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Documentaries and the Law

Documentary films increasingly influence what people know and think about law. In truth, more and more lawyers are assuming the role of filmmakers themselves through such devices as video settlement brochures, multimedia closing arguments, sentencing mitigation videos, and visual petitions to administrative bodies. To keep pace with the proliferation of opportunities to mount visual legal arguments, law schools must begin to train students in visual legal advocacy.

Fewer Stays, Fewer Days

In 2019, the Harvard Law Review published a quantitative study by researchers from the RAND Corporation and the Law School’s Quattrone Center entitled “The Effects of Holistic Defense on Criminal Justice Outcomes.”

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On, Not Off: Utility Affordability

Customer assistance programs (CAPs), as well as other regulatory measures mandated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that reflect the goals of universal service, are intended to maintain the affordability of essential gas and electricity service for low-income Pennsylvanians.

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It’s Time to Right the Wrong

Pennsylvania does not compensate innocent persons who are exonerated after being convicted and incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. This video makes the case for a compensation statute for exonerees.

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Defender Association

Visual Advocacy for Advocates: How Philadelphia’s Defender Association Used Social Media to Increase Funding for Its Workers

The staff members of the Defender Association at every level are essential to the fair and efficient operation of Philadelphia’s criminal justice system and deserve pay parity with other City workers. But how do they show that?

U.D.C. Room Door

A Confederate Flag in the Jury Room Leads to a New Trial: “Talking Images” and the Visual Turn in Law

Does the image of a Confederate flag framed and hung on the wall of a jury room provide “extraneous prejudicial information” on which to set aside a verdict? Yes!


A visual call to justice on a lamp post in West Philadelphia??

From Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Only “Good Victims” Need Apply: “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” and Poor Black Women in Crack Culture

The story of a serial killer who took advantage of crack culture to prey on black women can tell us much about what is wrong with the notion of “the good victim.”

Contact the Center

Regina Austin

Tel: 215.898.5185

William A. Schnader Professor
Director, Penn Program on Documentaries & the Law
University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6204