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Bret Rappaport

Bret Rappaport

Lecturer in English



Practicing Attorney
Professional Writing


Writing and the law; Cognitive bias and writing; Constitutional law; Conservation and native plant landscaping; Backpacking.


B.S. Finance, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1983
J.D. John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, 1986
M.S. Writing, Rhetoric & Discourse, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, 2011

Courses Taught

English 111: Professional Writing

CWR 100: College Writing


Rappaport, Bret, “As Natural Landscaping Takes Root, We Must Weed Out Bad Laws – How Natural Landscaping and Leopold’s Land Ethic Collide with Unenlightened Weed Laws and What Must Be Done About It,” 26 J. Marshall L. Rev. 865 (1993) (publication reprinted on the USEPA website).

Rappaport, Bret & Reibman, Rick, “Limited Liability Companies and the Bankruptcy Code, Taxes,” Taxes, October 1996, pp. 617-620.

Rappaport, Bret, “Unlocking Corporate Horns When Litigants are the Corporation and its Officers or Directors,” 12 CBA Record 20 (1998).

Rappaport, Bret, “Time for the Wooden Shoe: Legal Research in the Computer Age,” 13 CBA Record,” 50 (1999).

Rappaport, Bret & Green, Joanie, “Calvinball Cannot be played on this Court: The Sanctity of Auction Procedures in Bankruptcy,” 11 J. Bankr. L. & Prac. 189 (2002).

Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission Sourcebook on Natural Landscaping for Local Officials, chapter by B. Rappaport (2004).

Rappaport, Bret, “Shot Across the Bow: The Art and Science of a Demand Letter,” 5 J. ALWD. 32 (Fall, 2008).

Rappaport, Bret, “Tapping the Human Adaptive Origins of Storytelling by Requiring Legal Writing Students to Read a Novel in Order to Appreciate How Character, Setting, Plot, Theme and Tone (CSPTT) are as Important as IRAC,” 25 Thomas Cooley L. Rev. 267 (2009).

Rappaport, Bret, “Using the Ancient Intrinsic Musilanguage Elements of Rhythm, Flow and Tone to Create a More Effective and Persuasive Acoustic Experience in Legal Writing,” Journal of Legal Writing Institute, Vol. 16, p. 65, 2010. (portions reprinted in Edward, Readings in Persuasion; Briefs that Changed the World, Aspen, (2012)).

Rappaport, Bret, “A Lawyer’s Hidden Persuader: Genre Bias and How It Shapes Legal Texts by Constraining Writers’ Choices and Influencing Readers’ Perceptions,” Brooklyn Journal of Law & Policy, Vol. 21, No. 1, (2014).

Rappaport, Bret, “Darwinian Ceremonies: Is the Rhetoric of Praise and Blame Adaptive?” 2(1) The Evolutionary Review (SUNY, 2011).

Book Review, “Adaptive Rhetoric: Evolution, Culture and the Art of Persuasion,” BA Rappaport, 1(1) Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, 261-264 (2017)

Rappaport, Bret, “Talk less: Eloquent Silence in the Rhetoric of Lawyering,” 67 J. Legal Educ. 286 (2017).

Book Review, “The Expressive Power of Law: Theories and Limits,” BA Rappaport, 2(1) Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, 125-126 (2018).

Rappaport, Bret, “'Smile More': Kindling for Kindness in the Practice of Law,” 44 Law & Psychol. Rev. 171 (2020).

Literature Review, “Bork, Kerrigan, ‘An Evolutionary Theory of Administrative Law’, BA Rappaport, 5.1 Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture, (2021) (upcoming).

Invited Talks

Keynote, Annual Conference Shaw Arboretum, Missouri Native Plant Society, St. Louis, Missouri (1998).

Keynote, Annual Conference, Florida Native Plant Society, Palm Coast, Florida (1999).

Presenter, Building with Trees Conference, Arbor Day Foundation, Lincoln, Nebraska (1999).

Presenter, Employment Law Conference, Chicago, Illinois 2003-2007.

Keynote, Bay Friendly Landscaping Conference, Berkeley, California (2008).

Keynote, Korth Conservation Series, Grand Rapids, Michigan (2009).

Presenter, DePaul University School of Education Conference on Innovative Teaching Methods, Chicago, Illinois (2009).

Presenter, Designing Your Home Grounds for Sustainability, Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut (2011).

Presenter, Canadian Rhetoric Society, Evolutionary Rhetoric, Saint Thomas University, Frederickton, New Brunswick, Canada (2011).

Presenter, Cognitive Bias and the Law, Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, New York (2012).

Presenter, Symposium for Part-time, Adjunct, and Contingent Educators (SPACE), Atlanta, Georgia (2019).

Popular Works

Prairie Crossing, Chicagoland Gardening (Summer, 1995)

Clarissa’s Prairie, Wildflower Magazine (Autumn, 1998)

The Truth about Weed Laws (with Andy Wasowski), American Gardener (May/June 1998)

Prevent Violence in Your Family Business, Family Business Magazine (October 2007)

Time to Rethink Natural Landscaping: Rewilding Your Yard, The Blazing Star (Summer, 2015)

Awards and Honors

Staff Editor, John Marshall Law Review 1982-1983.

Lawyer of the Year, Constitutional Rights Foundation, Chicago, Illinois (1992).

Lifetime Conservation Award, Canadian Wildflower Society (1998).