Document Type

Working Paper

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analysis of practioner legal writing, creation of legal identity, first year law writing, identity and authority in legal writing, learning legal professionalism, legal identity, legal profession and writing, legal professional discourse, legal professionalism, legal texts, text and legal identity


The authors conduct an analysis of a number of first year and practitioner legal writing texts in order to examine whether and how these texts focus on the development of a legal identity, in particular, through creation of a personal, professional, or discoursal voice. The question of creation of a legal identity is significant, in part, because of the increased focus on teaching and learning professionalism and professional behaviors, both within law schools and in practice. The authors conclude that there is a limited focus within the texts on the identity work inherent in learning to write with authority under conditions of uncertainty. The social practice of writing tends to be under-emphasized.