Law 165 - Persuasion

Eugene Volokh

Eugene Volokh

Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law
B.S. UCLA, 1983
J.D. UCLA, 1992
UCLA Law faculty since 1994
Course Description:

The lawyer’s art is persuasion.  You are going to law school to learn to be better lawyers – which usually means better persuaders, whether persuaders of judges, arbitrators, mediators, juries, opposing counsel, clients, or even legislators and voters.  What do we know about how to persuade people, especially using written arguments (the most common medium lawyers use), as well as oral arguments to judges?  Rhetoricians have studied this for millennia (consider Cicero).  Legal writing specialists (most recently Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner) have written about it for decades.  Experimental psychologists have recently studied it, too.  This class is aimed at introducing you to some of this body of work, and burning one question into your mind, which you should ask yourself when writing and editing every paper, section, paragraph, sentence, and word that you write:  “Is this the most effective way of persuading my reader?”  Warning:  There will be quite a bit of reading assigned for this class (as well as for the rest of your legal career).

Course Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this class, students should be able to more deliberately think through how to construct persuasive oral and written arguments.

Course Information:
​Faculty Term Course Section ​Schedule ​Units Requisite Satisfies SAW
Eugene Volokh 21S 165 LEC 14 F 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM 1.0 No No
  Class will meet on 1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/12, 4/2, 4/16. This course may shift to hybrid instruction (i.e., students have the option of participating in-person or remotely) at some time during the spring semester.
Textbook Information:
Textbook for Spring 2021 LEC 14
Scalia and Garner. Making Your Case: the Art of Persuading Judges     
ISBN: 9780314184719. Thomson/West. REQUIRED $29.95