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Tips for LIGN 105
There are a few ways to approach this assignment
Option 1: Search for a case that deals with a topic that interests you and then analyze it linguistically.
- All legal arguments use some sort of rhetoric—can you identify the linguistic elements in use?
- For example, look at a famous case
- Or browse by specific legal topic
- In Westlaw - Tools > West Key Number System
Option 2: The most difficult way to approach the assignment is to choose a linguistics concept and then try to find a case that fits to it. However, you can try searching on some of the themes you've discussed in class:
- Ambiguity (extremely broad--add another search term)
- Syntactic ambiguity
- Legal vocabulary
- Legal fictions
- Speech acts
- Illocutionary [classification]
- Contracts (extremely broad--add another search term)
- Infelicitous [speech acts]
Likewise, you can search for cases that use vocabulary often associated with a particular linguistic element, for example:
- "mitigating circumstance"
- "persona ficta"
- "leading questions"
- "consensus ad idem"
Option 3: Find a more recent case that cites a case you've discussed in class, for example:
- Search Westlaw for 3 Wn. App. 53 (this is the citation for Betts v Betts - and make sure the dropdown next to the search button is set to All State & Federal)
- Click the Citing References tab and then choose Cases
- cases with more green bars in the "depth" column discuss points of law in your case more thoroughly