Disruption 101

Journal of the Legal Writing Institute

7 Pages Posted: 4 May 2021

See all articles by Susan McMahon

Susan McMahon

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Sonya G. Bonneau

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: April 29, 2021

Abstract

Injustice is burrowed deep in the law. It lives in the precedents we teach our students to analogize to, in the rules we ask them to apply. It exists in the gaps, in the cases that never mention race but will harm communities of color, in the rules that never mention power, but entrench privileges for some at the expense of others.

This Essay confronts the silence of legal analysis: the reality that law is never neutral, but often appears to be. And it argues that presenting the law without acknowledging this reality perpetuates the neutrality fiction in our classes.

What is the alternative? We have no easy answers. As legal writing professors, we must teach students how to operate within this system; to make them "practice-ready" demands that we do that work.

But at the very least, we can fill the silences. We can unearth the values and biases that underlie the rules. And we can give students the tools to change the system from the inside out. This Essay presents some concrete strategies for achieving those goals.

Suggested Citation

McMahon, Susan and Bonneau, Sonya G., Disruption 101 (April 29, 2021). Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3836707

Susan McMahon (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Sonya G. Bonneau

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

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