Defeasible deductions?

I’ve written an article that discusses the use of argumentation schemes in law, with a focus on the argumentation scheme for legal analogy. A common problem for 1L students in my experience, though, is that they apply “rule-based reasoning”—based on the deductive syllogism—a little too confidently in the beginning of their training. So for the article, I recast the deductive syllogism as a defeasible argumentation scheme.[1] I offered that argumentation scheme tentatively, as it is not the focus of the article. But now, I’d like to firm it up a little (perhaps before this article is published, but certainly before Read More …

LWI 2018: Sessions on empirical study of legal communication

The schedule for the Legal Writing Institute 2018 biennial conference in Milwaukee, July 11 — July 14, is published (version as of June 27), and it looks terrific, with a great focus on pedagogy and pedagogical research in the field! This blog post is about a subset of the sessions, those devoted to empirical study of legal communication.  In that category, I include any study that systematically examines some class of legal communication outside the law-school context (so, not including classroom and pedagogical research). I’m excited to see scholars pursuing such projects. I’ve made the argument in the past that Read More …

Early history of classical rhetoric

On June 14, the Classical Rhetoric & Contemporary Law group discussed Gorgias’s Encomium of Helen from the perspective of contemporary law, but many of us were new to the text, and so we spent a considerable amount of time just getting familiar with it. We may report later as a group on our discussions and efforts. But first I want to provide background pieces to function as a roadmap to classical rhetoric, Gorgias, this text, and other classical texts for members of the group and for others interested in classical forensic rhetoric and its intersections with contemporary practice and pedagogy. Read More …

‘Irreparable harm’ and legal arguments by analogy and example

I’m excited! My proposal for the 8th ISSA Conference on Argumentation in Amsterdam in July 2014 has been accepted. Of course, I still have plenty of work to do to get ready! Here’s my abstract: This paper presents the results of a pilot empirical study of written legal arguments and oral reports of authors’ cognition to explore the following research questions: Do American lawyers perceive differences between arguments by analogy and arguments by example, and if so, how are those differences represented in their argumentative writing? Scott Brewer (1996), Lloyd Wienreb (2005; 2007), and Richard Posner (2006) engaged in a Read More …