ABA Journal

Legal Writing

347 ABA Journal Legal Writing articles.

Bestselling author David Baldacci shares words of wisdom for lawyers who want to be novelists

“I can’t tell you how many events I’ve gone to,” David Baldacci says, “and [lawyers] come up to me and say, ‘Oh my god, you broke out of jail! Congratulations!’”

4 Dogmas Debunked: How to frame a legal issue, Part I

‘Show the Brief’: Lawyers can be better communicators by bringing visuals to their briefs

My decision to teach law more than 40 years ago has had the single biggest impact on my professional development. I made the move after working as a public defender in Seattle and as an assistant attorney general. I wanted to deepen my trial skills and thought teaching could help me.

Can change really come from within? These 13 prosecutors think so

Change From Within: Reimagining the 21st-Century Prosecutor shares the personal profiles of prosecutors who want to use prosecutorial discretion to reduce incarceration rates and harm to vulnerable communities from the prison-industrial system.

Read the 2022 winner of the Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction: ‘Dope Fiend’

Editor's Note: The following short story by Frank H. Toub, a 3L at Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, Tennessee, was the 2022 winner of the ABA Journal's annual Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction.

‘By Hands Now Known’ shines light on cold cases of lynchings and racial violence

In summer 2020, when the murder of George Floyd was igniting protests, it occurred to Margaret A. Burnham that “George Floyd” was a common-sounding name. She went into her archive of Jim Crow-era homicides and found another George Floyd.

Federal appeals judge complains about ‘show-off’ opinions

A federal appeals judge told Harvard Law School students Wednesday that judges should focus on writing opinions that “ordinary citizens can understand.”

This judge would rather not be called ‘your honor’

A federal judge in Louisville, Kentucky, would rather be called “judge” than “your honor.”

Lawyer is sanctioned for lifting passages from opponents’ motion; copying was ‘neither slight nor subtle’

A lawyer who copied part of her opponents’ motion into her own legal filing will have to pay more than $8,400 as sanctions, a federal judge in Pennsylvania has ruled.

Author and lawyer Scott Turow made generational leap for new legal thriller

Author and lawyer Scott Turow’s latest legal thriller Suspect reintroduces readers to Clarice “Pinky” Granum, the granddaughter of attorney Sandy Stern—a character from the author's novels The Last Trial and his blockbuster debut Presumed Innocent.

Minnesota group ships law books to Africa

A law book can change a life. Donations from 117 law libraries to 24 African countries have changed millions of lives and helped to establish the rule of law across the continent, says Lane Ayres, director of the Jack Mason Law & Democracy Initiative of Books for Africa.

Oct. 21, 1876: John B. West brings case law to lawyers with the Syllabi

What is a writ of replevin? It’s being used by the DOJ against former White House adviser

Updated: Writs of replevin have been used by creditors to recover collateral, such as cars; by tenants or landlords to recover property taken by the other; by businesses to recover items taken by employees; and by people seeking the return of pets after a breakup. It’s also being cited by the U.S. Department of Justice in a lawsuit against a former senior White House adviser.

How to leverage technology to transform legal writing

Ari Kaplan recently spoke with Ross Guberman, the founder of Legal Writing Pro, which helps attorneys and judges write more effectively, and the developer of BriefCatch, a legal editing software tool.

‘Bad People Like Him’: An interview with master negotiator and former governor Bill Richardson

On Dec. 13, 1996, President Bill Clinton, in a White House ceremony, announced the nomination of Bill Richardson as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Just a few days earlier, the congressman from New Mexico had been using his diplomacy skills in a much less stately setting.

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