First-year law students’ construction of professional identity through writing

Maclean, Rod 2010, First-year law students’ construction of professional identity through writing, Discourse studies, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 177-194.

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Title First-year law students’ construction of professional identity through writing
Author(s) Maclean, Rod
Journal name Discourse studies
Volume number 12
Issue number 2
Start page 177
End page 194
Total pages 18
Publisher Sage
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2010-04
ISSN 1461-4456
1461-7080
Keyword(s) academic language
legal language
legal education
linguistic identity
social identity
higher education
Summary While there is a considerable body of research on law student identity construction based on interviews and transcripts of classroom talk, there is very little work based on student written texts. In this article two letters of advice written by beginning law students are analysed, using Ivanic and Camps’s (2001) framework, as an example of identity formation. Legal identity is argued to be formed by students’ attempts to accommodate a dynamic, partial, practitioner role of provider of advice to the traditional analytic focus of the law student. The process of accommodation is evident in the language of the letters, which show disfluencies resulting from attempts to combine different roles into a coherent legal identity. Comparison with a professionally written letter suggests that, rather than seeking to shape a coherent position, lawyers are able simultaneously to hold incompatible perspectives, concealing the tensions by foregrounding some perspectives and backgrounding others.
Language eng
Field of Research 190302 Professional Writing
Socio Economic Objective 940502 Professions and Professionalisation
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, The Author(s)
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30028284

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Education
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Created: Mon, 12 Apr 2010, 09:42:21 EST by Rod Maclean

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