Literature, at its best, touches upon what lawyers intuitively know in their hearts to be true and teases it out to the surface. We read, reflect and think, "Oh, yes, I know that." It speaks to pre-existing beliefs but in fresh and practical ways.
Here's an example: Practicing employment law, I often help companies deal with whistle-blowers who usually are off base but occasionally on target. In doing so, I sometimes think of Matthew 5:25: "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him; lest, at any time the adversary delivers thee to the judge."
Now, that's good advice, and Matthew didn't bill $425 an hour for it. It is a literary foundation for 1-800 reporting lines, anti-harassment policies, and the satellite industry of investigation firms and consultants. It tells us to listen to the one registering the concern while still employed and — regardless of the apparent merits of the claim — refuse to marginalize and denude them. Indeed, a value of literature is to reduce situations, as with the whistle-blower, to archetypes, condensing millennia of wisdom to a pithy core, a tripwire for our protection. Reading "he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 28:20) is a powerful reminder not just of what not to become, but also of whom to beware.