'Is That What We're Here about?': A Lawyer's Use of Impression Management in a Closing Argument at Trial

by P. Hobbs
Discourse & Society ()


Although lawyers’ courtroom language has been the subject of sociolinguistic research, most of this research has focused on the questioning of witnesses; thus few studies have examined the processes by which lawyers’ interpretations of the evidence are presented to the jury. This article illustrates lawyers’ use of impression management in their opening statements and closing arguments to construct a shared identity with jurors, in order to persuade them to affiliate with the lawyer’s point of view. Through the analysis of a segment of a prosecutor’s rebuttal argument in a criminal trial, this article demonstrates how a Black attorney addressing a predominantly Black jury uses the stylistic and rhetorical dimensions of African American vernacular English (AAVE) to construct this shared identity.

Cite this document (BETA)

Readership Statistics

13 Readers on Mendeley
by Discipline
by Academic Status
31% Ph.D. Student
23% Associate Professor
23% Doctoral Student
by Country
15% United States

Sign up today - FREE

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research. Learn more

  • All your research in one place
  • Add and import papers easily
  • Access it anywhere, anytime

Start using Mendeley in seconds!

Sign up & Download

Already have an account? Sign in