Document Type


Publication Date



Volume 18 of Legal Communication & Rhetoric: JALWD introduces the theme of author as travel guide who can transport their reader to new places. Lisa Eichhorn’s article, “Tonal Variation,” introduces the concept of tone, which is defined as the author’s attitude toward the audience. Using this frame, Professor Eichhorn explains how the author can use tone to shape the relationship with the reader. The article examines and contrasts two recent judicial opinions authored by Supreme Court Justices Kagan and Gorsuch. Through these tonal analyses, Professor Eichhorn shows how, even within an opinion, the tone may shift as the opinion moves from one purpose to another. These techniques are subtle but can be powerful and useful for any legal practitioner. Tonal analyses help practitioners better understand judicial opinions and their authors’ judicial personas. Practitioners would also benefit from studying the use of tone in judicial opinions so that they can use the same techniques to create more forceful or persuasive tone in their own writing.


Except as otherwise expressly stated, authors of articles published in the Journal have granted permission for the articles to be reproduced and distributed, in whole or in part, by nonprofit institutions for educational purposes including distribution to students, provided that the copies are distributed at or below cost and identify the Author, the Journal, the volume, the number of the first page, and the year of the article’s publication.