The Language of Law School: Learning to ''Think Like a Lawyer'' [NOOK Book]

Overview

Anyone who has attended law school knows that it invokes an important intellectual transformation, frequently referred to as "learning to think like a lawyer". This process, which forces students to think and talk in radically new and different ways about conflicts, is directed by professors in the course of their lectures and examinations, and conducted via spoken and written language. Beth Mertz's book is the first study to truly delve into that language to reveal the complexities of how this process takes ...
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The Language of Law School: Learning to ''Think Like a Lawyer''

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Overview

Anyone who has attended law school knows that it invokes an important intellectual transformation, frequently referred to as "learning to think like a lawyer". This process, which forces students to think and talk in radically new and different ways about conflicts, is directed by professors in the course of their lectures and examinations, and conducted via spoken and written language. Beth Mertz's book is the first study to truly delve into that language to reveal the complexities of how this process takes place. Mertz bases her linguistic study on tape recordings from her first year Contracts courses in eight different law schools. She knows how all these schools employ the Socratic method between teacher and student, forcing the student to shift away from moral and emotional terms in thinking about conflict, toward frameworks of legal authority instead. This move away from moral frameworks is key, she says, arguing that it represents an underlying world view at the core not just of law education, but for better or worse, of the entire US legal system - which, while providing a useful source of legitimacy and a means to process conflict, fails to deal systematically with aspects of fairness and social justice. The latter part of her study shows how differences in race and gender makeup among law students and professors can subtly alter this process. Written within the tradition of anthropological lingustics, Mertz's work - the first to study law school in this sort of detail - will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers interested in the intersection of law, language, and society: sociolinguists; anthropologists; feminist, race, and social theorists, and law professors.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199884704
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,340,892
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Mertz is Senior Researcher, American Bar Foundation and Professor of Law, Wisconsin Law School.

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Table of Contents


Notes on Transcription     xvii
Introduction
Entering the World of U.S. Law     3
Law, Language, and the Law School Classroom     12
Study Design, Methodology, and Profile     31
Similarity: legal Epistemology
Learning to Read Like a Lawyer: Text, Context, and Linguistic Ideology     43
Epistemology and Teaching Styles: Different Forms, Same Message     84
On Becoming a Legal Person: Identity and the Social Context of Legal Epistemology     97
Difference: Social Structure in Legal Pedagogy
Professorial Style in Context     141
Student Participation and Social Difference: Race, Gender, Status, and Context in Law School Classes     174
Conclusion: Reading, Talking, and Thinking Like a Lawyer
Legal Language and American Law: Authority, Morality, and Linguistic Ideology     207
Notes     225
Bibliography     279
Index     301
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