Law 165 - Persuasion
J.D. UCLA, 1992
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).
Start thinking consciously about persuasion.