Legal Writing

267 ABA Journal Legal Writing articles.

There’s a formula for effectively explaining caselaw

Legal writers are constantly called on to explain things. Among the most difficult and predictably recurrent types of explanation is why a legal precedent bears on a point to be decided. Although every lawyer must be prepared to do this, it’s surprisingly tricky.

Legal journalist Jeffrey Toobin reportedly exposes himself on Zoom, and it has job consequences
Journalist and legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended from the New Yorker and is taking a leave from CNN after he reportedly exposed himself on a Zoom call.
Do you use ‘good English’? Test your grammatical skills with this 20-question quiz

Let’s try a 20-question quiz. The object is to select the choice that writers, editors and book publishers have overwhelmingly used over the past several decades. We’re assessing your knack for standard written English. We’re testing your feel for plurals, possessives and subject-verb agreement. These are grammatical issues, not word-choice issues. See how you fare.

‘Persnickety dude’ government lawyer points out New York Times typos on Twitter
An anonymous appellate lawyer who describes himself as a “persnickety dude” tweets typos from the New York Times as a hobby.
Ohio associate with a love of writing wins ABA Journal’s 2020 Ross essay contest for legal fiction

A short story about the first lawyer in a close-knit Black family has been named the winner of the 2020 ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction. The author is Daniel M. Best, an associate at Gallagher Sharp in Columbus, Ohio.

How to make the most of your time during the pandemic

Regardless of whether Shakespeare used playhouse closings to write great drama, it’s worth asking yourself: What should I do during periods of isolation? Bryan A. Garner, the president of LawProse Inc., explores.

Did Justice Sotomayor goof with ‘little if nothing’ phrase? Stickler law prof sees error
A law professor who considers himself a stickler on proper use of the English language has written to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor about a phrase she used in a dissent this month.
What does police abolition look like?

Alex S. Vitale explains the troubling origins of modern policing, why commonly suggested reforms like training and increased diversity have not been successful, and much more.

Lawyers are the directors and set designers of their courtroom dramas

Litigation unfolds upon a stage in the theater of the courtroom. And while combative, compulsive and closed litigation stories are constrained and shaped by evidentiary and legal rules and the meticulous presentation of factual evidence, lawyers are nevertheless the producers, directors and set designers of their own theatrical courtroom dramas.

‘Good English’ always has been a path to the legal profession

Should schoolchildren be taught standard English grammar? The traditional view, of course, is yes. The contrary position is we shouldn’t insist people learn standard written English. Instead, we should teach everyone to be tolerant of regional and class dialects—not just accents but dialects.

Meet 9 American women shortlisted for the Supreme Court before Sandra Day O’Connor
As early as the 1930s, presidents were considering putting the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. So, who were these other candidates on the short list, and why did it take until 1981 for Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice?
Journalist investigating wrongful convictions turns lens on white-collar criminal case in Chicago

In this new episode of the Modern Law Library podcast, Maurice Possley speaks with the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles about his investigation of Michael Segal, his writing partnership with Segal, and how Chicago city politics impacted the case.

Trump and his 3,500 suits: Prosecutor and author reveals in interview his portrait of ‘Plaintiff in Chief’

Former federal prosecutor and author James D. Zirin illuminates more than 45 years of Trump’s legal disputes in his new book, Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits. Zirin recently answered some questions from Robin Lindley, a Seattle-based writer and lawyer.

If you’re a lawyer who’s not writing and editing like a pro, get to work

“In my office, colleagues are evaluated on the worth of their edits: Everyone is expected to make the types of edits that professionals at the copy desks of major magazines would make. The idea is that the final product should sing,” says Bryan A. Garner, president of LawProse Inc.

State supreme court gives 2-year suspension for lawyer who forged signatures of judge and clerk

The Kansas Supreme Court has suspended a lawyer, who forged the signatures of a judge and a clerk, for two years. In its Feb. 28 opinion, the court said its suspension of Laurel Kupka is “warranted given the serious nature of the respondent’s acts.”

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