brushing up on your writing as a 0l

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minnie7
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brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby minnie7 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:19 am

I've always considered myself just an average writer and haven't written an essay in 2years. I'd definitely like to brush up on basic grammar structure, shit you learn in English 100, while at the same time learning basic legal writing skills that will prepare me for the type of writing needed in law school. Same with learning to write briefs and persuasive essays, to hopefully be competitive for law review. Any suggestions on books I can read?

traynorsbizarro
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby traynorsbizarro » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:23 am

purchase tcq greatest hits. play on repeat. profit.

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reformed calvinist
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby reformed calvinist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:25 am

Depends if you're talking about your writing qua writing or the realpolitik of professor likes and dislikes. For the latter, so much is going to depend on reading into your legal writing professor's peculiarities that there's not much you can do. For the former, Bryan Garner's book on legal writing is pretty good. Good writing is good writing (and flexibility).

LOLyer
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby LOLyer » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:30 am

Doesn't matter, you're legal writing professor will shred your first paper up and down if you try to apply anything you learned about writing in undergrad.

I say don't worry about it until you actually get to class. The best advice I can give: Just pay attention to what your legal writing professor says in class; and visit him/her as often as possible. Class will seem like a waste of time, but the professors are super anal. Even if you think you have a killer paper, bring it to your prof.

(Que 2-3 assholes who are going to disagree and argue with everything I just said just for the hell of it.)

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paulshortys10
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby paulshortys10 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:33 am

reformed calvinist wrote:Depends if you're talking about your writing qua writing or the realpolitik of professor likes and dislikes. For the latter, so much is going to depend on reading into your legal writing professor's peculiarities that there's not much you can do. For the former, Bryan Garner's book on legal writing is pretty good. Good writing is good writing (and flexibility).


I was actually looking at his books!. Any suggestion on which specificallly?

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:34 am

Recommend buying both of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Legal-St ... 0195141628

http://www.amazon.com/Academic-Legal-Wr ... 733&sr=1-1

As for doing well in LRW--being a good writer can help, but following the directions of your LRW professor when it comes to format is really the key.

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reformed calvinist
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby reformed calvinist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:37 am

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Recommend buying both of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Legal-St ... 0195141628

http://www.amazon.com/Academic-Legal-Wr ... 733&sr=1-1

As for doing well in LRW--being a good writer can help, but following the directions of your LRW professor when it comes to format is really the key.


^these

portaprokoss
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby portaprokoss » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:09 pm

I had a weird educational background and had to teach myself, as an adult, how to write intelligibly. I'm not a great writer, but I'm much better than five years ago. My legal writing professor says I'm one of the better writers.

I look to the shelf on my left and count 47 books on writing, usage, syntax, etc. It's hard to find a good writing-from-the-ground-up book. What you don't want is a book targeted at ESL students, a book targeted at grammar nerds, or a book targeted at K-12 students.

Here's my recommended course of study:

#1

If you need work at the sentence level (How should I order these words?), the best is Grammar by Diagram by Cindy L. Vitto (http://www.broadviewpress.com/product.p ... =61&page=2) and the workbook (http://www.broadviewpress.com/product.p ... =61&page=2). It's a college-level grammar course that starts with the very basics and moves toward the complexities.

If you need work at the meta-level (How should I order these ideas?), the best is an out-of-print book: An American Rhetoric, 5th Edition, by William W. Watt. It's a meatier version of The Elements of Style.

#2

In addition to one or both of those, you need to get a usage guide and keep it in your bathroom. Everyday when you're doing you business, you can get down to the business of improving your usage. There are many good books on usage. Take the following quiz to determine which one fits your personality:

Do you read the New York Times? If so, The Careful Writer by Bernstein
Do you want your daughter to be a child prodigy? If so, read Modern American Usage by Wilson Follett
Can you see yourself with a pipe & smoking jacket? If so, Fowler's Modern Usage, 2nd edition
Did you enjoy women's studies? If so, Fowler's Modern English Usage, revised edition w /Burchfield
Are you from Texas and frequently wear a sports coat? If so, Garner's Modern American Usage
Are you a hipster? If so, read A New Self-Teaching course in Practical English and Effective Speech by The Better-Speech Institute of America.

(Hint: The first three are entertaining; the next two are bitchy; the last one is weird)

#3

Finally, reading in your free time will make you a better writer: novels, history, top-notch magazines, anything that's well written.

#4

If you're a poor writer looking to write a good exam, Delaney's How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams will be better fit than Getting to Maybe. But you should read both before you take your first set of exams. Delaney's before school starts and Getting to Maybe during your fall break.

#5

If you need help with "lawyerly" writing, Plain English for Lawyers by Wydick is a good introduction. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English is where you should go after Wydick. Volokh's Academic Legal Writing is where you should go after Garner.

-Good Luck

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Gail
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby Gail » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:44 pm

I read Elements of Legal Writing (or was it style?) by Garner.

It's pretty decent. Definitely helpful to be reminded that flowery wording is a oneway ticket to pain.

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DCDuck
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby DCDuck » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:20 pm

Read Strunk and White, Elements of Style and the NYT and/or The Economist. Heck, maybe even browse some famous modern opinions (Chief Justice Roberts is a great writer). That would also help you get used to reading cases. Basically, reading good writing is a great way to improve your own writing styles.

Also practice writing in short sentences, less than 25 words, always. That becomes a difficult skill, especially when writing about complex legal theories; however, if you can explain complex concepts in short sentences, it almost always makes the concept clearer to the reader. This is one of the easiest ways that you can improve the clarity of your legal writing.

clone22
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby clone22 » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:29 pm

Being a "good writer" doesn't really correlate with being a good legal writer. Just talk to your LRW professor/ TA's a lot and figure out what they want. It's not about being an objectively good writer, it's about tailoring your writing to what they want. Also just pay attention to your citations. You honestly shouldn't worry about it before school begins, you'll be fine and you'll be better off if you learn from the start what your professors want instead of teaching yourself something else and then struggling to relearn how to do legal writing.

honestly 0L prep is shit. grades depend on how well you tailor your assignments/tests to what your prof wants, and you won't know that until you step foot in your classroom.

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cinephile
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby cinephile » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:00 pm

I guess you could read the bluebook. But it'll be pretty subjective and it's the professor's style that matters.

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reformed calvinist
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby reformed calvinist » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:15 pm

cinephile wrote:I guess you could read the bluebook. But it'll be pretty subjective and it's the professor's style that matters.


Lol don't do this

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cinephile
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby cinephile » Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:48 pm

^ What, you mean you don't read the BB for fun?

bruss
Posts: 470
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby bruss » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:01 pm

portaprokoss wrote:I had a weird educational background and had to teach myself, as an adult, how to write intelligibly. I'm not a great writer, but I'm much better than five years ago. My legal writing professor says I'm one of the better writers.

I look to the shelf on my left and count 47 books on writing, usage, syntax, etc. It's hard to find a good writing-from-the-ground-up book. What you don't want is a book targeted at ESL students, a book targeted at grammar nerds, or a book targeted at K-12 students.

Here's my recommended course of study:

#1

If you need work at the sentence level (How should I order these words?), the best is Grammar by Diagram by Cindy L. Vitto (http://www.broadviewpress.com/product.p ... =61&page=2) and the workbook (http://www.broadviewpress.com/product.p ... =61&page=2). It's a college-level grammar course that starts with the very basics and moves toward the complexities.

If you need work at the meta-level (How should I order these ideas?), the best is an out-of-print book: An American Rhetoric, 5th Edition, by William W. Watt. It's a meatier version of The Elements of Style.

#2

In addition to one or both of those, you need to get a usage guide and keep it in your bathroom. Everyday when you're doing you business, you can get down to the business of improving your usage. There are many good books on usage. Take the following quiz to determine which one fits your personality:

Do you read the New York Times? If so, The Careful Writer by Bernstein
Do you want your daughter to be a child prodigy? If so, read Modern American Usage by Wilson Follett
Can you see yourself with a pipe & smoking jacket? If so, Fowler's Modern Usage, 2nd edition
Did you enjoy women's studies? If so, Fowler's Modern English Usage, revised edition w /Burchfield
Are you from Texas and frequently wear a sports coat? If so, Garner's Modern American Usage
Are you a hipster? If so, read A New Self-Teaching course in Practical English and Effective Speech by The Better-Speech Institute of America.

(Hint: The first three are entertaining; the next two are bitchy; the last one is weird)

#3

Finally, reading in your free time will make you a better writer: novels, history, top-notch magazines, anything that's well written.

#4

If you're a poor writer looking to write a good exam, Delaney's How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams will be better fit than Getting to Maybe. But you should read both before you take your first set of exams. Delaney's before school starts and Getting to Maybe during your fall break.

#5

If you need help with "lawyerly" writing, Plain English for Lawyers by Wydick is a good introduction. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English is where you should go after Wydick. Volokh's Academic Legal Writing is where you should go after Garner.

-Good Luck


Nice write up. Will be taking a look at the these.

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Ded Precedent
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby Ded Precedent » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:50 pm

Richie Tenenbaum wrote:Recommend buying both of these:

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Legal-St ... 0195141628

http://www.amazon.com/Academic-Legal-Wr ... 733&sr=1-1

As for doing well in LRW--being a good writer can help, but following the directions of your LRW professor when it comes to format is really the key.

Should these be read as an 0L or after a few weeks of legal writing courses?

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LawSuccess
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Re: brushing up on your writing as a 0l

Postby LawSuccess » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:06 pm

I was just wondering the same thing. Thanks so much for the suggestions. I'll be purchasing these soon.




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