Designed as a desktop reference for legal writers, the sixth edition of this book adds new entries and updates current entries, provides reference material and guidance on improving one's legal writing, includes a large index with cross-references under each entry, and addresses common questions legal writers have. Covering issues small and large, it offers quick, reliable answers.

New in this edition are entries on specific kinds of writing lawyers must complete, including the following: amicus briefs; pretrial briefs; appellate briefs; reply briefs; scholarly writing; legal recommendations; corporate documents; judicial opinions; PowerPoints; and informative documents, such as fact sheets, white papers, and newsletter articles.


Imprint: West Academic Publishing
Series: Coursebook
Publication Date: 05/16/2018

Mary Barnard Ray, University of Wisconsin Law School

Jill J. Ramsfield, University of Hawaii School of Law

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What’s New in the Sixth Edition

  • Over 100 new entries and cross references including
    • usage questions not covered before, such as handling gender terms, using B.C.E. and C.E. , and handling names with titles;
    • real-life issues, such as adjusting to a new writing situation, directing others’ work, adjusting levels of formality, multi-tasking, and maintaining grace under fire;
    • various documents, such as AMICUS BRIEFS, bench briefs, newsletters, multi-sentence issues, scholarly writing, white papers, law review articles, answers to complaints, pre-trial briefs, legislation, judicial opinions, and the variety of corporate documents that are being created;
    • issues related to the electronic age, such as scrubbing electronic documents for security, texting under the table, social media, electronic citations, real-time communications, the limits of spellcheckers, the hazards of using emojis, paperless practice, Powerpoints, and other forms of electronic communications;
    • issues related to the shrinking world, such as international communications, English as a second language, English in international situations, global English, and international legal writing; and
    • guidelines for handling current work pressures, such as ever increasing time pressure, overwhelming sources of information, document security issues, and social media.
  • Expanded content on major topics is now divided into specific entries to make it easier both to see the range of possibilities and to find the specific information needed, including the broader topics of research, reasoning, communication, citation, writing process,
  • Expanded information on oral communication, such as oral presentations, voice, and stance.
  • Updates in grammar entries on how grammar rules have sometimes changed in practice
  • Changes to increase the ease of using the book, including
    • updated format modified to make the good examples clearer and the text easier to read and
    • a reorganized topical index to facilitate teaching from the book and using the book as a text for self-learning.

Learn more about this series.