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Stetson co-sponsors Second Law and Rhetoric Colloquium


Stetson University College of Law co-sponsored the Second Law and Rhetoric Colloquium on April 11 and 12, hosted by the Communication Studies Department at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. Stetson hosted the first Law and Rhetoric Colloquium last March on its Gulfport campus.

The Law and Rhetoric Colloquium group gathered April 11 and 12.

The Law and Rhetoric Colloquium group gathered April 11 and 12.

Professor of Law Kirsten K. Davis, Ph.D., the director of Stetson’s new Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication, was co-organizer of the event along with University of Alabama Communication Studies Professor Dr. Clark Rountree.

The colloquium followed a public address by well-known contemporary language and interpretation scholar Stanley Fish. Following Fish’s address, which examined the rhetoric of the majority and dissenting opinions in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case on the Second Amendment, D.C. v. Heller, colloquium participants spent a day with Fish discussing competing views of law and rhetoric.

“Stanley Fish is one of the most recognizable public intellectuals of our time,” said Dr. Davis, who teaches and writes about legal rhetoric.  “It was quite an honor to talk with him about the way the language of law operates to persuade. Bringing those kinds of insights about language and persuasion to legal education is central to the mission of Stetson’s new Institute for the Advancement of Legal Communication.”

In addition to teaching courses on legal writing at Stetson, Davis teaches courses addressing law and rhetoric, legal ethics, and the First Amendment. She is the author of several law review articles applying rhetorical theory to legal texts and practices.  Her most recent article, “’The Reports of My Death are Greatly Exaggerated’: Reading and Writing Objective Legal Memoranda in a Mobile Computing Age,” is published in the Oregon Law Review and uses rhetorical theory to consider the rhetoric of advice-giving and legal writing in a high-tech age.

Photo caption: Colloquium participants (seated L-R): Dr. Katie Langford, Texas Tech University, Department of Communication Studies; Dr. Clark Rountree, University of Alabama Huntsville, Department of Communication Arts; Dr. John Lyne, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Communication; (standing L-R): Professor Linda Berger, University of Nevada Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law; Dr. Omar Swartz, University of Colorado Denver, Department of Communication; Dr. Kirsten Davis, Stetson Law; Dr. Jeff Todd, Florida Coastal Law School; Professor Joe Sery, University of San Francisco, Communication Studies; Dr. Katie Rose Guest Pryal, University of North Carolina School of Law; Dean Jay Mootz, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; and Professor Colin Starger, University of Baltimore Law School.