The Language of Law School - BY ELIZABETH MERTZ
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.