This article explains how, from 1920 to 1960, the role, or persona, of the law professor in the United States remained the situs of considerable rhetorical controversy that the role had been in the fifty years before 1920. On one hand, lawyers used rhetoric to promote a persona, that of a scholar, appropriate for the law professor situated within the university, a context suitable for the professionalization of law. On the other hand, different lawyers like Judge Jerome Frank used rhetoric to critique, often in a scathing manner, the scholar persona and put forth their own persona, that of a practitioner, as a more appropriate model for legal education. To develop the argument, the article draws upon rhetorical theory and presents persona theory and persona analysis as a means of conducting this study. Next, the article considers the then-established persona of the law professor as scholar and in turn the alternative persona of the law professor as practitioner. For this study, the term lawyers refers to practicing lawyers and judges as well as academic lawyers. Given that, to this day, law paradoxically remains a program of academic study within the university that purports to prepare students for practical careers, the insights from the rhetorics between 1920 and 1960 remain important to understanding present-day legal education.
Carlo A. Pedrioli, Critiquing Modern-Day U.S. Legal Education with Rhetoric: Frank's Plea and the Scholar Model of the Law Professor Persona, 83 MISS. L.J. 1049 (2014)