Levels of Metaphor in Persuasive Legal Writing

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The role of metaphor in the law has been a hot topic among legal scholars in recent years In fact recent scholarly works on metaphor in the law and the more general works on metaphor that have served as their basis have addressed the topic from the standpoints of numerous disciplines including linguistics philosophy rhetoric cognitive psychology and literary theory Because of these vastly different approaches to the topic however much of the literature on metaphor in the law is difficult to reconcile Moreover while these scholarly works have increased lawyers appreciation and understanding of the prevalence and power of metaphor in legal discourse the absence of some type of organizational scheme has made it difficult for legal advocates to harness this power so that it can be used in their everyday practicesThis article then has two primary goals First this article attempts to reconcile some of the approaches to the topic of metaphor and the law by identifying four levels of metaphor operating in legal analysis and writing The second and more practical goal of this article is to analyze the specific implications of these four levels of metaphor on the practice of persuasive legal writing While most of the recent scholarship on metaphor has made it clear that metaphors are more than mere rhetorical or literary devices these works do not diminish the importance of metaphor to legal rhetoricians To the contrary the more the legal profession learns about metaphors the more opportunities exist for legal advocates to develop rhetorical strategies around them Thus while this Article acknowledges that metaphors are more than rhetorical devices it nevertheless demonstrates that metaphors more than ever can and do serve as the basis for numerous rhetorical strategies

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