Discourse Community Analysis

explanatory Essay
1891 words
1891 words

Discourse Community of Law: Appeals Brief
In his article “The Concept of Discourse Community,” John Swales describes a discourse community as a group of people that “have a broadly agreed set of common goals, contain certain mechanisms of intercommunication among its members, have acquired a specific lexis, and have a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content discoursal expertise” (Swales #). An example of such a discourse community is the legal profession. The legal profession has the common goal of understanding and applying general principles to particular factual situations. In doing so, lawyers use language, concepts, and methods that are unique to their community. In order to become a recognized member of the legal community, a person must graduate from law school and pass the bar exam thereby demonstrating an in depth knowledge concerning all areas of the law and the specialized rules, methods, and jargon used by lawyers to communicate about legal principles.
Although the legal profession is a single discourse community, it is made up of many smaller discourse communities. This is so because while all lawyers share the same broad goals of the legal profession and have a general knowledge and expertise in all areas of the law, most lawyers after graduating from law school and passing the bar exam specialize in a particular area of law. This specialization requires the lawyer to go beyond the broad concepts of law as a whole and to become knowledgeable and proficient in the sometimes minute details of a more specific area of law. Even then, some lawyers will go even further to focus on one aspect or another of that particular area of law. This results in most lawyers being members of many even smal...

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...onfidently but without appearing argumentative or petty. The argument must be based on thorough legal research and a full understanding of the legal issues and the facts of the case must be set out concisely and persuasively but also respectfully.
After analyzing the discourse community of law and the detailed process lawyers take in order to write an effective appeals brief, one can see that lawyers have a very specific and unique way of communicating that includes certain jargon unfamiliar and possibly incomprehensible to the general public. Although writing an appeal brief is only one aspect of many that government prosecuting attorneys such as Kenny Elser face in their jobs on a daily basis, it is also a very necessary job because not only is it used by a single discourse community in the law profession but utilized by the discourse community of law as a whole.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the cover page of a brief identifies the appellant and the government as the appellee.
  • Explains that the brief must be in black ink on light, opaque and unglazed paper. the cover must comply with the following rules: the case number centered at the top of the page, the court name, and the title.
  • Explains that the attorney for the government must follow rule 28 of the federal rules of appellate procedure.
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