No Snoozing Here: Professor Paul’s “Bedtime Story” Translated into Portuguese


04.08.22 — Professor Jeremy Paul woke up early one morning in late March to news that his 1988 Virginia Law Review article, “A Bedtime Story,” has been translated into Portuguese, and republished in Civil Procedure Review, a Brazilian international legal journal. The translators, Marcus Seixas Souza and Daniel Oitaven of the Universidade Federal da Bahia, obtained Paul’s permission in advance, so no copyright nightmares ensued. The article is not exactly a sleeper hit, as it has been popular among law faculty and students for more than two decades, but this is the first known translation of the piece into a foreign language.

Paul wrote “A Bedtime Story” to introduce his first-year property students to some of the rhetorical strategies lawyers employ by describing an everyday situation in which similar argumentation might easily be found. Suffice it to say that Paul brilliantly encapsulates legal questions and the steps to crafting successful arguments within the extremely approachable story of a 12-year-old trying to persuade a babysitter to push bedtime to 11 pm to watch a special two-hour episode of Miami Vice.

“Since the whole point of the story was to illustrate how the reasoning techniques lawyers use are at the heart of conflict resolution in everyday life, it was particularly gratifying to see that my ideas resonated with those from outside US legal culture. I am proud and delighted,” said Paul, a former dean of Northeastern University School of Law and co-author of Getting to Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams.

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