Law and literature ranges wide. Scholars use Shakespeare to illuminate issues of justice, Dickens to understand trusts and estates, and J.K. Rowling to explain the law of nations. But an important subset of this field has been hitherto neglected: the study of the names of law's protagonists-law and onomastics.
This Essay takes the first step into this promising arena by identifying a previously unexplored category of cases, which it dubs "legal aptonyms." Many are familiar with aptonyms but lack the vocabulary to describe them. Aptonyms—literally "apt names"—are those proper names that are "regarded as (humorously) appropriate to a person's profession or personal characteristics." Think of Shakespeare's quick-tempered Sir Hotspur, Dickens's acerbic Mrs. Sowerberry, or Rowling's pernicious Draco Malfoy. Although the study of aptonyms is widespread in other fields, it has yet to make inroads into law. Until now.