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The Handbook for the New Legal Writer, Third Edition

  • Jill Barton
  • Rachel H. Smith
Series / Aspen Coursebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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The Handbook for the New Legal Writer, Third Edition, is the practical guide to the foundational skills that law students need. With concise and easy-to-follow instructions, a variety of annotated examples, and the clarifying concept of “anchors,” the Handbook is a student-centered text that engages and accompanies students throughout the first-year legal writing course, and beyond.

The Handbook for the New Legal Writer focuses on showing (not telling) students how to write effective legal documents using step-by-step instructions and annotated examples. The Handbook uses the term “anchors” throughout to help students deepen their understanding and analysis of legal questions. In an easy-to-read style, the Handbook guides students through the entire first-year legal research, writing, and analysis curriculum. The Handbook covers predictive and persuasive writing in the form of memos, motions, and appellate briefs; as well as professional correspondence in the form of emails, letters, and instant messages; exam writing; judicial writing; oral argument; legal research and citation; and grammar, punctuation, and style. For each topic, the Handbook provides examples (written by the authors or by judges and practicing attorneys), along with detailed explanations that demonstrate how to write with care and clarity. The Handbook is a resource that will guide students throughout law school and into their legal careers.

New to the Third Edition

  • New sidebars throughout the text that address issues of mindfulness, wellness, equity, and inclusion that are important to students
  • More samples of legal documents, prepared by the authors
  • More examples of excellent legal writing by judges and attorneys

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • Comprehensive coverage of all first-year legal writing topics: predictive and persuasive writing, grammar and writing style, professional correspondence, exam writing, judicial writing, oral argument, research, and citation
  • Concise and readable text
  • The authors’ original “anchors” concept that helps students recognize salient facts or points of law in case reading and analysis
  • Short and longer annotated examples (written by judges, practitioners, and the authors) illustrate effective legal writing in various formats, including objective memos, correspondence, persuasive memos, motions, appellate briefs, and more
  • Checklists at the end of each chapter for study and review
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Third Edition
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Legal Writing
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