Law Text Culture


This paper shows how first-year university students learn to write and speak the law. We are concerned to make visible the ways in which students begin to acquire the habitus (Bourdieu 1990), the ways of talking and acting and moving, the ways of constructing reality and social relations, which mark them as different from non-law students. Through a case study of one cohort of law students, we examine the institutional and disciplinary contexts in which students come to occupy positions as law students and as potential lawyers. We study two specific contexts of activity: the students' lectures in contract law, and the writing they completed in a unit on 'practical legal skills'. By examining their work early in their first year, we find them dealing with new, distinctively legal, genres, and hence the processes by which they become law students can more easily be made visible.