Examples & Explanations: Legal Writing (Terrill Pollman & Judith Stinson, 2019)
ASU Law Writing Professor Judith Stinson and her co-author walk the reader through the processes of writing objective and persuasive legal documents. Content includes the research process, logical organization, analysis of present facts, and utilizing precedent cases. Emphasizes the importance of revisions and using paragraph thesis sentences for clarity. Also available on Aspen Learning Library.
A Lawyer Writes: A Practical Guide to Legal Analysis (Christine Coughlin et al., 2018)
This volume provides a deep dive into producing memoranda and other legal documents, introducing basics such as reading for comprehension and organizing authority, then delving into explain and apply the law to facts. Helpful charts and tip boxes illustrate how to produce quality work on each part of a legal document, from describing questions presented to forming a conclusion.
Legal Method and Writing (Volume I and Volume II) (Charles R. Calleros & Kimberly Holst, 2018)
ASU Law Professors Charles Calleros and Kimberly Holst introduce readers to key legal analytical skills, such as synthesis of incremental rules and deductive reasoning, along with comparing and distinguishing precedent cases from present facts. Volume I provides annotated examples of objective memoranda, while Volume II provides sample persuasive documents, letters, and contracts.
Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing (Richard K. Neumann et al., 2021)
The new ninth edition heavily emphasizes persuasion. The authors provide lessons on working with law before teaching objective analysis to pinpoint a case’s merits in formal and informal settings. In-depth persuasion lessons help students produce written documents and oral arguments that can win the day in court.
Legal Writing and Analysis (Linda H. Edwards, 2015)
A reference with a strong emphasis on the skills writers need before they begin writing their prose: synthesizing case law, analyzing statutes, and crafting a well-organized outline of the discussion or argument.
Legal Writing and Analysis in a Nutshell (Lynn Bahrych et. al, 2017)
Emphasizing pre-writing skills such as organizing an outline in memo format (IRAC, CRuPAC, CREAC, CRAC, etc.), with an emphasis on structuring sentences to enhance the document’s organizational structure and readability. Also available on West Academic.
Legal Writing in Plain English (Bryan A. Garner, 2001)
A practical guide for perfecting legal writing skills, with an emphasis on challenging conventions for improved product. Includes exercises that help readers put the author’s insights into practice.
A Litigator’s Guide to Building Your Best Argument (Cecil C. Kuhne III, 2019)
This volume features clear headings to help students and attorneys find relevant advice quickly. The bulk of the book consists of sample persuasive arguments exemplifying skills, including statutory interpretation, pinpointing legislative intent, demonstrating sound policy, and analyzing case law. It also shares technical advice on argument structure, tips on stoking the audience’s flagging attention, and frameworks for responses to opponents’ arguments. A concise oral advocacy section trains speakers to welcome judges’ questions as opportunities to strengthen their cases.
The Mindful Legal Writer (Heidi K. Brown, 2016)
Taking time for contemplation, reflection, and meditation on particular legal problems can be the key to mastering persuasive legal writing. This guide can help you achieve new heights in your legal writing by harnessing your awareness.
Plain English for Lawyers (Richard C. Wydick, 2019)
A guide to writing clear, concise, and simple prose.
The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style (Bryan A. Garner, 2018)
Covers the basics of punctuation and grammar, with an emphasis on avoiding “Stuffy Words and Legalese.” Also includes tips on authoring law review articles for students composing a graduate writing requirement, and offers several useful examples of objective and persuasive memoranda, opinion letters, and demand letters.
The Tao of Legal Writing (Judith Stinson, 2009)
ASU Law Professor Judith Stinson provides instructions on adapting to the nature of advanced legal writing to help students and practitioners achieve greater success. It all begins with being mindful of the key steps throughout the process, from thinking about the problem to research, outlining, writing, and revising.
Writing and Analysis in the Law (Helene S. Shapo et al., 2018)
This book endeavors to refashion the task of legal writing into manageable chunks, explaining methods for effectively analyzing statutes and case law, then helping writers quickly master legal writing structure and style. It includes chapters on client interviewing and counseling, as well as particular legal documents including office memoranda, letters, briefs, oral arguments, and law school exams.
Writing by Numbers: Legal Writing Made Easy (Melissa Shultz & Christine Tamer, 2020)
This resource provides legal writing students and novices with a strong, structured approach to writing legal documents including objective memoranda and persuasive arguments. It helps demystify the complex process by providing fewer choices to the student, showing one effective method for each stage in the process. After writers grow in skill by mastering the formula, they can try new approaches and styles later.
Writing Sentences that Work: Essentials for Law Students (David E. Boelzner, 2022)
This slim book focuses on the most common problems that legal writers have, explains why they are problems, and provides guidance on how to correct the problems (along with practice exercises).
10 Tips for Better Legal Writing (ABA Journal) (2014)
The American Bar Association presents legal writing expert Bryan A. Garner’s advice on creating proper tone, cutting excess words, and making sure you fully understand your legal issue before addressing it.
Organizing a Legal Discussion (IRAC, CRAC, etc.) (Columbia Law School)
Quickly demystifying the legal memorandum structure, this brief guide offers do’s and don’ts and clear, concise examples to guide new legal writers.
Cracking the Code to Writing Legal Arguments: From IRAC to CRARC to Combinations in Between (Gerald Lebovits, New York State Bar Association Journal)
Provides instructions on structuring a brief, and offers a handy guide to the wide variety of acronyms that law professors and practitioners use, from IRAAAPC to TREACC.
Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute
In-depth academic and practical analysis of the art and science of legal writing, including advice on maximizing persuasive impact and writing for scholarly journals.
Ugly Legal Writing (C. Edward Good, Landslide, 2018)
Although there may be inherent aesthetic disputes about in-text citations, simple tweaks such as using Microsoft Word Styles on widow and orphan control and refraining from overly stylized headings can improve the appearance (and efficiency) of written legal product.
A Practical Guide to Appellate Advocacy (Mary Beth Beazley, 2023)
This comprehensive guide follows the process of writing an appellate brief in sequence, illuminating each stage with a clear explanation and examples of both good and bad brief writing.
Art of Advocacy—Appeals (Marshall Houts et al., 2021) (Lexis password required)
This treatise helps improve written and oral advocacy. Chapter 2 discusses writing strategies. It provides tips on keeping the judges’ interest, and warns of pitfalls, such as failing to discuss all relevant cases. It also concerns formatting and structure, using model court documents to illustrate its points. Chapter 3 concerns spoken advocacy, with tips on topics such as keeping an audience’s attention while speaking and argument structure, and it highlights its lessons with annotated model arguments. Other chapters include guidance on court processes.
Briefing and Arguing Federal Appeals (Frederick Bernays Wiener, 1961) (HeinOnline)
In its sections on oral argument, this resource suggests limiting intense questioning of precedent cases in oral argument, preparing extensively to avoid making inadvertent, permanent, damaging concessions, and refraining from discussing personalities and engaging in sarcasm. It also features an informative critique of a U.S. Supreme Court oral argument, highlighting pitfalls to be avoided.
The Little Book on Oral Argument (Alan L. Dworsky, 2018)
This slim, user-friendly book helps you channel your nervous energy to speak conversationally but professionally, minimizing all distracting verbal filler (such as "like" or "um"). It provides tips on looking and sounding confident and professional. It also tells you what to expect in each step of the process, from the initial nervous tension of “May it please the court” to your strong conclusion. And it helps keep you on guard when the judges pepper you with questions.
Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges (Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, 2008)
The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and legal writing expert Bryan Garner provide tips on effective advocacy, such as how to differentiate your strongest points from the weak arguments that you should very visibly concede. Although good appellate practice involves appearing before the court without a script, strong oral advocacy involves intensive writing and revising. They also provide tips on appearing poised and strong to the tribunal and detailed advice on optimizing the substance of your argument, such as dealing with a barrage of questions with poise and avoiding unnecessary concessions.
Point Well Made: Persuasive Oral Advocacy (Nancy Harris Vaidik & Rebecca Diaz-Bonilla, 2021)
A judge and attorney guide students and practitioners through the art of persuading judges, including studying the judge’s motivations, developing a theme, doing research on the law, and effectively presenting facts. The authors also prepare advocates for the related but distinct art of fielding questions, including a list of common types that judges will ask. The authors also expound on presenting the case using persuasive speech as well as body language.
Supreme Court of the United States arguments
Features audio of typically question-intensive Supreme Court oral arguments, including all of the appearances by ASU Law Professor Paul Bender. All of his arguments are compiled on Oyez.
9th Circuit Court of Appeals arguments
Features arguments on a wide range of topics in the federal appeals court whose territory includes Arizona.
Arizona Court of Appeals arguments
Discusses the guidelines for attorneys to structure their oral arguments along with providing links to video of current and archived oral arguments.
Many episodes feature advocates reflecting on their arguments before the United States Supreme Court, discussing how they developed and delivered their presentations.
The Court Listener website provides free recordings of Supreme Court from 2013 to the present as well as federal appellate court oral arguments from the 1960s to the present.
California Supreme Court
Oral arguments before the top court in the nation’s most populous state, with summary blurbs to help viewers understand the discussions.
Florida Appeals Court
Archives of oral argument recordings featuring views of the full bench and attorneys’ podium.
Tennessee Supreme Court
Oral arguments before a larger panel of judges, with summary blurbs of the cases to help students follow the arguments.
How to Prep Like a Pro for Your First Oral Argument in Federal Court (Karen L. Stevenson, Litigation News, 2018)
Judge Stevenson emphasizes the need for thorough knowledge of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, familiarity with the judge and your opponent, simplicity of any visual aids, and clear, forthright communication.
Understanding Differences Between Trial, Appellate Oral Arguments (Kelly A. Moore, New York Law Journal, 2013)
Analyzing the differences between oral argument at the trial court and appellate levels and how attorneys can optimize their effectiveness in the respective settings.
Nervous about Your 1L Oral Argument?
Advice from the ABA for Law Students for shy, introverted, or just nervous people preparing to deliver an oral argument for a grade like a rockstar. Emphasizes avoiding a potentially counterproductive strategy of simply emulating a more confident persona.
Oral Argument: Why I Advise Advocates to Practice Without Notes
From the Law Professor Blogs Network: Memory retrieval practice can help deepen learning for a smooth, conversational oral argument performance free of extensive notes.
Reflections on My First Oral Argument
On the law blog Above the Law, a practicing attorney and recent law school grad shares tips on knowing your argument as well at the opposition’s, practicing it with colleagues, and staying flexible.
Surviving Your First Oral Argument
Law School Toolbox instructs 1Ls on how to study up for the argument, how to organize it, how to channel nervous energy, and staying alert and responsive to judges’ questions.