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Legal Writing

Books and Articles

Below is a short list of books and scholarly journal articles related to persuasive writing, with a focus on legal persuasion. You can search for other relevant resources in the ASU Library catalog using subject headings such as Persuasion (rhetoric) and Law-language.  Books located at other ASU Library locations can be requested and delivered to you at the Law Library; sign in to your library account to make a request.

Legal Persuasion: A Rhetorical Approach to the Science (Linda L. Berger and Kathryn M. Stanchi, 2018)
This title integrates research from cognitive science with classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, synthesizing these two disciplines and applying them to legal persuasion. The persuasive synthesis is illustrated through concrete examples and the authors provide excellent explanations of why, how, and when to utilize certain persuasive methods and techniques.

The Mindful Legal Writer: Mastering Persuasive Writing (Heidi Brown, 2016)
The Mindful Legal Writer focuses on why and how persuasive writing is used in law practice. Chapters address how to employ persuasive writing techniques in court filings, oral argument, and transactional practice and appendices provide examples of the types of legal document discussed in the book.

Advanced Legal Writing: Theories and Strategies in Persuasive Writing (Michael R. Smith, 2013)
This book focuses on classical writing strategies and rhetorical application, giving the reader writing tools that can be applied in a wide range of legal (and non-legal) settings. 

Briefs and Beyond: Persuasive Legal Writing (Mary Beth Beazley and Monte Smith, 2021)
This title instructs the reader on how to use persuasive elements in complaints, demand letters, and legal documents. It specifically addresses persuasion with statutory authority, how to use cases effectively, and evidence in persuasive writing. 

Readings in Persuasion: Briefs that Changed the World (Charles Calleros and Linda H. Edwards, 2012)
Readings in Persuasion instructs the reader on foundational persuasive legal writing techniques including rhetoric, voice, emotion, metaphor, and narrative. The text also presents a number of famous cases and explores their history, and the persuasive legal writing that impacted the case outcomes.

The Art of Advocacy: Briefs, Motions, and Writing Strategies of America’s Best Lawyers (Noah A. Messing, 2013)
This book contains more than 150 examples of advocacy to show lawyers how to write winning briefs and motions.

Kathryn Stanchi, Persuasion: An Annotated Bibliography, Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (2009).
This 2009 bibliography provides an excellent list of books and articles that discuss persuasion in legal writing. Resources listed address such topics as classical rhetoric, metaphors in legal writing, argumentation theory, "framing" of legal arguments, and semiotics.


The databases listed below provides access to journal articles and other resources that have examples of persuasive writing or provide instruction for writing persuasively, across academic disciplines. The databases are available on-campus or remotely with an ASURITE password.

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost) 
A multidisciplinary article database which covers thousands of mostly English-language popular magazines and scholarly journals. Includes topics in the social sciences, humanities, general science, education and most areas of academic study. 

HeinOnline provides PDF full text of law reviews and journals with pre-1980 scholarship that is not available on Lexis or Westlaw.

Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson) 
Indexes articles in the fields of film, folklore, gender studies, history, journalism, communications, language, literature, literary and political criticism, philosophy, and religion. Coverage is from 1984 to the present.

This database provides image and full-text online access to back issues of selected scholarly journals in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences.

Literature Online 
Contains the full-text of selective creative works in all genres of literature, a database of critical articles, author biographies and reference works.

Covers the research literature in all areas of psychology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. Other subjects such as neuroscience, psychiatry, and physiology are also included. The database provides indexing and abstracts for journal articles (mostly peer-reviewed), books, chapters, and dissertations. Coverage is from 1887 to the present.