Legal & General Writing Resources: Legal

Updated Dec. 8, 2015.
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 [TOC]
  • Clear and Effective Legal Writing, 4th ed. KF250.C52 2007 [TOC]
  • Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing and Oral Argument. KF250.P37 2007 [TOC]
  • Garner's Dictionary of Modern Legal Usage, 2d ed. KF156.G367 1995. LexisNexis (1st ed.)
  • Garner's Elements of Legal Style, 2d ed. KF250.G37 2002
  • Garner's The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, 2d ed. KF250.G375 2006 [TOC]
  • Guide to Legal Writing Style, 4th ed. KF250.L3913 2007 [TOC]
  • Just Writing: Grammar, Punctuation, and Style for the Legal Writer, 3d ed. KF250 .E57 2009 [TOC]
  • The Lawyer's Editing Manual. KF250.M24 2009 [TOC]
  • The Lawyer's Guide to Writing Well, 2d ed. KF250.G65 2002 [TOC]
  • Legal Writing: A Systematic Approach, 4th ed. KF250.P73 2004 [TOC]
  • Legal Writing and Analysis, 2d ed. KF250.E378 2007 [TOC]
  • Legal Writing by Design: A Guide to Great Briefs and Memos. KF250.R36 2001 [TOC]
  • Legal Writing: Process, Analysis, and Organization, 5th ed. KF250.E39 2010 [TOC]
  • Writing Shorter Legal Documents: Strategies for Faster and Better Editing. KF250.O848 2011 at Classified Stacks


Special Topics

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

Academic Writing

  • Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, 4th ed. KF250.V6 2010
  • Scholarly Writing for Law Students: Seminar Papers, Law Review Notes, and Law Review Competition, 3d ed. KF250.F35 2005
  • Scholarly Writing: Ideas, Examples, and Execution. KF250.C528 2010

Writing for International Students

Legal Writing for International Students: A U.S. Legal Writing Textbook for ESL/ESP Students and Practitioners of Law and Business. KF250.R43 2005

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. KF250.D73 2003 [TOC]
  • Legal Opinions in Business Transactions. Updated annually. KF1425.F53 2006 at Classified Stacks
  • Writing a Legal Memo. KF250.B766 2006 at Classified Stacks


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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