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Better Legal Writing: 15 Topics for Advanced Legal Writers Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Wm. S. Hein & Co.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0837737036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0837737034
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,073,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Wayne Schiess directs the David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law. He has been teaching legal writing at UT Law for 21 years. Here's how he got there.

Wayne grew up in a small town in Idaho and attended a small high school that offered no Advanced Placement courses. When he arrived at college, his roommate was surprised that Wayne was taking freshman English. "Didn't you take A.P. English?" the roommate asked. "What's A.P.?" Wayne replied.

This wasn't auspicious for a future writing teacher, but despite this lack of early opportunities, Wayne eventually discovered that he liked writing and writing clearly. He came to value clear writing through the influence of his mother, who returned to college to finish her English degree when Wayne was 17. That's right, his mother was an English teacher, although by the time she finished her bachelor's and master's degrees and began teaching freshman English at Boise State University, Wayne was away, finishing college.

Wayne attended Cornell University School of Law and took a job in the Dallas office of Baker Botts, where he tried a transactional practice and later did some bankruptcy work. Mostly, he wrote a lot of memos. In 1992, he was lucky enough to land a job teaching legal writing at UT Law, and he's been there ever since. He now devotes himself in a nerdy, mildly obsessed, and always enthusiastic way to legal writing and nothing but. (Professionally speaking, of course. In his personal life he is devoted to his wife and children.)

At UT Law he teaches analytical legal writing, persuasive legal writing, legal drafting, and plain English. He's a frequent seminar speaker and has published dozens of articles on practical legal-writing skills, plus four books:

* Writing for the Legal Audience (2003, with a second edition coming in 2014)
* Preparing Legal Documents Nonlawyers Can Read and Understand (2008)
* The Legal Memo: A Basic Guide (2008)
* Better Legal Writing (2005)

His blog at was named one of the ABA Journal Blawg 100 in 2007, and he writes a monthly column on legal writing for Austin Lawyer magazine. In 2010, his work on the Texas Pattern Jury Charges was recognized by the Center for Plain Language, and in 2012 he was selected as the UT Law Legal Writing Teacher of the Year.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Randall Christison on January 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
. Prof. Schiess has written a fine book, one systematically treating the writing problems facing a lawyer. I found the most useful chapter one entitled "Better legal analysis." So far as I have found, his is the only useful treatment of this fundamental lawyer's skill. Also highly useful are his chapters, "Better persuasion," "Better legal drafting," and "Ethical legal writing."

. More than worth the money. If you are a lawyer who writes, which I think is every lawyer who breathes, use this book. A tremendous amount of knowledge put into a 224-page book.

. Maybe if law schools took Prof Schiess's advice and treated law school writing as a serious discipline, we wouldn't need this book or Bryan Garner's or the many other books urging lawyers to write better. But until then, buy this book.
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