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Former clerk to the Supreme Court and Professor at UCLA Eugene Volokh has given a remarkable gift to the legal community that would be a bargain at twice the price. It delivers pragmatic and thoughtful advice in a remarkably clear and lucid style. Moreover, it is not simply clear for law books--frankly, a low bar to pass--Volokh writes for the ordinary public daily on his eponymous blog (where you can read the first chapter of this book), and the skills required for that task manifest themselves in this work.
Academic Legal Writing is also extremely systematic. Every aspect of the paper is taken into consideration, from the approach to research, to avoiding off-putting humor or politically charged language, time tables for submissions, and so on, even including how to draft letters to professors and law reviews asking them to look over your work and to consider it for publication.
Academic Legal Writing is really in a class by itself. That said, perhaps I can indicate its greatness by invoking a few other names. Academic Legal Writing is a perfect companion volume to Bryan Gardner's The Elements of Legal Style. It is as clear and concise and accessible as Marvin Chirelstein's Concepts and Case Analysis in the Law of Contracts, and it deserves to be as ubiquitous and is certainly as valuable, thoughtful, and comprehensive as Joseph Glannon's E&E Civil Procedure and Erwin Chemerinsky's Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies. If you know these books, you should be going "wow." If you don't, and you are going to law school, I advise reading all of them. (Also Getting to Maybe, which I never found compelling, but am in the distinct minority view on.)
I bought this primarily for a law-review write-on competition, figured I would shell out the cash since it's pretty much the only book on that exact topic or at least the only heavily recommended one. Wow, was it worth it! Besides the wonderful chapter on how to plan out your law review write-on and what to write about, along with specific advice for writing in a casenote format, the entire book was full of general writing advice. I may use the rest of it when I have a paper class, or for writing my law review note. (P.s. I did end up getting onto law review even though the competition was tougher than most years and I usually only got perfectly median grades in lega writing classes. Sure, I think putting a lot of hours into it helped as well, but knowing what the heck I was doing was exceedingly helpful and helped me make sure those hours were well spent.)
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If you are writing a journal article it seems that it would be a ton of help. I bought it to write a legal research paper for a seminar class and there's only about 4 pages that deal directly with seminar papers so it's a little frustrating. Maybe my class is not the normal law school seminar but most of the thigns in the book didn't seem to apply to my paper but maybe it will help for future writings.
Just like the title, this book is a great guide to "Academic Legal Writing." Step by step, the author takes you through the process of writing a publishable legal article. Every aspect is covered: from how to form a thesis to how to publicize and publish your finished product. Every law review student should read this book while writing his or her student Note.
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