Material 2-Law as rhetoric

Material 2-Law as rhetoric - File Galley Berger Article...

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File: Galley Berger Article 6-18-10.docx Created on: 6/18/2010 11:04:00 AM Last Printed: 6/18/2010 11:04:00 AM STUDYING AND TEACHIN G ‚LAW AS RHETORIC‛: A PLACE TO STAND Linda L. Berger The first of these [attacks on rhetoric], the attack from above, argues for a politics of reason whose indisputable truths can only be obscured by the rhetorician s passionate appeals. This is the position that Socrates defends. The second, the attack from belo w, insists that the rhetorician’ s invocation of truth and justice is a sham, a technique for gaining power whose success requires that its practitioners either fail to understand what they are doing or deliberately conceal it. This is the line of attack forcefully pressed by Callicles, . . . . Gorgias stands between these two, between Socrates and Callicles, and the question is, does he have any ground on which to stand? Does the craft of rhetoric have a separate and legitimate place in human life, in between pure reason and pure power? 1 INTRODUCTION As they begin law study, students ‚undergo a lingu istic rup- ture, a change in how they view and use language.‛ 2 The change affects not only their understanding of language use, but also their ideas about how the law works and its place for them. 3 © 2010, Linda L. Berger. All rights reserved. Professor, Mercer University School of Law. Special thanks to Amy Sloan for sharing her materials; to Tom Cobb, Michael Frost, Jay Mootz, Terry Pollman, Jack Sammons, Jessica Slavin, and Karen Sneddon for being ‚good readers‛; to Kevin Hembree for research assis tance; and to Thomas Jefferson School of Law and Mercer University School of Law for supporting the development of the course and the writing of the Article. Most of all, thank you to my students. 1. Anthony T. Kronman, Rhetoric , 67 U. Cin. L. Rev. 677, 691 (1999). 2. Elizabeth Mertz, The Language of Law School: Learning to “Think Like a Lawyer” 22 (Oxford U. Press 2007). 3. Id. (‚As in other forms of language socialization, new conceptions of morality and personhood are subtly intertwined with this shi ft to new uses of language.‛).
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File: Galley Berger Article 6-18-10.docx Created on: 6/18/2010 11:04:00 AM Last Printed: 6/18/2010 11:04:00 AM 4 The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute [Vol. 16 Their ideas are influenced by pervasive legal conversations re- flecting the positions of Socrates and Callicles: the law is all rules or all power. Against these versions of the legal conversation, I propose in this Article to offer law students a rhetorical place to stand, between reason and power. 4 There are two grounds for this proposal: first, introducing students to rhetoric makes it possible for them to envision their role as lawyers as constructive, effective, and imaginative while grounded in law, language, and persuasive rationality.
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