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Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, Second Edition (University Casebook Series) Paperback – December, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"I plan to recommend Academic Legal Writing to my students, and I recommend it to you too." --

"I'd recommend it to any law student...who want(s) to polish their writing skills." -- Jack M. Balkin, Yale Law Professor

"If you have a law them a copy of Academic Legal Writing." -- FindLaw's Writ, August 22, 2003

About the Author

Eugene Volokh is a Professor of Law at UCLA, where he teaches First Amendment law, copyright law, and firearms regulation policy. Before going into teaching, he clerked for Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski and for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Since 1995, he has published over 45 law review articles and over 80 op-eds in publications such as the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, New Republic, and many others. He is also the author of The First Amendment, a textbook from Foundation Press, and he operates a daily Web log called The Volokh Conspiracy. Before going into law, he wrote over a dozen computer magazine articles about HP 3000 software.

His student article, Freedom of Speech and Workplace Harassment (UCLA L. Rev., 1992), has been cited in over 135 academic works and 10 court cases. A 2002 survey by University of Texas law professor Brian Leiter listed him as the third most-cited professor among those who entered law teaching after 1992 (with 810 citations in law reviews).


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Product Details

  • Series: University Casebook Series
  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Foundation Press; 2nd edition (December 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158778792X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587787928
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Super Cool Amazon Reviewer Bro VINE VOICE on July 18, 2005
Verified Purchase
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 read Elizabeth Fajans and Mary R.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Norman M. Garland on January 13, 2005
Last year I learned that Professor Eugene Volokh, a prolific and superb acamedician and author, had written a book with a blueprint for writing in law school and beyond. My expectation was that the book would be good, but I was awed by just how good it was. Prof. Volokh (pronounced "Volk" I am told) has done an enormous service for academics like myself who struggle to help students and young colleagues to learn the art of writing in the legal domain. That means papers for law school, articles for student publication, and beyond, when a person enters the profession and seeks to enhance his or her name. Now he has a second edition, adding two chaper: one on getting on to law review (a major benefit for law students), and the other advice on how to enter writing competitions.

Let me tell you how much I love this book. I bought ten copies of the first edition and distributed it to some of my students who I thought could benefit from it (although all can). My first choice to give one to was a protege of mine who was my research assistant, a moot court competitor (interscolastic), and a candidate for the law review board at the time. She advised me when I handed her the book, that it was required by all law review candidates--the board of editors run a program at my school and require the text.

Next, I have a colleague who had not been writiing. I gave a copy of the book to him and he seems to have moved on to produce a publishable piece. My wife, who went back to law school to get an LLM degree had to engage in some serious writing. I gave her a copy of the book and she got very high grades on her work and is considering turning one of them into an article.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Crime & Federalism on February 8, 2005
I didn't participate in law review or any other extracurricular activities. Since I didn't want to work for a big firm or a judge, I figured my time would be more rationally allocated by reading books on trial and appellate advocacy. I've read most of F. Lee Bailey's books on how to investigate and try various cases, I've attended several trial skills CLEs, and I've studied the closing arguments of the greats. I've also read just about everything by Bryan A. Garner.

Thus, going into my last semester of law school, I knew a lot about persuasive and analytical writing, but almost nothing about scholarly writing. I had avoided "paper classes."

Unfortunately, my desire to take a certain class was outweighed by my aversion to academic writing: I was in a class where the entire grade would be based on one paper. Thus, I turned to Volokh's Academic Legal Writing.

The date my paper was due severe formatting glitches caused me to lose 4 - 5 pages of text - the guts of one of my "Roman numeral" arguments. I spend several hours fixing the formatting that could have been spent doing final polishing. Although able to fix the footnotes, I never recovered that lost text.

Nevertheless, I earned the second-highest grade, missing the top score by only 2 points. In earning this grade I bested several law review editors, and many of the top 10 students.

Had I not read and employed the principles in Academic Legal Writing, I am confident I would not have done so well.

One principle I learned was to demonstrate to the reader early in the paper why the paper is necessary. The best way to do this is to show that your paper picks up where another article left off, or that your paper covers an issue previously ignored.
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