Introducing "Art, Literature and the Law" Series

Art, Literature and the Law

By Will Ashenmacher

When I was a teenager, I read just about every John Grisham novel I could get my hands on. And because I really do mean “just about every,” I thought practicing law involved many more car bombs, alluring love interests, and briefcases full of cash than it really does.

I still appreciate a good Grisham novel, but my understanding of the ways law intersects with art and literature has expanded since I was 17 or so. Hennepin Lawyer’s Art, Literature, and the Law theme for the month of March is one reason for that.

Terrance Newby, an attorney, novelist and playwright, gets us started by sharing how drama and literature inform his legal work and vice versa.  In the coming weeks Hennepin Lawyers, Maslon’s Jessica Karp takes a look at the legal, ethical, and moral issues around the repatriation of Native American art and artifacts and whether technology might help finally resolve the long-running conversation over who owns artistic and cultural heritage artifacts. Jodi DeSchane and Brian Auerbach from Ballard Spahr will explore NFTs, expanding our knowledge on a topic we’ve all heard about but have more to learn. Librarians, book reviewers, and other Twin Cities literary figures will share their recommendations for legal-themed plays, novels and texts…not a single one of which is To Kill a Mockingbird. That’s a promise. Plus, we’ll be showcasing fiction, poetry, and visual art from HCBA members.

I’d like to thank all of the authors and artists for their contributions, and I would like to thank the staff of Hennepin Lawyer for their invaluable assistance assembling these contributions. I know I speak on their behalf when I say we’d love it if this could become a continuing conversation. We welcome any thoughts, comments, or future contributions from your readers. Who knows? Maybe in a future issue, we will even get a submission from John Grisham himself.

Will Ashenmacher is a communications manager in the Minneapolis office of Ballard Spahr. In his role, he works across the national firm’s seven Western offices to find and further stories about Ballard Spahr’s attorneys, work matters, and firm culture. Will volunteers with the University of St. Thomas’ ThreeSixty Journalism program. He lives in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis with this dog, Kitsu.


Managing Editor
Elsa Cournoyer

Executive Editor

Joseph Satter