Leslie Culver, University of California, Irvine, School of Law; California Western School of Law, has published (Un)Wicked Analytical Frameworks and the Cry for Identity
Heralded as a cultural phenomenon, the musical Wicked — the untold story of the Witches of Oz — transformed the way we view the classical Wizard of Oz. Wicked not only narrated the Wicked Witch’s identity from her perspective, it also provided a revealing reflection on the Good Witch’s identity, her privileged life and superficial rise to popularity. Using Wicked as a contemporary framework, this Article juxtaposes identity discourse with legal writing to broaden law students’ understanding of the depth of legal analysis. Often law students feel the tension between the supposed freedom of a creative legal writing process, and replicating rigid and reductive analytical paradigms, such as IRAC. And inasmuch as the legal academy has recognized IRAC’s inability to generate depth and creativity in legal analysis, law students do not similarly see its shallowness. IRAC’s very presence is a legal writing identity crisis. To cure this wicked ill, this Article models Wicked narration of the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, and tells the untold narrative of the Analytical Framework that undergirds IRAC. This illustrative approach demonstrates how legal analysis can reveal the human experience, bridge cultural gaps, give voice to the voiceless, dismantle power and make the law accessible, particularly for those who exist at the margins. Such transformative power frames the process of legal writing, not as an affront to their authentic identity, but as further development of it. In the end, the audience loved Wicked — not because it outshined the Wizard of Oz — but because Broadway finally shared with the world the identity formation of the “Wicked Witch of the West.” Her name is Elphaba, and she’s not so wicked.The full text is not available for download from SSRN. Curses.