Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-1-2012


Classical rhetoric is integral to teaching legal writing, and this essay argues that its use must be enhanced with audience awareness. This is so rhetoric can be successfully applied to teaching and the practice of legal writing.

This essay begins with a very brief overview of the relationship of rhetoric to legal writing and how audience awareness is a key factor in both. This overview leads to a definition of two distinct tasks that must be incorporated into the writing process: first, learning about and understanding specific audiences; second, learning how to implement writing that works for that audience.

A brief review of the creative process of legal writing is included, demonstrating that for legal writing to be complete it must include both deliberate as well as less-conscious thinking. The less conscious aspects include creating a detailed working image of a specific audience and thus are crucial to the writer’s first task of audience awareness.

Publication Title

Legal Communication & Rhetoric: Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (JALWD)



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