Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Contemporary Legal Praxis: NLJ Symposium

Classical Rhetoric as a Lens for Contemporary Legal Praxis is a symposium of the Nevada Law Journal on September 26 & 27, 2019. Lori Johnson, associate professor of law at the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Susan Provenzano, William Trumbull Professor of Practice at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, are the chairs/organizers of the conference. They are also pleased to announce a workshop to follow the symposium on September 28. The workshop seeks proposals from scholars with works in progress (WIPs) that explore the intersections of classical rhetoric (broadly defined) and contemporary law. All events are at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

More information about the symposium and a registration link are here:

Workshop work-in-progress (WIP) proposals are due by July 15, 2019, and the organizers will notify accepted WIPs by August 1, 2019. Drafts of WIPs are due by September 13, 2019. If you want your WIP to be considered for the workshop, please e-mail and attach an abstract of no more than one page describing your WIP. Please include a title or working title. Especially welcome will be proposals relating to work that may be suitable for either or both of the following edited collections:

  • Law and Rhetoric: A Critical Reader (Eds. Kirsten K. Davis, Brian N. Larson, Francis J. Mootz III, and Kristen K. Tiscione). This volume will have 12-14 chapters, each of which provides an overview of a rhetorical theorist, an excerpt of the theorist’s work, an excerpt of a contemporary legal text (judicial opinion, transcript of oral argument, brief, etc.), and a critical essay that demonstrates how the rhetorical text helps to illuminate the legal text. The theme of the volume is the extent to which classical (broadly construed) rhetorical texts can provide a method and vocabulary for understanding modern legal materials. The volume should be a resource for scholars of rhetoric and legal theorists, by bringing key texts together in a single volume that includes critical commentary. This will be an important contribution to the literature of law and rhetoric rather than a textbook, but the volume will be accessible to students enrolled in a graduate rhetoric course or an advanced legal writing or jurisprudence course. The volume will begin with the Presocratics and their attention to persuasion, and will end with Vico, who lamented the disregard of the classical rhetorical tradition after the Cartesian revolution. The legal texts will be contemporary materials.
  • Intersections: Classical Rhetoric & Contemporary Law (Eds. Robert Gaines and Brian Larson). This volume seeks more overtly theoretical discussions of intersections between contemporary law and ancient rhetoric (broadly construed as in the reader project). The key requirement is that papers find an intersection between a primary rhetorical text from the period and some facet of contemporary legal practice. The connection must be legible to both disciplines, law and rhetoric. Profs. Gaines and I are willing to help scholars find partners to achieve necessary breadth; e.g., a rhetoric scholar may wish to speak to a legal scholar or vice versa. These consultations might end there, or they  may result in co-authorship opportunities.

The workshop is a great place to get intensive feedback on your WIP.

With questions, you may reach out to me via email or on Twitter @rhetoricked, or for specific questions about the workshop, to .


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