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Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates Paperback – March 23, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0195394870 ISBN-10: 0195394879 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195394879
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195394870
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.2 x 5.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,052 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The only way to teach students how to be effective legal writers is to immerse them in as much outstanding legal writing as possible. By concentrating so much great written advocacy so compactly--and by focusing readers' attention so precisely on the qualities that make the selected texts so compelling--this book supplies an indispensable tool to those engaged in the craft of making excellent lawyers." --Dan Kahan, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law, Yale Law School "Effective advocacy consists of a skillful blend of clear language and a sense of dramatic structure. Guberman's exemplars demonstrate again and again how to transform an otherwise ordinary case into a morality tale with a happy ending." --Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson"A must for the library of veteran litigators and aspiring moot court competitors. Ross Guberman teaches the art of persuasive legal writing with lively quotes from top-notch briefs, coupled with his own insights and recommendations." --Stephen Shapiro, Senior Member, Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation group, Mayer Brown"I love this book and recommend it for everyone. Ross Guberman's bag of tricks will spiff up your writing. He shares 50 techniques, and then-the fun part-he offers choice nuggets to show you how the hot shots pull it off." --Ronald Marmer, Chair-Elect, ABA Section on Litigation; Partner, Jenner & Block"Point Made is writing-nerd nirvana...It instantly won a place on my short list of favorite legal-writing books." --Jay O'Keeffe, DeNovo A Virginia Appellate Law Blog "Entertaining and informative...a smart approach to writing persuasive legal briefs. Rather than lecturing the reader about what to do, Point Made shows you how the headline lawyers do it." --Steven R. Merican, Illinois Appellate Lawyer Blog "[Guberman] doesn't just tell you what to do: he shows you...I learned a lot from reading Ross's book; I think you will too." --Raymond W

About the Author


Ross Guberman is president of Legal Writing Pro, an advanced legal-writing training and consulting firm. He has worked with thousands of attorneys at more than 100 of the world's largest and most prestigious law firms and for dozens of state and federal agencies and bar associations. Guberman is also a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School, and he holds degrees from Yale, the Sorbonne, and The University of Chicago Law School. Before founding Legal Writing Pro, Guberman worked as a musician, lawyer, translator, editor, and journalist. He has also commented on law, business, and lawyer development for major newspapers, radio stations, trade publications, and television networks, and he has addressed several major international conferences as well.

More About the Author

Ross Guberman is the founder and president of Legal Writing Pro, an advanced legal-writing training and consulting firm. He has conducted more than a thousand programs on three continents for many of the largest and most prestigious law firms and for dozens of state and federal agencies and bar associations.

Ross is also a Professorial Lecturer in Law at The George Washington University Law School.

He holds degrees from Yale, the Sorbonne, and The University of Chicago Law School.

An active member of the bar, Ross is also a former professional musician, translator, and award-winning journalist. After the federal takeover of Fannie Mae, Slate called his 2002 investigation of the company "brilliant and prescient."

He has commented on business, law, writing, and lawyer development for major newspapers, radio stations, and television networks, and he has also addressed several major international conferences.

The American Society for Training & Development has awarded Ross its Certified Professional in Learning and Performance™ credential for passing an eight-part test and submitting his standardized writing assessment.

A Minnesota native, Ross lives with his wife and two children outside Washington, DC. He can be reached at ross@legalwritingpro.com.

Customer Reviews

Well read writers will find this book a fantastic reference.
Howard Goldowsky
Guberman gives concrete examples of techniques that work to make legal writing persuasive and effective.
Lawrence
This book is exactly what I was looking for to take my legal writing to the next level.
brennanmoss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 96 people found the following review helpful By LegalWriter on February 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an experienced appellate advocate who has argued over a hundred cases, written several hundred briefs, edited several hundred more, and collected the literature in the field, I am always skeptical of new books on legal writing. Even the best books essentially just rehash the same advice: stay away from the passive voice, block quotations are bad, use footnotes sparingly, etc. Point Made does that too, but to his credit, the author gives these by-now hoary concepts colorful little names to make them easier to remember, for example, "Russian Doll," for nested subheadings. The real selling point, however, is the use of examples taken from briefs of the nation's top appellate litigators. And therein lies my caveat. While most of the examples are excellent, some are not, and the whole enterprise reaks of boot licking and log rolling. Several advocates who give the book glowing reviews noted on the back cover are those whom the author has selected for inclusion in the book as among the best appellate advocates in the country. (The late, beloved Spy magazine used to call this "log rolling on our time" and featured examples from the world of fiction. The Point Made examples are no less egregious.) And another troubling point for me is this: How many of these noted, brilliant, and esteemed folks actually wrote the examples? Come on now. Should we, as a profession, really continue to pretend that most, if not all, of these hot-shot lawyers or judges write their own stuff? A lot of former law reveiwers who work for noted, brilliant, and esteemed appellate lawyers and judge would quietly tell you otherwise.

But enough sermonizing by me. This is overall a good book on legal writing--not as good as books by Bryan Garner, Stephen Starks, and Judge Aldisert--but worth a look.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Peter on March 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm an engineer and have done a lot of writing to sell my proposals and ideas. Many of us with technical backgrounds have great ideas but have trouble selling them simply because our writing is often not very persuasive. And if you can't be persuasive your ideas aren't worth anything. I've taken various technical writing seminars but this book is hands down the best tool I've come across for improving my writing. This book offers lots of help, and showed me how to write about the facts using more compelling and varied sentences. It's very practical, easy to read and offers great ideas for getting your point across. Unlike many "how to write" books, this one is enjoyable to read and educational, with a lot of stories about well-known legal disputes. It will definitely make you a better writer and enable you to sell your ideas more effectively.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By David Tollen on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm both a lawyer and an author, so writing is my business, and I found this really useful. First of all, it's not just a set of abstract suggestions; it's packed with short, easy-to-digest examples from famous advocates. And I do mean "packed": you get examples, usually several, on pretty much every page. I think most people learn best by example, and these are good ones. Second, the book's organization is user-friendly. The subtitle should've been "Writing Like the Nation's Top Advocates--in 50 Nutshells," because that's what you get. The 50 lesson organization makes it easy to refer back to this or that point after you've read the book. In fact, I find the table of contents itself useful because you can just skim it over to remind yourself of the lessons. Third, believe it or not, this is fun to read. He makes good writing interesting (in part through good writing).

Finally, though the book's about written advocacy, I've found it useful for all types of writing, including e-mails I toss off to my clients.

Anyway, highly recommended...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By LS 2008 on February 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You've heard it since the first day of law school- research and writing, more research and writing, oh and by the way? Research and writing. With easy to remember concepts and actual, real life explanations you'll at least have one half of this all-powerful duo covered. As a third year associate, I'm happy to have a book in my office that I can actually use to make my writing better. And the best part is that Ross Guberman makes it simple; he shows you how to do it instead of telling you. The concepts are well organized and easy to follow, you can read the whole text or use it piece by piece. Guberman avoids the "legal treatise" model with juicy excerpts that make you want to read on and includes advice from judges on what they really want to see. This book is indispensable for 1L memo writers, new associates and partners, highly recommended.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Matthew B on January 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
As an author, I care a lot about good writing. As a lawyer, I have to endure a lot of bad writing. I'm hardly alone in wondering: why isn't legal writing better?

Nearly all lawyers think they're good writers. Most of them are mistaken. And worse, these lawyers often seek comfort in urban legends designed to protect their bad habits -- "this is how successful lawyers write," "this is what judges like to see," etc.

Ross Guberman's terrific book proves otherwise. Ross shows you that the best lawyers are truly excellent writers, and that judges truly prefer excellent writing. He makes his case with real-world evidence: hundreds of examples from actual briefs by well-known lawyers, and dozens of comments from judges.

Using this material, Ross methodically refutes many of the favorite habits of bad legal writers, including flabby sentences, vague headings, and a bête noire of mine -- overly long block quotations.

A solid, practical guide that will give any legal writer fresh ideas about how to improve their work.
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