Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter undertakes an ideological rhetorical analysis of several key provisions of Chapters 3 and 4 of the American Bar Association’s Standards for Approval of Law Schools, specifically, the interrelated provisions that regulate the curriculum and specify the required conditions of employment for the faculty of a law school. The analysis of selected ABA Standards regulating curricula and faculty supports rhetorical analyst Sonja Foss’s conclusion that the “dominant ideology controls what participants see as natural or obvious by establishing the norm. . . . [and] provides a sense that things are the way they have to be as it asserts that its meanings are the real, natural ones.” Like feminist and other critical theories, ideological rhetorical criticism aims to uncouple connections and uncover embedded structures of authority. This is accomplished by examining what we assume to be or implicitly accept as necessary connections between and among the rhetorical elements and various systems and networks of beliefs. Equally important, by illustrating how ideological commitments shape our ability to listen to and respond to others, the rhetorical critic hopes to foster more productive conversations about the future.

Publication Citation

Linda L. Berger, When Less is More: An Ideological Rhetorical Analysis of Selected ABA Standards on Curricula and Faculty, in The Doctrine/Skills Divide: Legal Education's Self-Inflicted Wound (Linda H. Edwards ed., Carolina Academic Press 2017).