Friday, July 13, 2007

recommended reading -- on recommended writing

Sarah Ricks, at Rutgers-Camden, and Jane Istvan, at the City of Philadelphia Law Department, have written an article on Effective Brief Writing Despite High Volume Practice: Ten Misconceptions that Result in Bad Briefs, 38 University of Toledo Law Review 1113 (2007). You can download the full text gratis by clicking here, scrolling down, and then clicking again.

As they explain in their abstract, "[t]his article can help lawyers (and law students) avoid ten of the most common ways to write a bad brief.

"There is an art to writing effective briefs and each brief is different. But many ineffective briefs contain the same mistakes, regardless of the brief's subject matter or the brief's intended judicial audience. Many recurring brief writing errors may be caused by the demands of a high volume law practice, which allow little time for the brief writer to achieve the critical distance from the document necessary to edit and revise effectively.

"Lawyers can avoid committing many common brief writing errors if they are more able to put themselves in the place of their intended readers, the busy judge and the often inexperienced law clerk. Understanding recurring brief writing misconceptions and errors can assist lawyers in assessing the effectiveness of a brief from the perspective of the intended reader."


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