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About the Book

Synthesis: Legal Reading, Reasoning, and Communication, 5E

Front Cover - Synthesis: Legal Reading, Reasoning, and Communication, 5E

Fifth Edition

Deborah A. Schmedemann
Mitchell Hamline School of Law 

Christina L. Kunz
Mitchell Hamline School of Law

2017. 608 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4548-8650-1. 

Need the Fourth Edition instead? Click here. 

With Teacher's Manual.

About the Book

Synthesis: Legal Reading, Reasoning, and Communication, now in its fifth edition, offers in-depth discussion, step-by-step approaches, and varied examples to help students learn how to read, think, write, and converse as excellent and ethical lawyers do.

Hallmark features of Synthesis: Legal Reading, Reasoning, and Communication:

  • Explains how to read various types of legal authorities and how to conduct three forms of legal reasoning
  • Encompasses analytical writing in the form of objective memos, advice and demand letters, motion practice memoranda, and appellate briefs
  • Encompasses drafting of contracts and pleadings
  • Encompasses a wide range of lawyer conversations: interviewing and counseling clients, negotiation with opposing counsel, and oral arguments in trial and appellate court
  • Draws on four realistic sample cases, with a variety of legal issues and practice settings, for in-text examples and sample documents 
  • Incorporates ethical standards and cases throughout
  • Includes a wealth of study aids, such as diagrams, charts, questions for discussion, and pre-reading questions 
  • Presents process-oriented appendices on writing, composition, and citation
  • Provides a series of integrated exercises for guided student practice
  • Includes resources on a companion website:

Thoroughly updated, the Fifth Edition presents:

  • Three new chapters covering all-important, informal lawyer conversations: 
o Chapter 10: Interviewing the Client
o Chapter 11: Counseling the Client
o Chapter 15: Negotiating with Opposing Counsel

  • Test Your Understanding questions and answers at the end of each chapter to prime and reinforce understanding of key concepts
  • Sharper focus on four sample cases
  • Revision of the advocacy examples to focus on a single, cutting-edge constitutional issue and to include actual appellate briefs on that issue 
  • Deeper basis for ethics and rules discussion, with additional materials (including the new ABA non-discrimination rule) and questions for discussion
  • Diagrams at the beginning of each chapter presenting overarching themes

Preface / Sample Chapters