Effective Writing: A Handbook with Stories for Lawyers

SKU: 0-9724772-7-6

John Phelps Warnock, with Harold C. Warnock

Information and Pricing
0-9724772-7-6 (paperback, $20.00); © 2003 by Parlor Press. 204 pages with notes, sidebars, checklists, examples, and index

Other Formats Available
0-9724772-4-1 ($40.00 cloth); 0-9724772-6-8 ($12.00 Acrobat eBook)

Add to Cart and choose format below.

Bookstores: Order by fax, mail, or phone. See our "Sales and Ordering Page" for details.

Read the Table of Contents (PDF)


Effective Writing offers specific advice on the many kinds of writing lawyers do in actual practice. It considers what makes writing effective in letters of various kinds, forms, bills, the many kinds of writing done through the trial, writing for an appeal, contracts, and writing for wills and trusts. The last chapter addresses how to rewrite to promote more effective thinking and how to rewrite for the reader, going beyond the usual considerations of correct or “plain” style to address what constitutes effective word choice, sentence structure, organization, citation and quotation in real contexts. The book is seasoned with “sidebars”—brief stories about legal writing from many judges, lawyers, and other writers-- that help to bring the world of legal writing alive. This book is the product of a collaboration between a distinguished lawyer and a professor of English (Rhetoric and Writing).

What people are saying about Effective Writing . . .

Effective Writing considers the many kinds of writing lawyers do for their daily routine, for the trial through the appeal, and "for the future" (contracts, wills, trusts). It addresses available technologies—and points out their limitations. This book will be an invaluable resource for judges and practitioners at all stages of their careers. And it will offer the reader plenty of good company.
—Gary Fry, in Arizona Attorney (March, 2004)

About the Authors

John Phelps Warnock has a J.D. (1968) from the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar. Over the last twenty-five years, he has consulted on legal writing to law firms and judicial groups in the United States and Canada and was a long-time member of the faculty for the annual Judgment Writing Seminar offered by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice. He is a graduate of Amherst College, where he was a Sloan scholar, and Oxford University, where he was a Keasbey scholar. He now teaches rhetoric and writing in the English Department at the University of Arizona. He is a member of the Arizona Bar on inactive status.

Harold C. “Hal” Warnock (1912-1997) was a member of the Arizona Bar for over sixty years. He was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He was a founding member of the Arizona Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates and served as President of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. He was twice appointed by the Governor of the state as Co-Chair of the Arizona Commission on Uniform Laws, and was appointed in 1991 as Arizona contact person for the Joint Editorial Board of the Uniform Probate Code Commission. Besides writing as a practicing lawyer, he published articles about the law and nonfiction about his experiences playing baseball for the St. Louis Browns in the 1930s.

Genaral Table of Contents

Read the full table of contents . . . (PDF format)


1 Introduction
The Authors
Statement of the Case: “Effective Legal Writing” Should be Distinguished from “Good Legal Writing”
Prepare to Write Effectively: Habits of Mind and Practice
Writing and Effective Billing

2 Writing through the Day
Specific Kinds of Letters

3 Writing through the Trial
Writing toward the Trial
Writing toward the Settlement
Writing to Ask the Judge for an Order: Motions
Writing at the End of Trial
Writing to Keep Clients Satisfied

4 Writing through the Appeal
Making the Record
The Effective Notice of Appeal
Designating the Record
The Brief
The Appellee’s Brief
The Reply Brief

5 Writing for the Future: Contracts and Wills and Trusts
The Memorandum of Contract
Wills and Trusts

6 Rewrite for Effectiveness
Rewrite to Develop Thinking
Rewrite Drafts for Readers

Checklist Inventory
Index of Topics

Choose Format and Buy Securely from Parlor Press

Price: $20.00