Elizabeth Mertz’s book on law school language earns enthusiastic reviews

The Language of Law School:  Learning to Think Like a Lawyer, by University of Wisconsin Law School Professor Elizabeth Mertz, continues to earn strong reviews in diverse publications. The book, published by Oxford University Press in 2007, was the co-winner of the prestigious Herbert Jacob Book Prize from the Law & Society Association and is prominently cited in the recent widely-discussed Carnegie Report on legal education.

Samples of the positive reception of the book in academic journals include:

“Mertz has produced nothing short of a masterpiece in the linguistic anthropology of law and society, one of those rare interdisciplinary efforts that comes along every decade or so.” (The American Anthropologist

“Mertz's unique contribution helps us really hear what the first-year dialogues teach.” (Journal of Legal Education)

“Theoretically sophisticated and empirically rigorous … original and compelling… [a] book whose significance extends well beyond its announced topic.”  (Journal of Linguistic Anthropology)

“Mertz's painstaking research is a model empirical and sociolegal study of language.... offers a smart and sophisticated reading of the classroom transcripts, subtle analyses of what legal discourse does and how.” (Law & Society Review)

“With The Language of Law School, linguistic anthropologist and law professor Elizabeth Mertz has added a significant new piece to the developing linguistic practice literature…The Language of Law School is and will remain significant for several audiences… linguists… legal scholars, …[and] all those interested in power. … But Mertz's work may be most significant, and most unsettling, for those of us in legal education….Whatever the outcome, everyone in legal education owes Mertz a debt of gratitude for showing us just what is going on.”  (Law & Social Inquiry)

The book is also featured on a blog devoted to law student life:  Thriving in Law School http://susannahpollvogt.wordpress.com/.

Mertz's current research examines the experiences of post-tenure law professors in the United States.  She also writes on the issue of translating social science for law, and on family law.  She recently presented on the subject of legal education at the Yes We CarNegie Conference at John Marshall Law School, the Brown University Legal Studies Seminar and the Indiana University New Directions in Law & Society Workshop.  

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