Legal Writing in Plain English, Second Edition A Text with Exercises

ISBN-10: 0226283933

ISBN-13: 9780226283937

Edition: 2nd 2013

Authors: Bryan A. Garner

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Admirably clear, concise, down-to-earth, and powerful—all too often, legal writing embodies none of these qualities. Its reputation for obscurity and needless legalese is widespread. Since 2001 Bryan A. Garner’sLegal Writing in Plain Englishhas helped address this problem by providing lawyers, judges, paralegals, law students, and legal scholars with sound advice and practical tools for improving their written work. Now the leading guide to clear writing in the field, this indispensable volume encourages legal writers to challenge conventions and offers valuable insights into the writing process that will appeal to other professionals: how to organize ideas, create and refine prose, and improve editing skills.            Accessible and witty,Legal Writing in Plain Englishdraws on real-life writing samples that Garner has gathered through decades of teaching experience. Trenchant advice covers all types of legal materials, from analytical and persuasive writing to legal drafting, and the book’s principles are reinforced by sets of basic, intermediate, and advanced exercises in each section.            In this new edition, Garner preserves the successful structure of the original while adjusting the content to make it even more classroom-friendly. He includes case examples from the past decade and addresses the widespread use of legal documents in electronic formats. His book remains the standard guide for producing the jargon-free language that clients demand and courts reward.  Praise for Bryan A. Garner “Bryan Garner structures his judgments very carefully to avoid . . . elitism and anality. . . . Bryan Garner is a genius.”—David Foster Wallace
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Book details

List price: $20.00
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 8/26/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 6.50" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

Bryan A. Garner is president of LawProse, Inc., and Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University. The editor-in-chief of Black's Law Dictionary, Garner is the author of several best-selling books, including Garner's Modern American Usage and, with Justice Antonin Scalia, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts and Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.

Principles for All Legal Writing
Framing Your Thoughts
Have something to say-and think it through
For maximal efficiency, plan your writing projects. Try nonlinear outlining
Order your material in a logical sequence. Present facts chronologically. Keep related material together
Divide the document into sections, and sections into subparts as needed. Use informative headings
Phrasing Your Sentences
Omit needless words
Keep your average sentence length to about 20 words
Keep the subject, the verb, and the object together toward the beginning of the sentence
Use parallel phrasing for parallel ideas
Prefer the active voice over the passive
Avoid multiple negatives
End sentences emphatically
Choosing Your Words
Learn to detest simplifiable jargon
Use strong, precise verbs. Minimize is, are, was, and were
Simplify wordy phrases. Watch out for of
Turn -ion words into verbs when you can
Avoid doublets and triplets
Refer to people and companies by name. Never use corresponding terms ending in -ee and -or
Don't habitually use parenthetical shorthand names. Use them only when you really need them
Shim newfangled acronyms
Make everything you write speakable
Principles Mainly for Analytical and Persuasive Writing
Plan all three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end
Use the "deep issue" to spill the beans on the first page
Summarize. Don't overparticularize
Introduce each paragraph with a topic sentence
Bridge between paragraphs
Vary the length of your paragraphs, but generally keep them short
Provide signposts along the way
Unclutter the text by moving citations into footnotes
Weave quotations deftly into your narrative
Be forthright in dealing with counterarguments
Principles Mainly for Legal Drafting
Draft for an ordinary reader, not for a mythical judge who might someday review the document
Organize provisions in order of descending importance
Minimize definitions and cross-references. If you have more than just a few definitions, put them in a schedule at the end-not at the beginning
Break down enumerations into parallel provisions. Put every list of subparts at the end of the sentence-never at the beginning or in the middle
Delete every shall
Don't use provisos
Replace and/or wherever it appears
Prefer the singular over the plural
Prefer numerals, not words, to denote amounts. Avoid word-numeral doublets
If you don't understand a form provision-or don't understand why it should be included in your document-try diligently to gain that understanding. If you still can't understand it, cut it
Principles of Document Design
Use a readable typeface
Create ample white space-and use it meaningfully
Highlight ideas with attention-getters such as bullets
Don't use all capitals, and avoid initial capitals
For a long document, make a table of contents
Methods for Continued Improvement
Embrace constructive criticism
Edit yourself systematically
Learn how to find reliable answers to questions of grammar and usage
Habitually gauge your own readerly likes and dislikes, as well as those of other readers
Remember that good writing makes the reader's job easy; bad writing makes it hard
How to Punctuate
Four Model Documents
Research Memorandum
Appellate Brief
Key to Basic Exercises
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