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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

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

Alex Long, Associate ProfessorCollege of Law

Legal writers frequently utilize the lyrics of popular music artists to help advance a particular theme or argument in legal writing. 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. Occasionally, legal writers incorporate the lyrics of popular music into their writing in more creative and effective ways. This presentation explores the ways in which lawyers and judges use pop music lyrics (and in particular, the lyrics of Bob Dylan) in legal scholarship and judicial opinions, and what their choices in terms of the artists cited say about the legal profession.‚Äč

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