Learning to “Think Like a Lawyer”: This is a study whose genesis dates back to the day I first took my seat in a Contracts classroom as a first-year law student, and that came to fruition as I for the first time taught Contracts to first-year law students. Having participated in both ends of the process has added depth to my understanding of the law school experience.
As a first-year student, I took notes in my Contracts class in two columns; the first kept track of the concepts my professor was endeavoring to impress on us, and the second was a running anthropologist’s commentary on the studies that someone should do to investigate the social and linguistic processes at work in contract law—and in legal reasoning generally.
This work is an initial effort to investigate the distinctive shape of a core U.S. legal worldview, empirically grounded in the study of the language through which law students are trained to this new approach..
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Contents of Learning to “Think Like a Lawyer”:
Notes on Transcription xvii
1. Entering the World of U.S. Law 3
2. Law, Language, and the Law School Classroom 12
3. Study Design, Methodology, and Profile 31
II SIMILARITY: LEGAL EPISTEMOLOGY
4. Learning to Read Like a Lawyer: Text, Context,
and Linguistic Ideology 43
5. Epistemology and Teaching Styles:
Different Forms, Same Message 84
6. On Becoming a Legal Person: Identity and the Social Context
of Legal Epistemology 97
III DIFFERENCE: SOCIAL STRUCTURE IN LEGAL PEDAGOGY
7. Professorial Style in Context 141
8. Student Participation and Social Difference: Race, Gender,
Status, and Context in Law School Classes 174
IV CONCLUSION: READING, TALKING, AND THINKING
LIKE A LAWYER
9. Legal Language and American Law: Authority, Morality,
and Linguistic Ideology 207
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