Abrams's Effective Legal Writing: A Guide for Students and Practitioners, 2d

West Academic Publishing
Primary Subject
Legal Writing
Publication Date
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“The English language knows only two types of writing—good writing and bad writing. Good legal writing is good writing about a legal subject.” From this core proposition, this compact book provides lessons ideal for 1L Legal Research and Writing courses, upper class writing courses, and lawyers who wish to continue professional development. Leading judges and lawyers deliver many of the lessons.

An early chapter covers the foundations of good legal writing, beginning with avid reading as well as professional commitment to the client’s interests. Also covered are such foundations as identifying the intended audience, scheduling, outlining, orienting readers, and maintaining civility and professionalism.

Later chapters concern researching, writing, editing, and dismantling barriers to effective writing. Topics include the consequences of inadequate research; the four fundamentals of good legal writing (conciseness, precision, simplicity, and clarity); and the roles of reason and passion in persuasive writing. Chapters on editing and proofreading stress the writer’s need to restrain pride of authorship that would stiffen resistance to constructive pre-publication input. Chapters also treat three major barriers – misused jargon, acronyms, and footnotes.

Chapters on versatility describe how lawyers, if their personal and professional circumstances permit, can fulfill professional responsibility and achieve personal satisfaction by writing in such diverse forums as newspaper editorial pages, law reviews, bar association journals, and blogs.