Legal & General Writing Resources: Legal Writing

Updated Sept. 13, 2016.
Prepared by Cheryl Nyberg & Nancy McMurrer, with updates by Scott Matheson.

This guide consists of website links and lists of books, most of which are located in the Reference Area on floor L1.

Legal Writing Guides

All of the latest editions of the books listed below are found in the Reference Area, unless another location is given. When available, links to tables of contents [TOC] are provided.

This list is not exhaustive; the Law Library has many other books on legal writing, most under the KF250 call number. For additional titles, search the Law Library catalog with the phrase "legal composition."

Books -- General

Better Legal Writing: 15 Topics for Advanced Legal Writers.
KF250.S347 2005

Clear and Effective Legal Writing (5th ed. 2013).
KF250.C52 2013 [TOC]

Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing and Oral Argument (2d ed. 2012).
KF250.P37 2012

Garner's Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage (3d ed. 2011).
KF156.G367 2011. LexisNexis (1st ed.)

Garner's Elements of Legal Style (2d ed. 2002).
KF250.G37 2002

Garner's The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style (3d ed. 2013).
KF250.G375 2013

Guide to Legal Writing Style (5th ed. 2011).
KF250.L3913 2011 [TOC]

Just Writing: Grammar, Punctuation, and Style for the Legal Writer (3d ed. 2009).
KF250 .E57 2009
Note: A 4th ed., published in 2013, may be available via Summit.

The Lawyer's Editing Manual (2009).
KF250.M24 2009

The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well (3d ed. 2016).
KF250.G65 2016 [TOC]

Legal Writing: A Systematic Approach (5th ed. 2015).
KF250.P73 2015

Legal Writing and Analysis (4th ed. 2015).
KF250.E378 2015 [TOC]

Legal Writing by Design: A Guide to Great Briefs and Memos (2001).
KF250.R36 2001 [TOC]
Note: A 2d ed., published in 2013 may be available via Summit.

Legal Writing: Process, Analysis, and Organization (5th ed. 2010).
KF250.E39 2010 [TOC]

Writing Shorter Legal Documents: Strategies for Faster and Better Editing (2011).
KF250.O848 2011 at Classified Stacks [TOC]

Books -- Special Topics

These books are located in the Reference Area unless another location is indicated.

Academic Writing

Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review (5th ed. 2016).
KF250.V6 2016 [TOC]

Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition (4th ed. 2011).
KF250.F35 2011

Scholarly Writing: Ideas, Examples, and Execution (2d ed. 2012).
KF250.C528 2012

Writing for International Students

Legal Writing in the US: For Students and Practitioners of Law (2d ed. 2011).
KF250.R43 2011

U.S. Legal Reasoning, Writing, and Practice for International Lawyers (2014).
Course Reserve (KF386 .T483 2014)

Opinion Letters & Memos

Note: several of the legal writing guides also contain chapters on writing memos and opinion letters.

Legal Opinion Letters: A Comprehensive Guide to Opinion Letter Practice (3d ed. 2003).
KF250.D73 2003 [TOC]

Legal Opinions in Business Transactions (2d ed. 2006). Updated annually.
Classified Stacks (KF1425.F53 2006)

Writing a Legal Memo (2006).
Classified Stacks (KF250.B766 2006)t


Legal Writing Websites & Blogs

The Legal Writing Institute is a "non-profit organization dedicated to improving legal writing by providing a forum for discussion and scholarship about legal writing, analysis, and research." Holds an annual summer conference. Publishes a journal (Legal Writing), newsletter, conference bibliographies, and a brochure on plagiarism.

The (New) Legal Writer is a blog with a "collection of resources for lawyers who write."

The Legal Writing Prof Blog is written by -- you guessed it! -- legal writing instructors and professors is a blog by the author of Writing for the Legal Audience and Better Legal Writing.

Plain Language Association International, Plain Language and the Law contains articles and links.


Other Legal Writing Resources

See the Gallagher guides on:

Other useful sources:

CALI lessons on legal writing

Law School Plagiarism v. Proper Attribution, a brochure from the Legal Writing Institute.

Brian Garner Interviews, a series of videorecorded interviews with judges and other prominent legal writers.


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