Saturday, June 4, 2011
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Practicing lawyers and judges recently offered advice about legal writing in a Chicago Lawyer article. Appellate lawyer Joel D. Bertocchi told how he had shifted from language “encrusted with clauses” to a "more direct and lively" style aimed at convincing busy judges. On a similar note, U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow stressed that a brief should “cut to the chase as quickly as possible.” Meanwhile, intellectual property lawyer Donald Mizerk lamented that new lawyers’ writing is less polished today than twenty years ago, partly because tweets and on-screen editing have promoted bad habits.
Hat tip: Ralph Brill
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Almas Khan, at the University of La Verne College of Law has published "A Compendium of Legal Writing Sources", 50 Washburn L. J. 395 (2011). It's not your typical bibliography, it's more of a bibliography of bibliographies. It could be a very good place to start a research project on legal writing.
Here's how the author describes it:
"During my past five years as a legal writing professor, I have endeavored to categorize the burgeoning scholarship on legal writing, compiling a 'master list' with hundreds of legal writing sources organized by topic. Students and other faculty members have often consulted me for assistance with legal writing, and the master list has proven to be an indispensable guide for them.
In this article, I present an edited version of the master list for readers – including academics, practitioners, and students – seeking to improve their legal writing.
"Although the bibliography contains few sources centered on legal writing instruction, the organization of topics in its first half parallels the order of assignments in a typical two or three semester legal writing course, moving from introductory to advanced legal writing texts. I begin by enumerating elementary legal writing texts and sources introducing the study of law, case synthesis and small-scale organization, objective legal memoranda, persuasive writing and appellate advocacy, oral argument, and advanced legal writing. The remainder of the bibliography is devoted to sources discussing legal research, legal writing style, legal citation, law school assistance, academic legal writing, and useful miscellany."
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
A new book by Ross Guberman, president of Legal Writing Pro, is titled Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates. It’s structured around examples and small bites of information rather than lengthier prose, which makes it seem somewhat disjointed. But the examples are rich: drawn from motions and briefs by fifty outstanding lawyers, including David Boies, Barack Obama, Ted Olson, and John Roberts, they illustrate topics such as “Show, Not Tell” and “Zingers: Colorful Verbs.” Guberman suggests that readers use the book as a reference to look up particular problems—or simply read it in sequence. With either approach, the book is likely to furnish legal writing professors with some pithy examples.
Monday, May 30, 2011