It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Ross Guberman‘s work. I reviewed his first book, Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates here (and the 2nd edition here). I still think it’s probably the best legal writing book out there. If you’re looking to improve your writing, it’s worth owning – regardless whether you’re a lawyer or not.
Now, Guberman has a new book out, Point Taken – How To Write Like The World’s Best Judges. Just as Point Made was an instruction manual on writing briefs for lawyers, Point Taken is an instruction manual on writing opinions for judges. While I’m no judge, and unlikely to ever be one, I still found the book to be informative and helpful, just as with Guberman’s previous work.
Point Taken follows a similar format to Point Made – as opposed to merely telling the reader how to write well – it shows them with numerous examples taken from some of the most well written opinions in history and today. Then, Guberman breaks down the examples and offers tactical advice for applying the techniques to one’s own writing.
The first half of the book is devoted to technicalities of crafting the opening of an opinion, the facts, and the legal analysis. The second half of the book is devoted to “style.” Parallelism, types of transitions, rhetorical devices, analogies, and more are all covered.
For an example of how this plays out, here is the introduction on laying out the facts of a case:
Guberman then goes on to break down various techniques used to craft a memorable facts section of an opinion, using examples from the opinions listed. Just as with Point Made, the reader is exposed to many opinions they would have likely never have read. The quality of writing on display is excellent and varied. The lessons given can help any writer – whether judge, lawyers, or layperson.
Improving your writing is of paramount importance. Writing is thinking. The better your writing, the more clear your thoughts. If you want to communicate effectively, you have to work at it. Beyond that, your writing needs to be engaging. Guberman quotes Lord Denning, which I will reproduce here:
No matter how sound your reasoning, if it is presented in a dull and turgid setting, your hearers – or your readers – will turn aside. They will not stop to listen. They will flick over the pages. But if it is presented in a lively and attractive setting, they will sit up and take notice. They will listen as if spellbound. They will read with engrossment. – Lord Denning, The Family Story 216 (1982)
All writers wish to be so fortunate. And while nothing will get you there except for continuous writing, Guberman’s books can certainly help you along the way.
Highly recommended.Click Here To Buy It Now