ABA Journal

Legal Writing

283 ABA Journal Legal Writing articles.

Longtime leader in legal ethics and professional responsibility will receive ABA Medal

Through a legal career that spans more than five decades, Lawrence Fox has become nationally recognized for his leadership in professional responsibility and legal ethics and his commitment to pro bono work.

Not in Kansas anymore: A former congressman’s improbable journey from the heartland to Hollywood

In 2004, Dan Glickman began a six-year stint as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. That may seem like an unusual career change for a nine-term congressman from Kansas and former secretary of agriculture. People sometimes questioned his qualifications to lead Hollywood’s trade association. “I used to grow popcorn,” he tells me he’d respond. “And now I sell it.”

How to craft your legal writing on the clock

Recall the situation: It’s the first day of your new job as an assistant attorney general in your state. You’re an experienced litigator, and you put in for the position touting your skill as a writer. You were told that it would be a demanding job, but you figured that your experience in private practice has been as demanding as anything the new position might present.

New AI-powered legal writing tool aims to help lawyers craft winning briefs

A gratifying legal victory sparked Jacqueline Schafer’s desire to create a legal technology product that would help other lawyers efficiently craft case-winning briefs full of compelling evidence. Clearbrief is an AI-powered legal writing tool.

Legal historian John Fabian Witt discusses new book on epidemics and law

The experience of this novel pandemic in the past year has fueled questions about the role of the federal and state governments in addressing epidemics; the importance of public health versus individual freedoms; the inequities in access to health care and more.

Retired BigLaw partner tells tales of lawyers, FBI and kidnapping epidemic of 1930s in new book

Any discussion of kidnapping during the early 20th century calls to mind the 1932 abduction and killing of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s toddler son. But as Carolyn Cox demonstrates, kidnapping for ransom extended far beyond the “crime of the century.”

Colorful judicial writing style undermines legitimacy of opinions, law prof argues

Judges who write colorful opinions that are lively and engaging are undermining the integrity of the judicial role and the legitimacy of opinions, a law professor has argued in an upcoming law review article.

A conversation with attorney George Critchlow on his new book, ‘The Lifer and the Lawyer’

In his new book, The Lifer and the Lawyer, co-authored by Michael Anderson, an African American man who was charged with committing 22 offenses—including kidnapping, assault and robbery—during a violent crime spree, lawyer George Critchlow recounts his defense of Anderson and how their relationship evolved from attorney-client to a lasting friendship.

Supreme Court rules for Facebook in dispute over texts; justices spar over ‘series-qualifier canon’

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Facebook on Thursday in a dispute over the reach of a law that restricts calls to cellphones made with an “automatic telephone dialing system.”

Your recipe for effective legal writing

If it were a baking competition, the judges would be interested in both style and substance. But these aren’t baker judges you’re attending to: They’re judicial officers. They’ll want to see how sound your arguments are, and they’ll be influenced somewhat by the presentation.

3rd Circuit calls out lawyer for ‘copy-and-paste’ appeal, orders him to pay attorney fees

A federal appeals court has ordered a Pennsylvania lawyer to pay his opponents’ appellate legal fees for filing a “frivolous” appeal and submitting a brief “that was essentially a copy of the one he filed in the district court.”

Don’t use this typeface if you want to please the DC Circuit

Brief writers take note: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit doesn’t like the Garamond typeface.

Justice Thomas goes rogue on the Bluebook with ‘cleaned up’ citation—to the delight of appellate lawyers

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas went rogue on the Bluebook when he embraced an appellate lawyer’s suggestion for dealing with “citation baggage” that comes with some quoted material.

Judge Jed Rakoff discusses new book about how to fix a broken legal system

Judge Jed Rakoff says he has “the world’s greatest job.” Lucky for him, he can have it for life. Rakoff’s good fortune is to be a U.S. district judge. Next month, he’ll celebrate is 25th year at it.

If you can give good directions, you can probably write a good brief

“Someone who can draw a good map can probably write a good brief; someone who can’t draw a good map will undoubtedly write a bad brief,” writes Bryan A. Garner, the president of LawProse Inc.

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