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About the Book

The Art of Advocacy: Briefs, Motions, and Writing Strategies of America's Best Lawyers

Noah A. Messing, Yale University

2013.  Approx. 320 pages.  ISBN: 978-1-4548-1838-0.
 

About the Book

Students crave examples of how to write effectively, and Exemplary Legal Writing satisfies with a powerful “show-don’t-tell” approach. The text thoughtfully compiles approximately 160 short, stellar excerpts of legal advocacy and analysis and demonstrates vital principles by using documents from exciting, timely cases: the WikiLeaks controversy, the Deepwater Horizon litigation, the Independent Counsel’s investigation of President Clinton, Facebook’s battle with the Winklevoss twins, and the prosecution of Bernie Madoff.  Detailed annotations give insight into what makes each document so effective, and each chapter ends with one or two unannotated examples for in-class discussion and analysis. For year-long courses, this book is a stellar option for second-semester students.  Mirroring the sophistication of doctrinal textbooks, Exemplary Legal Writing stresses strategic choices and the art of building compelling substantive arguments. The text focuses on briefs and motions¯developing a theme, framing issues, and isolating examples of specific doctrinal, textual, and policy arguments. Many chapters are devoted to the documents lawyers write most often, such as e-mails, letters, memos, and motions. An innovative layout helps students engage with the material. Exemplary Legal Writing contains never-published “private and confidential” 1957 advice on written advocacy from the legendary Karl Llewellyn. A comprehensive Teacher’s Manual provides sample syllabi, additional discussion points, discussion points on the unannotated examples at the end of each chapter, and exercises.

Features of Exemplary Legal Writing:

  • employs a “show-don’t-tell,” example-driven approach
  • compiles approximately 160 short, stellar excerpts of legal advocacy and analysis
  • demonstrates vital principles with documents from exciting, timely cases: 
  • the WikiLeaks controversy
  • the Deepwater Horizon litigation 
  • the Independent Counsel’s investigation of President Clinton
  • Facebook’s battle with the Winklevoss twins
  • the prosecution of Bernie Madoff,  and more
  • detailed annotations give insight into what makes each document effective
  • short introductions explain the context and basic facts of the case for which each exemplar was written
  • chapters end with one or two unannotated examples for in-class discussion and analysis
  • for year-long courses, a stellar option for second-semester students 
  • stresses strategic choices and the art of building compelling substantive arguments
  • focuses on briefs and motions: 
  • developing a theme
  • framing issues 
  • isolating examples of specific arguments¯doctrinal, textual, and policy
  • example-based chapters show documents lawyers write most often (e-mails, letters, memos, motions, etc.)
  • innovative layout
  • contains the legendary Karl Llewellyn’s never-published “private and confidential” advice on written advocacy
  • comprehensive Teacher’s Manual 
  • sample syllabi 
  • additional discussion points
  • discussion points on the unannotated examples at the end of each chapter 
  • exercises