Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

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sk08
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Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby sk08 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:10 am

I am a 0L and it looks like my last few months at my job will be spent writing an expert report. I'd like to use this opportunity as practice for writing I will be doing next year and am looking for any suggestions of books that would help me transition into legal writing (argument structure, style, etc. rather than sourcing/bluebook). Thanks!

Locke N. Lawded
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby Locke N. Lawded » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:26 am

I would caution you not to try to get ahead of the game and teach yourself legal writing. Law schools all have different formats that they teach, and different legal writing instructors have different approaches. In my experience, each of the three legal writing profs I had each had different expectations and emphasized different things so that we students essentially had to relearn everything anew each semester.

Just enjoy the time you spend not being a law student...the pain of legal writing will come soon enough.

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studebaker07
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby studebaker07 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:34 am

[quote="Locke N. Lawded"]Each of the three legal writing profs I had each had different expectations and emphasized different things so that we students essentially had to relearn everything anew each semester.

+1

Each of my teachers was very very specific on what they wanted. For instance, one teacher really emphasized the IRAC or CREAC method and hated when we used parentheticals or footnotes. Another teacher I had, contrary to my first LRW professor, was not so anal about IRAC but LOVED when we used parentheticals or footnotes.

Clearly, standards are not the same across different schools either. The best you can do is simply wait until school starts and you are in the midst of writing your first memo. That would be the most beneficial option.
Last edited by studebaker07 on Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mbw
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby mbw » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:35 am

sk08 wrote:I am a 0L and it looks like my last few months at my job will be spent writing an expert report. I'd like to use this opportunity as practice for writing I will be doing next year and am looking for any suggestions of books that would help me transition into legal writing (argument structure, style, etc. rather than sourcing/bluebook). Thanks!


Frankly, if you know your school uses the bluebook, I think one of the most useful things you could do, rather than reading about argument structure, et al., is learn citation basics. Totally mind-numbing and boring, but your life will be so much easier if you don't have to spend the hours before your writing comp note is due, thumbing through the bluebook to figure out if you put another period outside the parenthetical if you have one inside as well.

Read a style manual as well.

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Kiersten1985
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby Kiersten1985 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:37 am

I've heard Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning is supposed to help give you an intro to legal writing.

Locke N. Lawded
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby Locke N. Lawded » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:39 am

Kiersten1985 wrote:I've heard Delaney's Learning Legal Reasoning is supposed to help give you an intro to legal writing.


Strunk & White's Elements of Style is a good book to have around, especially if your prof is into using the active voice.

And it's probably not a bad idea to try to learn Blue Booking...it does take awhile to get the hang of it.

creatinganalt
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby creatinganalt » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:39 am

mbw wrote:
sk08 wrote:I am a 0L and it looks like my last few months at my job will be spent writing an expert report. I'd like to use this opportunity as practice for writing I will be doing next year and am looking for any suggestions of books that would help me transition into legal writing (argument structure, style, etc. rather than sourcing/bluebook). Thanks!


Frankly, if you know your school uses the bluebook, I think one of the most useful things you could do, rather than reading about argument structure, et al., is learn citation basics. Totally mind-numbing and boring, but your life will be so much easier if you don't have to spend the hours before your writing comp note is due, thumbing through the bluebook to figure out if you put another period outside the parenthetical if you have one inside as well.

Read a style manual as well.


Is is worth getting the online version and the book or just the book?

sk08
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby sk08 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:44 am

Like I said, this is for work, so I figured I should use the opportunity to incorporate general legal style writing into an extensive, non-graded report. If anything, it's to make this task more enjoyable during the summer than to "get ahead."

mbw - what do you mean by "style manual"?

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legalese_retard
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby legalese_retard » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:55 am

Bryan Garner is viewed as the "authority" on legal writing style. He is the author of Black's Law Dictionary and recently co-authored a legal writing book with Scalia. I recommend Legal Writing in Plain English. I linked his website, but you can probably find some of his books used at a law school bookstore or on ebay.

http://lawprose.org/bryan_garner/books.php

sk08
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby sk08 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 12:06 pm

legalese_retard wrote:Bryan Garner is viewed as the "authority" on legal writing style. He is the author of Black's Law Dictionary and recently co-authored a legal writing book with Scalia. I recommend Legal Writing in Plain English. I linked his website, but you can probably find some of his books used at a law school bookstore or on ebay.

http://lawprose.org/bryan_garner/books.php


thanks!

rynabrius
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby rynabrius » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:55 pm

Try Eugene Volokh's "Academic Legal Writing." I found the portions relating to getting on to law review very helpful.

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Matthies
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby Matthies » Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:58 pm

The Redbook a Manul on Legal Style is a great style book to have, and you can use it to brush up on stuff before and in school.

06072010
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby 06072010 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:05 pm

rynabrius wrote:Try Eugene Volokh's "Academic Legal Writing." I found the portions relating to getting on to law review very helpful.


+1

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wiseowl
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby wiseowl » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:11 pm

the only book i found helpful this year was Garner and Scalia's book.

other than that, legal writing is so prof-specific that it's pointless.

06072010
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby 06072010 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:13 pm

wiseowl wrote:the only book i found helpful this year was Garner and Scalia's book.

other than that, legal writing is so prof-specific that it's pointless.


That good? I've been thinking of grabbing it.

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wiseowl
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby wiseowl » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:14 pm

PKSebben wrote:
wiseowl wrote:the only book i found helpful this year was Garner and Scalia's book.

other than that, legal writing is so prof-specific that it's pointless.


That good? I've been thinking of grabbing it.


it helped for moot court and briefs more than memos, but overall i thought it was the best, and better than our assigned textbook.

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david?
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby david? » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:26 pm

wiseowl wrote:
PKSebben wrote:
wiseowl wrote:the only book i found helpful this year was Garner and Scalia's book.

other than that, legal writing is so prof-specific that it's pointless.


That good? I've been thinking of grabbing it.


it helped for moot court and briefs more than memos, but overall i thought it was the best, and better than our assigned textbook.


Wiseowl- which book are you refering to....Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges? that is the only one i can find with both Scalia and Garner...

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wiseowl
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby wiseowl » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:32 pm

david? wrote:
wiseowl wrote:
PKSebben wrote:
wiseowl wrote:the only book i found helpful this year was Garner and Scalia's book.

other than that, legal writing is so prof-specific that it's pointless.


That good? I've been thinking of grabbing it.


it helped for moot court and briefs more than memos, but overall i thought it was the best, and better than our assigned textbook.


Wiseowl- which book are you refering to....Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges? that is the only one i can find with both Scalia and Garner...


yes, that one. so general memo writing isn't really covered in it, but appellate briefs and oral arguments are covered very well, as is syllogistic reasoning in general.

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david?
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby david? » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:37 pm

Thanks Wiseowl-


anybody have any thoughts on Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises suggested by sk08?

Is that book going to fall into the category of beign useless due to the prof-specific nature of legal writing classes?

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DelDad
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby DelDad » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:45 pm

+1 to Making Your Case, Scalia and Garner.

Garner's On Language and Writing and The Winning Brief are also good (the latter more for when/if you find yourself writing briefs regularly, rather than just starting out in your legal writing class). Haven't read Legal Writing in Plain English, but that sounds like is about sums up Garner's philosophy.

Also, see suggestions here:
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legalwriting/2009/03/the-three-best-books-about-writing-are-they-on-your-shelf.html

solidsnake
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Re: Suggested Reading on Legal Writing

Postby solidsnake » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:25 pm

I like Neumann's Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing: Structure, Strategy, and Style.

Probably useless for 0L prep; but once you know what you're doing via 1L immersion, this book is gold.




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