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Always Judged - Case Study of an Interview Using Conversation Analysis

Clinical Law Review, Vol. 16, p. 423, 2010

NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 09/10 #12

28 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009 Last revised: 6 Feb 2013

Linda F. Smith

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: June 22, 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: conversation analysis, sociology, psychology, linguistics, ethnomethodology, interview,

JEL Classification: K40, K49, Z00

Suggested Citation

Smith, Linda F., Always Judged - Case Study of an Interview Using Conversation Analysis (June 22, 2009). Clinical Law Review, Vol. 16, p. 423, 2010; NYLS Clinical Research Institute Paper No. 09/10 #12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1423935

Linda F. Smith (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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