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Writing to Win: The Legal Writer [Format Kindle]

Steven D. Stark

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Descriptions du produit


Introduction to the New Edition

Good writing is timeless. Except, of course, when it’s not.

Periodically over the last ten years, I thought about revising my original book on legal and professional writing—Writing to Win: The Legal Writer. But as egocentric as it might seem, for a while I never found much I would change. Sure, some of the references marked the book as a product of a slightly earlier time—the references to the O. J. Simpson trial, Kenneth Starr, or “vice-president Al Gore.” But for the most part, the book seemed to illustrate the maxim that the principles of good writing don’t change all that much over time. A good brief in 1965—much less in the late 1990s when the book was written—is still a good brief today. Ditto for complaint writing, contracts, and even judicial opinions.

And yet: In a variety of ways, writing in many parts of the legal and business worlds has changed more since that book was written about a decade ago than in any comparable period over the last five centuries. “We shape our tools and then our tools shape us,” wrote the media theorist Marshall McLuhan a generation ago. Technological changes transform not only the methods of communication but their style as well. The invention of the printing press centuries ago not only altered the dissemination of information in Western cultures, it changed the way people spoke and the way they wrote—and there were constant complaints about it then, just like now.

In our time, of course, the recent development of computers, the Internet, and then smart phones (and all their manifestations, such as the iPad) has begun to do much the same thing. It’s undeniable that writing within the office and for clients is dramatically different than it was a decade ago. Whether we recognize it or not, that means that legal analysis and the ways we approach business problems have shifted as well.

These revolutionary changes are one of the subjects of this new edition of the book. In part, that makes this volume a primer on how to communicate successfully in this brave new world. Writing effective e-mails and shorter memos are skills very much at odds with the tools we acquire in school—where the goal is usually to be expansive and detailed as we display our knowledge in all its minutiae. These new forms of communication are also very different from the written and oral tools one needed to master to be a good lawyer or executive, circa 1990 and before.

Yet it’s not just these new forms one needs to master. Litigation and contract writing may not have begun to change much since the rise of e-culture. But they will, since it is inevitable that these documents will also be read differently as the years pass, as will even judicial opinions. Some courts now require e-filings. Justices Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan read briefs on either an iPad or a Kindle, and they will soon be joined by many others.

It means, too, that a lawyer’s role and habits of mind will change as they have begun to do already. If the Internet, Twitter, and Facebook are altering the way we do our jobs and how well we do them, they’re changing the way we think as well. It was Professor Kingsfield in The Paper Chase who kept dwelling on the importance of “thinking like a lawyer.” How that’s changed at the beginning of the twenty-first century because of these technological shifts is the subject of this new edition too.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this new focus reinforces many of the fundamental principles that writing teachers and books (including my previous volume) have been stressing for decades—use strong verbs or be concise—though the rationales for doing so have changed somewhat. Yet other suggestions are novel, as one might expect at the dawn of a new epoch.

This updated edition also has an increased spotlight on creative writing as it relates to the presentation of facts and argument, as well as a new section on how affidavits need to be better drafted so that they reflect the true voice of the person they are supposed to represent. And, throughout the text, there are new ideas and examples of both what to do and avoid.

There is an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times. Whether it’s a curse or not, we live in just such an era. So let’s begin to figure out how to adapt—the sooner the better.

Présentation de l'éditeur

From a master teacher, a results-oriented approach to powerful legal writing that communicates, that persuades--and that wins.

Of all the professions, the law has the most deserved reputation for opaque, jargon-clogged writing. Legal education, which focuses on judicial opinions, not instruments of persuasion, is partly to blame. Yet forceful writing is one of the most potent weapons of legal advocacy. In Writing to Win, Steve Stark, a former teacher of writing at Harvard Law, who has taught thousands of aspiring and practicing lawyers, has written the only book on the market that applies the universal principles of vigorous prose to the job of making a case--and winning it.

Writing to Win focuses on the writing of lawyers, not judges, and includes dozens of examples of effective (and ineffective) real-life writing--as well as models drawn from advertising, journalism, and fiction. It deals with the problems lawyers face in writing, from organization to strengthening and editing prose; teaches ways of improving arguments; addresses litigation and technical writing in all its forms; and covers the writing attorneys must perform in their practice, from memos and letters to briefs and contracts. Each chapter opens with a succinct set of rules for easy reference.

No other legal writing book on the market is as practical, as focused on results, as well written as Writing to Win.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3278 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 322 pages
  • Editeur : Three Rivers Press; Édition : Revised ed. (24 avril 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B0055PI68S
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°591.017 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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Commentaires en ligne

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Amazon.com: 4.6 étoiles sur 5  31 commentaires
22 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Surprisingly funny 7 décembre 2001
Par Linda Talisman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Got this book for my stepson, & got a chance to look at it when we visited him at college. As I expected, it's a good book for anyone who wants to improve their writing, whether they are interested in law or not. What I didn't expect is that it was funny. I found myself laughing, sometimes out loud, every few pages.
Highly recommended.
35 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Quite an outstanding book 28 juillet 2000
Par Christian A. Fisanick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Jaded from having read almost every major treatise on legal writing written in the past twenty years, I was surprised by how much I liked Professor Stark's book. It's practical, comprehensive, (I especially liked that he even gave advice about how to write reply briefs, amicus briefs, and e-mail, subjects rarely considered elsewhere. Bravo!), bathroom-readable, and funny. (He titles a chapter "Yes, Virginia, you can even make patent applications more readable by studying board games and cookbooks,") For the price, it's an excellent value, especially when compared to Bryan A. Garner's bloated, ego-driven behemoth "The Winning Brief," which, while making good points, also includes several idiotic ones. Unlike Garner, Stark never succombs to trying to be different simply to stand out from the crowd. For that, he gets my highest praise.
19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Taking Lawyers from A to Z 12 avril 2000
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Steve Stark's Writing to Win is a thought provoking guide to legal writing. It provides an assessment of writing in daily practice, litigation and even offers advise on drafting appeals. The book is a great supplement for the law student or the practicing attorney. Stark encourages the legal writer to use linear patterns to get from point A to Z without losing anyone. Writing to Win emphasizes that good legal writing is equivalent to the lazy summer story-telling evenings of my South Louisiana childhood in that both focus on providing every detail necessary to capture and keep the audience's attention.
24 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Short And Sweet, But Not The Best 6 février 2006
Par Andrew Kennedy - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Stark takes on the whole legal writing proces in a breezy style. Stark was a litigator once, and it shows. But that was years ago, and I think you can tell. In contrast, I liked Bryan Garner's "The Winning Brief" a lot more, in part because Garner gives real-world examples of what to do and what not to do. Stark tells more than shows. As a litigator myself, I find it more useful if an author shows me an example of what not to do and how to correct it. I gave it three stars.

This book is very useful if you are a law student or a young lawyer. It gives simple rules and is easy to read. Some of his advice should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, he believes that briefs should not be written by several lawyers--but most young lawyers have little choice in that regard. Also, Garner's book (which is much longer and more detailed) gives much more advanced techniques. Overall, it is a very solid and readable resource for legal writers. It just is not the last word.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not for lawyers only--If you write for your living this is very much worth considering 17 octobre 2012
Par Epictetus (Hong Kong) - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
"Remember that most writing difficulties are organizational difficulties." This is one of the opening statements in the main text of the book, and how true that is!

Many of the suggestions in this book are well known to professional writers, whether lawyers, planners, analysts or military staff officers, such as to start by writing your conclusions. However, the author puts them all together in a concise and fresh package. It is useful even if one has learnt these things to be reminded of them.

Some of the text is specific to lawyers, such as "Six elements to remember when composing affidavits". You do not have to know what an affidthingumany is to find this useful if you ever have to take notes in a meeting.

Some of the advice may be a matter of opinion, such as to write in always in the second person rather than the third, because this "makes prose easier for a reader to absorb." But whether or not you agree with this postmodern style, such sweeping statements don't affect the value of this book to you. (Of course there are other readers who find that being told how they think and feel makes prose harder to absorb, but there you go. And we shall not put too much effort into pointing out that the author did not write "makes prose easier for you to absorb.")

In short, money well spent, and it's already helped me improve my writing today of a training film script.

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