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Rhetoric, Referenatial Communication, and the Novice Writer

23 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2012  

Barbara P. Blumenfeld

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 24, 2012


This article discusses the crucial role of audience in rhetorical communication and how the immediacy of audience is lost when communication is written rather than oral. Unlike a speaker, the writer does not benefit from audience feedback during the writing process and thus must learn other methods of anticipating audience reaction to the written work. This is a crucial acknowledgement for students, teachers and practitioners of legal writing; it suggests a need for methods to compensate and to address this less definable referential skill in order to create a fully effective final written product. Studies from other fields explore methods that allow a writer to assume the role of audience and gain insights into the needs of that audience as well as the likely reactions of the audience to the writer’s words during the writing process. Expanding on these techniques, this article includes practical suggestions for enhancing audience awareness and referential skills directed to both the law school setting and to the legal practitioner. The article anticipates that a full integration of audience into the writing process provides more satisfaction for the writer and results in more effective written legal communications.

Suggested Citation

Blumenfeld, Barbara P., Rhetoric, Referenatial Communication, and the Novice Writer (September 24, 2012). Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD, Vol. 9 (2012). Available at SSRN:

Barbara P. Blumenfeld (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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