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Effective Lawyering takes a unique approach to legal writing and oral advocacy. Many excellent legal writing books exhaustively detail how to write effectively. Those books — which are written primarily for first-year law students and are often several hundred pages long — meticulously explain the dos and don'ts of effective advocacy and provide numerous exercises for students to complete. Effective Lawyering, which can serve as a useful supplement to these lengthy introductory texts, takes a different approach. The book assumes the reader has learned the basics of legal writing, and at most needs only to be reminded about them. The book also assumes that most practitioners (and, for that matter, law students) lack the time to read lengthy discussions of all the subtleties of legal method.
Effective Lawyering concisely describes useful, yet often neglected, writing techniques. The book has pithy discussions of:
(1) ways to avoid recurring, yet frequently overlooked, writing problems;
(2) sensible approaches to writing common legal documents (trial court and appellate briefs, memoranda, letter writing, and academic writing); and
(3) methods for preparing an oral argument.
In addition, it provides the reader with a series of checklists to turn to when undertaking a writing project or preparing for oral argument. In sum, this book is not for the novice who requires a comprehensive guide. Nor is it for the sophisticated writing expert, looking for nuanced discussions about esoteric topics not commonly covered in legal writing books. But it is for practitioners and law students who want to be refreshed on the basics of effective lawyering: fundamentals that they most likely learned in the first year of law school, but perhaps have forgotten.
While maintaining the same structure, tone, and approach of the original edition, the Second Edition of Effective Lawyering provides expanded coverage and more detailed information in every chapter, as well as revised checklists at the end of each chapter.