Communicating the Law: Lessons from Landmark Legal Cases by Janice  Schuetz
339 pages, $39.95 list
1-57766-476-0
978-1-57766-476-5
Communicating the Law
Lessons from Landmark Legal Cases
A U.S. citizen constructs a car bomb to blow up a federal building. A popular sports figure is accused of domestic abuse and murder. Cities nationwide enact no-smoking laws. The Catholic Church agrees to pay millions of dollars to victims of priests’ sexual abuse. These and other highly publicized, once unthinkable issues and events have been pivotal in America’s legal history and are showcased in this compelling examination of how communication is at the core of legal processes.

Schuetz familiarizes readers first with contemporary and conventional theories of communication (discourse, language, argumentation, narrative, dramatism, and games), and then with fundamental legal principles, procedures, and protocols. Next, through one or more of the communication lenses previously discussed, she examines and analyzes how the communication of attorneys, defendants, witnesses, and judges inside the courtroom and of the media outside the courtroom affect the dynamics and, in some instances, the outcome of nine legal cases. An awareness of such communication perspectives when one observes a trial, reads or sees a media representation of a legal proceeding, or engages in critical analysis of a legal practice or process broadens understanding and fosters the ability to have informed opinions about meaningful social agendas.
Reviews
“A timely and necessary book. It is obviously good for pre-law students, but I think it has broad application for students planning careers in any field with a civic aspect. Students need to have a better understanding of how law happens in this country, and how courts are influenced by rhetoric. This text is a great place to begin that inquiry.” — Christine A. Geyer, Syracuse University

“I have been wishing for a book like this for years. It fills a gap in the legal communication area.” — Lawrence A. Hosman, University of Southern Mississippi

“This book comes at a time when legal issues are in vogue and the media showcase the mystique of this world. The first two chapters do an excellent job of setting the stage both theoretically and practically, citing important information in an accessible manner for undergraduate students. The foundations in Communication Perspectives are especially well done! The Legal Rules chapter helps immensely in framing the moves and language of the law.” — Susan Cook, Metropolitan State College

“This book has the unique quality of embracing my two fields of interest: law and communication. I haven’t found too many books that do that!” — Katrina Hoch, University of California, San Diego
Table of Contents
1. Communication Perspectives
Discourse and Law / Language and Law / Arguments and Law / Narrative and Law / Drama and Law / Games and Law / Lessons

2. Legal Rules: Principles, Procedures, and Protocols
General Legal Principles / Specific Legal Principles / Procedural Rules / Professional Conduct / Protocols / Lessons

3. The Pseudo Civil Case of the Boston Globe v. Archdiocese of Boston
News Coverage and Law / Investigative Reporting / Analysis of the Coverage / Lessons

4. Moral Drama and Games in the Minnesota Tobacco Trial
The Pretrial Morality Play / Pretrial Games / The Minnesota Tobacco Trial / Lessons

5. Narratives and Opening Statements in the McVeigh Trial
Case Background and Media Coverage / Legal Rules and Communication Choices in Opening Statements / Analysis of the Prosecution's Opening Statement / Analysis of the Defense's Opening Statement / Lessons

6. Narratives and Direct Examination in the Hauptmann Trial
Circumstances / Narratives and Direct Examination / Planning Direct Examination / Conducting Direct Examination / Lessons

7. Strategic Games and Cross-Examination in the Sacco-Vanzetti Trial
Controversy / Setting / Games and Cross-Examination / Tactical Moves in Cross-Examination / The Unconventional Cross-Examination of Sacco / Lessons

8. Media Stories, Trial Narratives, and Summations in the Simpson Trial
Case Scenario / Media Narratives / Trial Narratives / Rules of Summations / Summary of the Summations / Analysis of the Summations / Lessons

9. Courtroom Drama and Judicial Conduct in the Chicago Eight Trial
The Political Situation / Standards of Professional Conduct / Drama as Analogue / Burlesque Drama / Lessons

10. The NAACP's Legal Campaign in Brown v. Board of Education
The Legal Campaign of the LDF Attorneys / Trial Narratives in the Consolidated Cases / The Appellate Process / Oral Arguments / Lessons

11. Fictions in the Roe v. Wade Arguments
Social and Legal Context / Exigencies / Legal Arguments and Fictions / Fictions Created at the Trial / Procedures, Protocols, and Fictions in the Appellate Argumentation / The Supreme Court Decision in Roe v. Wade / Lessons