Brian N. Larson

Associate Professor of Law

Brian Larson

“Writing is the lens through which lawyers focus their legal knowledge.”

Get to Know Brian Larson

What drew you to the law?

I’m obsessed with words, with language. After getting an undergraduate degree in theoretical linguistics, I was drawn to the law because it is the place where language becomes power. I wanted to wield that power. Later, I went to graduate school to study rhetoric, to learn how the power of language works.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

Watching students develop in my classes and then seeing how they develop on their own after they leave law school has been the most rewarding part of my teaching career.

What do you hope students gain from your courses?

Students should have two strong senses: (1) that writing about legal problems is a way of learning about them—to paraphrase Robert Scott, writing is epistemic; (2) that there is a complex variety of audiences to whom lawyers communicate, and there are many ways of reaching them.

What did you do prior to entering academia?

I founded—and for 13 years, led—a small law firm with a national practice focused on technology in the residential real estate industry, where my work consisted principally of intellectual property, e-commerce, databases, web branding issues, and rule-making for online communities.

What are you passionate about outside of the law?

The deadly sin of which I am most guilty is gluttony, which reflects the fact that I love to cook and eat. I’m hungry, too, for the enrichment that other cultures provide, and so my spouse and I travel internationally frequently.

What are your research interests?

I study rhetoric and argumentation, especially in legal and professional communication. I focus on rhetorical and argumentation theory in context and practice, using text-analytic, computational, and cognitive methods. Other research interests include the law of online contracts and empirical research methods.

Presentations

Presentations are listed on my CV.

Expertise

  • Legal rhetoric and communication
  • Law and rhetoric of the American flag
  • Argumentation theory
  • Online contracts
  • Writing studies, especially empirical research methods
  • Natural language processing and law
  • Pedagogy of professional and technical communication
  • Research ethics
  • Communication theory, pragmatics, and philosophy of language​

Courses

  • Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing

Academic Experience

  • Associate Professor of Law
    Texas A&M University School of Law (2017 - present)
  • Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Technical Communication
    Georgia Institute of Technology (2015-2017)
  • Adjunct Instructor
    University of Minnesota Law School (2004-2010, 2013-2015)
  • Graduate Instructor
    University of Minnesota, Writing Studies Department (2010-2015)

Education

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication, minor in cognitive science, University of Minnesota (2010-2015)
  • J.D., summa cum laude, Mitchell Hamline School of Law (then William Mitchell College of Law) (1996-2000)
  • B.A., linguistics and Scandinavian studies, with distinction, University of Wisconsin—Madison (1983-1988)