Expert Legal Writing

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University of Texas Press, May 28, 2010 - Law - 212 pages
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For ten years, Terri LeClercq's "Legal Writing" column in the Texas Bar Journal has helped polish the prose of lawyers and law students, judges and clerks, paralegals, writing instructors, and legal secretaries. This book collects all the advice she has given in her columns into one authoritative guide for expert legal writing. LeClercq covers everything a legal writer needs to know, from the mechanics of grammar and punctuation to the finer points of style, organization, and clarity of meaning. With her practical, readable, and often humorous advice, those who prepare legal documents can rid their prose of mind-numbing "legalese" and write with the clarity and precision that characterize the very best legal writing.

 

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Contents

Writing like a Lawyer
14
Writings a Touchy Subject
16
Focus on Density
22
Attorneys and Writers Block
26
Minding the Field Appellate Judges Speak Out
34
The Long Sentence
41
LeftHanded Sentence
48
Marshmallow Constructions
51
Quick Tricks for Organization
114
Jargon Manure Margarine and Moderation
119
Boilerplate Empty Formalisms
124
GenderNeutral Language
127
Thats Not What I Meant
134
Allowing Commas to Create Meaning
147
Sentence Punctuation Guide
153
Quotation Marks? She Queried or The Arbitrary Rules Surrounding Quotation Marks
156

Cases and Citations Within the Text
55
Coordination and Subordination Defining Relationships
60
Examining Other Professional Prose
67
Emulating the Pros Prose Stylistic Consciousness
72
Deliberate Sentence Structure
79
Beware of Ambiguous Modifiers
86
Organization and the Deductive Thrust
95
Organizational Advice for Successful Drafting
107
That Sophisticated Semicolon
162
Compound Adjectives and Noun Strings
166
Testing Your Basics
173
Grammar Rules Versus Suggestions
177
Advice to Partners About Advice
183
Reference Books for Legal Writers
190
Index
197
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