Want to improve your legal writing? If so, you may want to consider reading: Point Made, How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates, by Ross Guberman.
The book’s product description on Amazon states in part:
With Point Made, legal writing expert Ross Guberman throws a life preserver to attorneys, who are under more pressure than ever to produce compelling prose. What is the strongest opening for a motion or brief? How to draft winning headings? How to tell a persuasive story when the record is dry and dense? The answers are "more science than art," says Guberman, who has analyzed stellar arguments by distinguished attorneys to develop step-by-step instructions for achieving the results you want.
The author takes an empirical approach, drawing heavily on the writings of the nation’s 50 most influential lawyers, including Barack Obama, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Ted Olson, and David Boies. Their strategies, demystified and broken down into specific, learnable techniques, become a detailed writing guide full of practical models.
I found this book interesting. The examples from briefs written by legal heavyweights like John Roberts show that not only is it ok to depart from traditional, wordy "legalese" writing, it is preferred. For instance, the book encourages lawyers to consider streamlining information with tables and bullet point lists.
I have been using tables in my briefs for the last few months since reading this suggestion. I find it helpful for compressing a lot of information onto one page. I think lawyers will see a lot more of this and other similar techniques in the coming years with heavy use of the internet making everyone—including judges—speed skimmers.
Books on legal writing are a bit like eating spinach. Or in Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jess Dickinson’s case, peas. They may not be that exciting, but they are good for us. Point Made has a list price of under $20 and sell for much less on Amazon. The book is a real bargain and worth reading for litigators who are always looking to improve their game.