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Admirably clear, concise, down-to-earth, and powerful—all too often, legal writing embodies none of these qualities. Its reputation for obscurity and needless legalese is widespread. Since 2001 Bryan A. Garner’s Legal Writing in Plain English has helped address this problem by providing lawyers, judges, paralegals, law students, and legal scholars with sound advice and practical tools for improving their written work. Now the leading guide to clear writing in the field, this indispensable volume encourages legal writers to challenge conventions and offers valuable insights into the writing process that will appeal to other professionals: how to organize ideas, create and refine prose, and improve editing skills.
Accessible and witty, Legal Writing in Plain English draws on real-life writing samples that Garner has gathered through decades of teaching experience. Trenchant advice covers all types of legal materials, from analytical and persuasive writing to legal drafting, and the book’s principles are reinforced by sets of basic, intermediate, and advanced exercises in each section.
In this new edition, Garner preserves the successful structure of the original while adjusting the content to make it even more classroom-friendly. He includes case examples from the past decade and addresses the widespread use of legal documents in electronic formats. His book remains the standard guide for producing the jargon-free language that clients demand and courts reward.
About the Author
Bryan A. Garner is president of LawProse, Inc., and Distinguished Research Professor of Law at Southern Methodist University. He is the author of the "Grammar and Usage" chapter of The Chicago Manual of Style and editor in chief of Black’s Law Dictionary. Garner is also the author of several best-selling books, including Garner’s Modern English Usage and, with Justice Antonin Scalia, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts and Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges.
“Interspersed with rules of good writing is a revolutionary manifesto packaged in a plain gray wrapper. This book won’t draw attention merely by sitting on your shelf, but if you put certain pieces of its advice in the next legal document you draft, you are sure to raise the eyebrows of any lawyer who reads it.”
“This magnificent book explains every major principle of plain legal writing in a way that no other book has ever done. Based on years of Garner’s research and teaching, this book elevates the standard of what a legal-writing text can and should be. Get a copy for every law student, lawyer, and legislator that you know.”
— Mark E. Wojcik, John Marshall Law School
"This easy-to-follow guide is useful both as a general course of instruction and as a targeted aid in solving particular legal writing problems."
"Garner's work is a significant improvement [over other books] . . . . Those who are willing to approach the book systematically and to complete the exercises will see dramatic improvements in their writing."
“The importance of improving writing skills . . . is also the central theme of one of my favourite books of the year: Garner’s Legal Writing in Plain English. Much more exciting than the title suggests, it leads the reader through a series of observations and exercises to develop a simple, clear and elegant writing style. My only regret is that it is written for a US market with corresponding examples. There is surely a need for a UK version, which should routinely be given to all law students, trainees and even some senior partners.”
— Sarah Greer