Richard Dooling

Visiting Professor of Law

218S LAW UNL 68583-0902
(402)472-7566 | Email

  • J.D., 1987, Saint Louis University School of Law
  • RRT, 1983, University of Chicago
  • B.A., 1976, Saint Louis University


  • 2009 Visiting Professor of Law, University of Nebraska College of Law
  • 2009 Author, Writer, Screenwriter (see Published by Random House, Harper Collins, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Harmony, William Morrow, Picador, and Hyperion.
  • 2004 Television Writer, Producer, Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • 1991 Bryan Cave LLP, St. Louis Headquarters Associate, Labor & Employment, Litigation
  • 1984 Clarkson Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska, Registered Respiratory Therapist


Professor Richard Dooling began teaching at the College of Law in January 2008 after almost two decades of working in the publishing, television, and film industries. He attended the St. Louis University School of Law, and worked in private practice for five years before launching a career as a novelist after his second novel, White Man’s Grave, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1994. The author of five novels and two books of nonfiction, Professor Dooling was also co-writer and co-producer with Stephen King for Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital ABC primetime in 2004. He is also a regular contributor to the New York Times opinion page and writes often about technology and the first amendment. Professor Dooling teaches Entertainment Law, Mass Communications Law, Legal Profession, and Law and Literature.

Entertainment Law

(Law 615; 3 cr hr) A comprehensive survey and analysis of the laws governing the entertainment industry, artists, and their representatives. Students will learn about legal restraints on entertainment, including censorship of sex and violence, defamation, and privacy and publicity rights. We will also cover intellectual property in entertainment assets: copyright, trademark, artistic credits, and “moral rights.” Students will acquire a working vocabulary of important entertainment transactions, such as publishing agreements, film and television option agreements, and agent and personal management contracts. The course includes hands-on analysis of entertainment contracts, especially in the publishing, movie, and television industries. The lectures also feature examples of real-life, practical knowledge from Professor Dooling's misadventures in Hollywood doing screenwriting and television production, and his publishing industry experiences as an author, novelist, and journalist.

Legal Profession

(Law 790/G; 3 cr hr) A systematic study of the principles of professional responsibility governing the practice of law in the United States. This course meets the faculty's requirement for a course in professional responsibility.

Law & Literature

(Law 712/G; 3 cr hr) In Law & Literature, we will study the law-in-literature, and the law-as-literature. Novelists, poets, and playwrights dramatize the law and legal events in ways that the bare fact patterns of caselaw cannot. We will read literature that examines "the law" as an object of fascination and revulsion. We will enrich our professional lives by studying great characters, as they struggle with the seamless web called LAW. We will also examine the law-as-literature. Legal writers employ most of the literary devices found in literature, such as narrative structure, metaphor, and ambiguity, to name only a few. We will examine legal texts using the tools of literary analysis and explore the literary aspects of the law. Before beginning our careers as lawyers, we'll try to pause and absorb the wisdom of those who have gone before us. Mixing law and literature in the laboratories of our imaginations, we shall also try to unravel the many ways we conceal, or reveal, meaning in texts.

Mass Communications

(Law 649/G; 3 cr hr) In-depth focus on the first amendment. Selected topics include the legal distinctions between the print and broadcast media, free press and fair trial, defamation, privacy, state secrets, pornography, commercial speech and access to the media.


  • Magazine's
    • Esquire Magazine, Diary of An Immortal Man (2000) ("Suppose you could live forever . . . ?")  - Cover story, and National Magazine Award Finalist;
    • New York Times Book Review, Good Politics, Bad Law (reviewing Hate Crimes: Criminal Law & Identity Politics, by James B. Jacobs and Kimberly Potter (New York:  Oxford University Press. 1998);
    • The New Yorker, Bush Pigs, a short story (1994)
    • New York Times Op-Eds
  • New York Times Opinion Essays:
    • Medicare's Generation Gap, Op-Ed, August 17th, 2009;
    • The Rise of the Machines, Sunday Op-Ed, October 8th, 2008;
    • The Wizard Drops The Curtain, Sunday Op-Ed, May 9th, 2007;
    • Many more available at this hyperlink:
  • Wall Street Journal Op-Eds
    • Punish Crime, Not Hate, July 20, 1998, Pg. A18, 1129 words;
    • Defining Dictionaries Down, June 29, 1998, g. A18, 961 words;
    • What a Niggling Offense! Oops, We Mean, Jan. 29, 1999, Pg. A14, 1147 words;
    • The Millennium That Was: From Swearing By to Swearing At, July 6, 1999, A14, 1422 words. Special Millennial Essay on Language. Please see Wikipedia page for more detail about publications:
  • Weblog:


  • Nonfiction Books
    • Rapture For The Geeks: When AI Outsmarts IQ (New York: Crown 2008)
    • Blue Streak: Swearing, Free Speech & Sexual Harassment (New York: Random House, 1996)
  • Novels
    • The Journals of Eleanor Druse: Investigation of the Kingdom Hospital Incident, (New York: Hyperion, 2004) under pseudonym, Eleanor Druse, tie-in for Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital. ABC, Sony Pictures;
    • Bet Your Life (New York: Harper Collins, 2002) - New York Times Notable Book of the Year;
    • Brain Storm (New York: Random House, 1998) -- New York Times Notable Book of the Year;
    • White Man's Grave (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1994) -- New York Times Notable Book of the Year and Finalist for the National Book Award;
    • Critical Care (New York: William Morrow, 1992)