Art-Iculating the Analysis: Systemizing the Decision to Use Visuals as Legal Reasoning

67 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2015 Last revised: 3 Sep 2015

Date Written: July 1, 2015


This Article first assumes that visuals belong and are ethically permitted in legal documents -- something explored by other authors -- and then begins to answer the questions of effective application. The article explores the specific use of analytical visuals, which are those that do not attempt to prove what happened in a legal dispute but rather help explain how the dispute should be resolved under the legal standards. Thus, the included analytical visual, when used effectively, creates a stronger understanding of the abstract legal analysis. The article suggests a taxonomy for categories of analytical visuals. It also acknowledges that many visuals are created for the attorney's own understanding and provides a rubric for attorneys to use when deciding whether to include visuals in the submitted advocacy document.

Keywords: Visuals, graphics,charts, images, photographs, persuasion, rhetoric, briefs, legal writing, legal analysis, lawyering, document design

JEL Classification: K41

Suggested Citation

Johansen, Steven J. and Robbins, Ruth Anne, Art-Iculating the Analysis: Systemizing the Decision to Use Visuals as Legal Reasoning (July 1, 2015). 20 Legal Writing 57 (2015), Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-11, Available at SSRN: or

Steven J. Johansen

Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )

10015 SW Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219
United States
503-768-6637 (Phone)

Ruth Anne Robbins (Contact Author)

Rutgers Law School ( email )

217 N. 5th Street
Camden, NJ NJ 08102
United States
856-225-6456 (Phone)

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