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Legal Writing in Plain English, Second Edition: A Text with Exercises (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) Paperback – August 26, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-0226283937 ISBN-10: 0226283933 Edition: Second Edition

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Legal Writing in Plain English, Second Edition: A Text with Exercises (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) + The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, 3d (American Casebook Series) (English and English Edition)
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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; Second Edition edition (August 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226283933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226283937
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Interspersed with rules of good writing is a revolutionary manifesto packaged in a plain gray wrapper. This book won’t draw attention merely by sitting on your shelf, but if you put certain pieces of its advice in the next legal document you draft, you are sure to raise the eyebrows of any lawyer who reads it.”
(Trial)

“This magnificent book explains every major principle of plain legal writing in a way that no other book has ever done. Based on years of Garner’s research and teaching, this book elevates the standard of what a legal-writing text can and should be. Get a copy for every law student, lawyer, and legislator that you know.”
(Mark E. Wojcik, John Marshall Law School)

"This easy-to-follow guide is useful both as a general course of instruction and as a targeted aid in solving particular legal writing problems."
(Harvard Law Review)

"Garner's work is a significant improvement [over other books] . . . . Those who are willing to approach the book systematically and to complete the exercises will see dramatic improvements in their writing."
(Law Library Journal)

“The importance of improving writing skills . . . is  also the central theme of one of my favourite books of the year: Garner’s Legal Writing in Plain English. Much more exciting than the title suggests, it leads the reader through a series of observations and exercises to develop a simple, clear and elegant writing style. My only regret is that it is written for a US market with corresponding examples. There is surely a need for a UK version, which should routinely be given to all law students, trainees and even some senior partners.”
(Sarah Greer Times Higher Education Textbook Guide (UK))

About the Author

Bryan A. Garner is president of LawProse, Inc., and the Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University. The editor-in-chief of Black’s Law Dictionary, Garner is the author of several best-selling books, including Garner’s Modern American Usage and, with Justice Antonin Scalia, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts and Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I will update you once I'm done reading it.
RODNEY SMITH
In this book, Garner has amassed simple and straightforward way to improve legal in a humorous and easy-to-read book.
Ethan Retan
It is an entertaining and thought provoking read.
Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L Parker on April 2, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've read Garner's stuff, you'll notice some overlap. This book restated "The Winning Brief" multiple times, and it has most of the same examples (Demand Letters, Memos, etc.) as "The Redbook 2d" (I don't have the 3d of that one).

That's the disclaimer. But I still loved the book. It's largely written as a how-to, gives you tips to improve your legal writing, and is a resource that I'll continue to reference throughout my career.

If you'd like a quick read (with accompanying exercises to test your skill) this is a great book to have. Then, when you become more interested, you can nab the Redbook, Legal Usage dictionaries, etc. In sum, it's a great place to start.

One objection, though: Garner's answers in the back often deal with only the Easy exercise, not all three (Easy, Intermediate, Hard). I realize that giving answers to all three would lengthen the book, but the easy one is exactly that--easy. I'd like to see his Heller brief, or any of the harder ones just to compare. But that's only a minor annoyance. Otherwise, it's a real asset if you're interested in improving your legal writing. And you should be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ross on July 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was purchased for a tax research class. It absolutely delivers on its title, more than I even could have imagined. I was immediately impressed by the author's matter-of-fact yet engaging style, and the content is quite useful for non-legal professionals too. If you ever write persuasive letters, articles or blog posts, there are many practical tips in this book. It is an entertaining and thought provoking read. After most sections, I was left scratching my head with a puzzled look on my face. Not questioning the author's ideas, I was instead left wondering why they were not more mainstream, legal and otherwise. I really hope many more people, even those who only occasionally write, read this book!
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Format: Paperback
Legal Writing in Plain English, by Bryan A. Garner, © 2013

This will be a fly-speck on the windowpane of Bryan Garner's life, but he MAY be interested to know that in the amount of prose shown on Amazon's "Look Inside" feature regarding "Legal Writing in Plain English", the word 'had' appears 6 times, of which three are in front of past tense verbs, one irregular -- which forces the irregular past participle -- and two regular, thus:

"An investigator later found that a part of a rubber gasket from the air filter <had gotten> GOT into the carburetor.
"Yet the jury determined that the air-filter housing was defective and that this defect <had caused> CAUSED Henderson's damage.
".. a summary judgment granted to Pilsen Corporation, the plaintiff, which <had only requested> ONLY REQUESTED a partial summary judgment on the discrete issue of fraud."

A 50% error rate on a sample of almost any size indicates that the writer is probably a 'had abuser'.
The word 'had' does not belong in front of past tense verbs -- ever-- however widespread the practice may be (and it's widespread).

Note to careless readers: This is NOT a commentary on Garner's text, but is only commentary on the possibility that the indicated 'had abuse' may be a problem in this text. Caution, on this one point, is advised.

.cheerio.brad.sunday.09november2014.
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By Ethan Retan on July 21, 2014
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I don't think I've ever written an Amazon review before, but this book is simply too good not to contribute to the meager seven reviews it has received.

In this book, Garner has amassed simple and straightforward way to improve legal in a humorous and easy-to-read book. Hardly any of the brief suggestions weren't helpful and his writing is so good that I would actually find myself continuing to digest them long after I intended to stop.

The fact this isn't a foundational text for every 1L entering law school is criminal.
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By Celia Choy on July 10, 2014
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Love this book
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By Jorge on October 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a must read for any student of law, or grammar; Garner's guidance is simple and to the point.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very useful book for anyone interested in written advocacy or contract drafting.
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