New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

Document Type



Harvard Latino Law Review, Vol. 14, p. 156, 2011


This Article illustrates, through sociolinguistic analysis, how an adjudicator’s biases against certain narrative styles can influence his or her assessments of credibility, treatment of parties, and decision-making in the administrative law setting. Poverty lawyers have long observed that many claimants in the administrative state continue to face procedural and discursive obstacles. Applying insights from a growing field of inter-disciplinary research, including conversation analysis, linguistics, and cognitive studies, this Article builds upon those observations by more precisely exploring through a case study of an unemployment insurance benefits hearing how structural and narrative biases can work to deny an applicant due process and exacerbate unequal power dynamics.

Date of Authorship for this Version



narrative, due process, administrative, poverty, cognitive studies, inter-disciplinary, unemployment benefits, Harvard Latino Law Review, interdisciplinary, conversation analysis, linguistics, ALJ, New York University, clinical, lucie white, sunday shoes