Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Point Made

Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates is the title of a readable little book by Ross Guberman (president of Legal Writing Pro, an advanced legal-writing training and consulting firm).  According to the book's (and JIPLP's) publishers Oxford University Press:
"With Point Made, legal writing expert Ross Guberman throws a life preserver to attorneys, who are under more pressure than ever to produce compelling prose. What is the strongest opening for a motion or brief? How to draft winning headings? How to tell a persuasive story when the record is dry and dense? The answers are "more science than art," says Guberman, who has analyzed stellar arguments by distinguished attorneys to develop step-by-step instructions for achieving the results you want. 

The author takes an empirical approach, drawing heavily on the writings of the nation's 50 most influential lawyers, including Barack Obama, John Roberts, Elena Kagan, Ted Olson, and David Boies. Their strategies, demystified and broken down into specific, learnable techniques, become a detailed writing guide full of practical models. ... 
Each chapter of Point Made focuses on a typically tough challenge, providing a strategic roadmap and practical tips along with annotated examples of how prominent attorneys have resolved that challenge in varied trial and appellate briefs. Short examples and explanations with engaging titles--"Brass Tacks," "Talk to Yourself," "Russian Doll"--deliver weighty materials with a light tone, making the guidelines easy to remember and apply".
This book may be of substantial assistance to contributors to JIPLP, since its advice is applicable not merely to trial advocates but to lawyers who want their writing to be understood and appreciated by their readers.  Most of its content does not consist of strokes of genius, blinding flashes of rhetoric that can fell a bench of judges at 500 yards and save the day for an ever-grateful client.  Principally the book shows how the best way to write well is to avoid writing badly.  The author pays close attention to the little things, right down to punctuation, and demonstrates through his chosen exponents how simple good writing can be.

The price is cheap; the advice is priceless. Buy it and blush when next you review your prose.

Bibliographic details. Paperback, 338 pages. ISBN 13: 9780195394870; ISBN 10: 0195394879. Price: $19.95.  Web page here.

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps Gruberman should follow up with a book entitled "How to charge like the Nation's Top Advocates"

    Point Made is $19 on the OUP site, $16 on Amazon.com but a whopping £39 on Amazon.co.uk

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