of Appeal Judge since 2005, was the first woman to chair the Bar Council and was formerly a member of the Judicial Appointments Commission. We are delighted to welcome Dame Heather to the LSE to be interviewed about her life and career. The interview will be conducted by Professor Linda Mulcahy and is open to staff, students and the public.
Links to Other Scholarly Projects
Eminent Scholars Archive (University of Cambridge)
South Asian Legal History Resources website
(in particular South Asians at the Inns)