Always Judged - Case Study of an Interview Using Conversation Analysis
Linda F. Smith
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law
June 22, 2009
Clinical Law Review, Vol. 16, p. 423, 2010
NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 09/10 #12
Legal interviews are infrequently recorded and rarely studied. The few empirical studies of actual legal interviews have been primarily critical of the lawyers for being too controlling, eager to impose a solution on the clients, and uninterested in the message the client wants to convey. This article presents a case study of something heretofore unavailable - an experienced, expert attorney conducting a successful initial interview with an actual client. This article uses ethnographic conversation analysis to describe the interview in terms of control of the conversation, interruptions, types of utterances, question form, and expressions of empathy. It relies upon the insights from prior empirical studies and shows why this is an excellent interview - the client not only is heard, but feels understood, rather than "judged," by his lawyer.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 28
Keywords: conversation analysis, sociology, psychology, linguistics, ethnomethodology, interview,
JEL Classification: K40, K49, Z00
Date posted: June 30, 2009 ; Last revised: February 6, 2013
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