This book argues that legal persuasion results from making and breaking mental connections. To support this argument, it follows a cognitive science roadmap while the authors road test the directions through rhetorical analysis. By taking a rhetorical approach to persuasion, the authors are able to integrate research from cognitive science with classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, and then to apply both to the taking apart and the putting together of effective legal arguments. The combination of rhetorical analysis and cognitive science yields a new way of seeing and understanding legal persuasion, one that promises theoretical and practical gains. The work has three main functions. First, it brings together the leading models of persuasion from cognitive science and rhetorical theory, blurring boundaries and leverage connections between the often-separate spheres of science and rhetoric. Second, it illustrates this persuasive synthesis by working through concrete examples of persuasion from real-life legal contexts. In this way, the book demonstrates the advantages of a deeper and more nuanced understanding of persuasion. Third, the volume assesses and explains why, how, and when certain persuasive methods and techniques are more effective than others. The book is designed to appeal to scholars in law, rhetoric, persuasion science, and psychology; to students learning the practice of law; and to judges and practicing lawyers who engage in persuasion.
Linda L. Berger is Family Found’n Professor of Law at University of Nevada Las Vegas, Boyd School of Law. She has helped develop the field of applied legal rhetoric and has published widely in this and related areas. Kathryn M. Stanchi is Professor of Law at Temple University Beasley School of Law. She is recognized as the leading scholar to bring persuasion science into the literature of legal persuasion. She has published and lectured extensively on this and related topics.