About the Book
The Mindful Legal Writer: Mastering Predictive and Persuasive Writing
Heidi K. Brown
Brooklyn Law School
2016. 672 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4548-3617-9.
With Teacher's Manual, Weekly Materials, Sample Assignments.
About the Book
Combining two groundbreaking texts for predictive and persuasive writing in one volume, The Mindful Legal Writer: Mastering Predictive and Persuasive Writing, raises awareness of important elements in the legal writing process—such as pacing, purpose, context, analysis, logic, and clarity. Progressing from a mastery of the basics to a professional level of legal communication in client representation and advocacy, Heidi K. Brown’s classroom-tested pedagogy illustrates the pivotal role of written communication for lawyers.
The first half of the book—which focuses on predictive legal analysis—offers law students and junior lawyers a step-by-step approach to learning the “scientific” framework of written predictive legal analysis, while at the same time encouraging them to consider the “artistic” nature of communicating through the written word. This book also proposes that students consider the basics of the concept of “mindfulness” in the legal writing context—a recent movement in legal education to encourage law students to “be fully conscious and aware of one’s actions and surroundings,” and “pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment” (according to mindfulness advocate, Jon Kabat-Zinn) in order to be a better legal counselor to clients. This mindfulness concept applies to understanding: (1) how one’s writing fits into the big picture of a legal case, (2) how to approach each new legal writing assignment, (3) how to read the law, (4) how to process and synthesize complex legal rules, (5) how to express one’s thoughts clearly through the written word, and (6) how to accept feedback and critique during the editing process.
The book starts by giving new legal writers context about how legal writing contributes to the legal system as a whole, and then walks them through the various stages of an objective/predictive legal writing project in the form of a legal memorandum weighing the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s case and predicting an outcome. The second half of the book shifts to persuasive legal writing, setting in context the types of persuasive documents lawyers write—in both the transactional and litigation arenas.