When initially published, The Paper Chase was widely acclaimed as the first novel to realistically describe the experiences of students within American law schools. The film version appeared to sensational reviews, and John Houseman, playing Professor Kingsfield won an Academy Award. Then, with Houseman again playing Kingsfield, The Paper Chase appeared as a television series on CBS. After that, the series in its entirety was re-run as a special on PBS, the first time a commercial American television series had been re-broadcast on public television. Subsequently, The Paper Chase television series was taken over by the cable network Showtime, which continued to produce new episodes. Every year, a theatrical play version of The Paper Chase is produced in regional theatres and schools across the United States. In its many incarnations, The Paper Chase has been one of the most influential books of its generation and has defined law school for millions of Americans.
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John Jay Osborn, Jr. graduated from Harvard Law School in 1970. He wrote The Paper Chase while he was a full-time law student. Osborn has clerked for the United States Court of Appeals, practiced law in New York City, and taught at the University of Miami School of Law. Since 1981 he has practiced in the estate-planning field, as well as giving advice and representation to artists and writers. Osborn is the author of four novels and has written episodes for a variety of network television shows. Since 1991 he has been a lecturer at the law school of the University of California at Berkeley.
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