[Insert Song Lyrics Here]: The Uses and Misuses of Popular Music Lyrics In Legal Writing

40 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2006  

Alex B. Long

University of Tennessee College of Law

Abstract

Legal writers frequently utilize the lyrics of popular music artists to help advance a particular theme or argument in legal writing. And if the music we listen to says something about us as individuals, then the music we, the legal profession as a whole, write about may something about who we are as a profession. A study of citations to popular artists in law journals reveals that, not surprisingly, Bob Dylan is the most popular artist in legal scholarship. The list of names of the other artists rounding out the Top Ten essentially reads like a Who's Who of baby boomer favorites. Often, attorneys use the lyrics of popular music in fairly predictable ways in their writing, sometimes with adverse impact on the persuasiveness of the argument they are advancing. However, if one digs deeper, one can find numerous instances in which legal writers incorporate the lyrics of popular music into their writing in more creative ways.

Suggested Citation

Long, Alex B., [Insert Song Lyrics Here]: The Uses and Misuses of Popular Music Lyrics In Legal Writing. Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 64, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=937392

Alex B. Long (Contact Author)

University of Tennessee College of Law ( email )

1505 West Cumberland Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37996
United States

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