What is a good book on Legal Writing

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SoCal Japorean
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What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby SoCal Japorean » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:11 pm

Most schools require 1 year of Legal Writing Class. I have no experience in Legal Writing whatsoever. I'm good at self study and I was wondering if there was a good book about the subject. I know that substantively, it will not help a lot, but I wanted a good overview so I won't be too shocked in class. Any suggestions?

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cookiejar1
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby cookiejar1 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 9:21 am

http://www.amazon.com/Volokhs-Academic- ... 1599417502 for law review write on if your school has one

sprezz
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby sprezz » Tue Mar 31, 2015 7:54 pm

volokh [in above post] is great for tips on academic writing; has some quality excerpts to dissect for a self-learner. and much of its content could also be applied to legal writing of the sort you'd produce if practicing law. but it sounds like you're looking for something to serve as a preview for an actual LRW course (am I right?). if so, there are a few good resources that are specifically geared to this more 'practical' writing:

i wouldn't really recommend getting one of the "LRW textbooks" (neumann, shapo, oates, etc) because if you're taking an LRW class, you'll use what they tell you to use, which might conflict in subtle ways with the others.

the strongest recommendation i would make, if you can get your hands on it, is richard neumann's 1988 essay "The Structure of Proof". neumann has written LRW-ish books, and i'm sure they're good, but they're still books. this esssay is like 8 pages long and it would be great as either a primer for an LRW course or something to read after completing one to situate what you learned and modify how much of it you take with you. i couldn't pull up a copy on google but i'll try to remember where i found it.

but there are a lot of other good resources out there. if you can't find neumann, i'd probably turn to garner, because some of his books fit better as complements to LRW (but still give you some helpful background of what the hell you'll be doing before you touch anything LRW-related). his "Elements of Legal Style" is a great reference to keep around if you'll be doing a lot of legal writing once you get the basics down, but its chapter 3 alone provides a similar primer for an LRW class and comes with several examples for many of his points. he also has "The Winning Brief", but it's much more narrowly tailored and you'd have to wade through the whole book to find scattered nuggets of wisdom that would be of any help to a novice legal writer.

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BmoreOrLess
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby BmoreOrLess » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:17 pm

I haven't found the Winning Brief to be very helpful, especially if your prof is anal about how [s]he wants the brief presented.

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KD35
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby KD35 » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:02 pm

BmoreOrLess wrote:I haven't found the Winning Brief to be very helpful, especially if your prof is anal about how [s]he wants the brief presented.


But if the author is merely trying to have an understanding of what legal writing can look like, it still is a useful book because it gives a sense of structure and what can be emphasized in Legal Writing. I think the book is a must-have, and I think there is a clear reason that a large number of chambers, firms, etc. have multiple copies of the book.

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BmoreOrLess
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby BmoreOrLess » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:29 pm

Oh I think it would be super useful if I was actually writing a brief in real life. I just see a ton of spots where I know for a fact it would get me in trouble with my LRW professor (because god forbid we do something other that what he wants). I just find it to be more of a practitioners book rather than a law student's book. Elements of legal style is generally pretty killer though.

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sesto elemento
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby sesto elemento » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:33 pm

OP I'm assuming you're an 0L.
Just enjoy your summer.

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BmoreOrLess
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Re: What is a good book on Legal Writing

Postby BmoreOrLess » Wed Apr 01, 2015 1:01 am

0L? I'd definitely stay away from any book that tells you how to write memos/briefs. Fear not, your prof will give you more practice than you'd ever want.




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