In this critically acclaimed book, Tom Goldstein and Jethro K. Lieberman demystify legal writing, outline the causes and consequences of poor writing, and prescribe easy-to-apply remedies to improve it. Reflecting changes in law practice over the past decade, this revised edition includes new sections around communicating digitally, getting to the point, and writing persuasively. It also provides an editing checklist, editing exercises with a suggested revision key, usage notes that address common errors, and reference works to further aid your writing. This straightforward guide is an invaluable tool for practicing lawyers and law students.
PART I: Why Lawyers Write Poorly
1. Does Bad Writing Really Matter?
2. Don’t Make It Like It Was
PART II: The Practice Of Writing
3. Ten Steps to Writing It Down
4. Of Dawdlers and Scrawlers, Pacers and Plungers: Getting Started and Overcoming Blocks
5. The Technology of Getting It Down: From Quill Pens to Computers
6. Lawyers as Publishers: Words Are Your Product
PART III: Getting To The Point
7. Writing Persuasively for Your Audience: Tell Your Audience the Point
8. Writing the Lead
PART IV: Revising For Clarity And Luster
9. Form, Structure, and Organization
10. Wrong Words, Long Sentences, and Other Mister Meaners
11. Revising Your Prose
12. Making Your Writing Memorable
An Editing Checklist
Suggested Revisions to Editing Exercises
About The Authors
Tom Goldstein is Professor of Journalism and Director of the Media Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley.
Jethro K. Lieberman is Martin Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School, where he was the director of its writing program for nearly a quarter century. He is the author or editor of more than twenty-five books, including The Litigious Society.
"Should be in the office of every lawyer."—William Safire, New York Times Magazine
"This advice is sensible and lucidly given, and what is more, the reason for it is explained, so that even a moderately eager reader need not simply memorize but can remember the principle and apply it where needed."—Jacques Barzun, author of From Dawn to Decadence
“This new third edition is a rare achievement. It does the improbable and makes a classic handbook on legal writing even better. Bravo!”—Daniel J. Kornstein, author of Kill All the Lawyers? Shakespeare’s Legal Appeal