Thursday, April 11, 2013

Scoring Points: A Review of Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation's Top Advocates by Russ Guberman

The point of Point Made can be easily summarized: good legal writing differs little from good writing in general, especially in the particulars of getting to the point with pith and clarity. Guberman shows and tells us this through myriad examples. Indeed, I think that one has to read this book in small bits, otherwise it suffers from the sins that it criticizes: too much quotation! However, as a "how-to" book with a lot of models, it can prime the brain for a better effort. Most legal writing is, in the memorable words of Gerry Spence, "word gravel". Younger lawyers, especially, seem to want to hide behind nondescript words and phrases, attempting to hide their advocacy. As these models demonstrate through Guberman's helpful classifications and his own pithy descriptions, legal writing needn't prove so awful. If you do write legal briefs (or memos), this book may not be the first I'd recommend (probably one of Bryan Garner's would gain that nod), but it would make the cut for helping develop these crucial skills. 

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