The Language of Law School: Learning to "Think like a Lawyer"

By Elizabeth Mertz | Go to book overview
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Part I

1. Langdell, preface, vi.

2. Heath, Ways with Words, 367–368.

Chapter 1

1. Zemans and Rosenblum, Public Profession.

2. The impetus for much of this research developed from Michael Silverstein's seminal work on metapragmatics, linguistic ideology, and the place of pragmatics in the social realization of language structure. See Silverstein, "Shifters," 11–55; Silverstein, "Language Structure," 193–247; see also the set of essays on this subject in Schieffelin et al., Language Ideologies.

3. To avoid excessive use of so-called scare quotation marks, I have generally limited their use to the first introduction of phrases, such as "think like a lawyer." When used in this way, the quotation marks indicate one of several ideas that I hope readers will keep in mind during subsequent uses of such phrases. First, these initial scare quotes will frequently be used to indicate folk terminology: that is, phrases or words used within the culture I am studying (here, the U.S. legal profession and academy). Words like "think" in this context are to be read as an indigenous category that we are unpacking through linguistic and cultural analysis, rather than terms to be taken at face value. I want the reader to understand that I maintain a similar analytic distance regarding the legal academy's indigenous caste system that divides law schools into "elite," "local," and so forth—as well as toward terms such as "other" or "minority," terms that have long been problematized within fields like anthropology. Second, quotation marks may index the first use of a term that has a particular, more technical meaning in this book than in common usage (for example, "double edge"). Quotes may also signal terms used figuratively or metaphorically, or terms directly quoted from the writings or speech of others (or both, as for example when I say that scholars have written of law "on the books" and law "in action").


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