Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Point Made -- How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates

Ross Guberman picked a list of the 50 most influential lawyers in the United States.  He took samples of their writing and placed them into 50 different categories.  And he published it all in a new book that analyzes their writing and gives tips about what makes that writing work.  He called the book Point Made, and it's now available from Oxford University Press, which sent me a review copy.

Ross Guberman is the president of Legal Writing Pro, a company that conducts legal writing workshops for large law firms, corporations, government agencies, and bar associations.  I haven't been to any of his seminars so I cannot tell you how they are, but if you've attended one of them please use our comment box to tell us how it was.  But it's obvious that he takes his work seriously.

So who made his list of the 50 most influential lawyers?  I won't put the whole list here (because then you would have no reason to look up his book), but they include these lawyers, judges, and professors:

  • David Boies
  • Alan Dershowitz
  • Frank Easterbrook
  • Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Justice Elena Kagan
  • Barack Obama
  • Ted Olson
  • Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
  • Paul Smith
  • Kathleen Sullivan
  • Larry Tribe

Mr. Guberman takes excerpts from their writings (and of the others in the book), introduces them in 50 different categories, and then shows us examples of their writing and why he likes what they did.  It's fascinating to see the examples he has chosen and to see how patent lawyers, ACLU lawyers, Kenneth Starr and others use the same writing techniques to produce powerful advocacy.  It's a nicely done book that took quite a bit of work to assemble.

The paperback edition of this book costs only about twenty dollars.  You can click here to order a copy from Oxford University Press if your law library doesn't already have a copy waiting for you.  The ISBN number for the paperback edition is 978-0-19-539487-0.



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