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Plain English for Lawyers Paperback – July 30, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1594601514 ISBN-10: 1594601518 Edition: 5th

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Plain English for Lawyers + Basic Legal Research: Tools and Strategies, Fifth Edition (Aspen Coursebook)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 139 pages
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Press; 5th edition (July 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594601518
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594601514
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Richard C. Wydick is a professor of law at the University of California-Davis School of Law.

Customer Reviews

Very good choice in legal writing.
JDM
I've used the lessons of Wydick's brief book as a lawyer, writer and writing teacher.
Michael P. Barnes
You can read this book quickly and get right to work with some powerful tools.
bronx book nerd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Barnes on January 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
I'm a lawyer who is considered a wordsmith by colleagues and judges. This is one of the most important books I've ever encountered. I was exposed to it in my first law school year's writing class, and its lessons have remained with me since. Banish the passive voice! (unless deliberately and thoughfully chosen and used). This is not merely a key to fluidity in writing, but in a sense a moral imperative. Actions are attributable to actors - they don't simply occur. If you're asserting an action took place, you and your reader should know who or what you claim set it in motion. This necessitates intellectual rigor and clarity. Also, I remember and have employed for twenty-five years Wydick's apt metaphor that good legal writing is like fine cabinetmaking: the skill of the craftsman is shown by the crafted joints not requiring glue, just as the quality of a piece of prose is shown by its lack of reliance on "glue words" (read the book). I've used the lessons of Wydick's brief book as a lawyer, writer and writing teacher. I've given it to colleagues, non-lawyers and young relatives. Their writing uniformly improved.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By du_nomad on July 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've often been complimented on my writing. However, my writing has previously been the areas of creative or business writing. Legal writing is a whole different beast. While I have still received compliments on my writing in law school, this book has definitely helped me refine my writing significantly. After reading this book (well, portions of it, as I have not read the whole thing yet) many of the pitfalls in my own writing became blatantly obvious. Styles that work well when writing creatively can hinder legal writing. This book definitely helps.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D.L. on January 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
My first year legal writing professor required this book for all of her students and I am glad that she did. This book has been utilized nearly as much as my Bluebook when I write papers. While it contains many of the same recommendations that you will find in Strunk & White's Elements of Style (such as when to use affect vs. effect, avoiding passive voice, etc.), what sets this book apart is that it contains numerous exercises that you can use while proofreading your paper that will help improve your writing and earn that all important A. I used this book in my writing course during my first year and earned the highest grade in my section. If you heed the book's advice and utilize its exercises you will surely be at or near the top of your class because many students will not take the time to do this. If you are a law student, this book is a must have. Next to the Bluebook, it is the reference you will turn to more than any other book you own.
That said, I would not recommend buying this book before starting law school or doing some legal writing. It is not meant to be a law school prep book (like Law School Confidential). The exercises may translate towards other forms of persuasive writing, but don't feel like you "must" buy this book if you aren't in law school.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bronx book nerd VINE VOICE on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a gem of a short book for anyone who wants to get some quick and clear pointers on how to improve their writing. Although the title mentions laywers, the book is good for anyone who makes the mistakes listed in the book - use of the passive voice, nominalizations, "shotgunning", etc. Each section is short and provides a few examples to apply the lesson taught. Suggested answers are included at the end as well as additional problems. You can read this book quickly and get right to work with some powerful tools.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Gettler on November 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a must-have for lawyer, paralegals, and any serious writer. Legal writing follows different rules than other types of writing - the use of latin for instance - and to lawyers it is actually easier to understand legal writing because we become used to it. The problem arises when we try to explain a simple situation that we may prefer to explain in legal terminology, but is easily understood without it. This is a must-have for anyone in the legal profession.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bagels on July 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've worked a professional writer and was on law review, but this remains my top choice for teaching people how to write. Everyone can take something from this book regardless of skill level. Learning to write is a constantly evolving process, and too many people (especially in the legal field) fail to understand both that being able to write does not necessarily mean that you know how to write well and that writing is about quality and not quantity.

Exceptional book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary on December 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great addition to my paralegal library. It will assist in any writing that I will do.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JDM on December 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a good book and I highly recommend it to any law student. Very good choice in legal writing.
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