Legal Writing Exercises: A Practical Guide to Clear and Persuasive Writing for Lawyers

by E. Scott Fruehwald

(ABA Publishing 2014)

The book is intended for anyone who wants to improve their writing.  The book begins with an Introduction that presents the general principles of clear and effective writing. Then, the remaining chapters deal with the details of editing, progressing from editing sentences to large-scale organization. Chapter Two concerns active and passive sentences and writing with verbs. Chapter Three involves editing for wordiness. Chapter Four teaches emphasis, clarity, and specificity, while Chapter Five shows how to combine sentences and edit paragraphs. Chapter Six covers organizing paragraphs and creating coherence. Chapter Seven shows how to write a small-scale paradigm, and Chapter Eight discusses large- and medium-scale organization. The book concludes with review exercises and a glossary.

Available at the ABA Webstore


Communication is the key to success. No matter how brilliant a lawyer's ideas may be, those ideas will remain unheard if the lawyer cannot communicate them effectively. Consequently, legal writing is a fundamental skill for lawyers and law students.

Legal writing is specialized writing; it has terminology, techniques, and forms of its own. However, legal writing is not a foreign language. It begins with the same fundamentals as other types of writing, and adopts those fundamentals to the needs of the law.  It should have the same clarity, logic, and comprehensibility as other types of writing. This website's purpose is to develop the reader's legal writing skills, so that he or she can effectively communicate with others in the language of the law

Editing is an essential part of writing; few authors create a perfect first draft. Many of the exercises on this website concern the details of editing. However, editing also involves certain general principles. First, you should edit a draft several times, concentrating on different aspects of writing. For example, the first time through you might focus on whether the ideas are laid out in a logical order and whether the ideas flow together. On the second time through, you might concentrate on wordiness, overuse of the passive voice, and awkward constructions.

A key to editing is to read the paper aloud, listening closely to what you are reading. When you read a paper aloud, you will uncover wordiness, awkwardness, choppiness, and lack of coherence and flow. Also, try to stand in your readers' shoes, realizing that your readers will be reading your writing for the first time.

Finally, proofreading is a vital part of writing. Misspellings, typos, and bluebooking errors subtract from the effect of your writing. When a judge finds numerous proofreading errors in a brief, she will assume that the legal research and reasoning is also sloppy. You should proofread any paper you intend for others several times.

Also by E. Scott Fruehwald

Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer (2015) (new)

Download sample chapter here.  Book website here.


Other Materials

Exercises and Aricles 

***Think Like A Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals by E. Scott Fruehwald (ABA Publishing 2013)***(new) 

*Available at ABA Webstore (Best Seller)* *Download the Preface* *The Theory Behind My Book, Think Like A Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals*

Teaching Law Students How to Become Metacognitive Thinkers

How to Become an Expert Teacher by Understanding the Neurobiology of Learning

Review: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

 Responding to Counterarguments and Distinguishing Cases in Persuasive Writing

Legal Writing, Professionalism, and Legal Ethics

Legal Skills Prof Blog Featured Articles

The Biggest Problem in Legal Education: The Mismatch Between
How Law Schools Teach Their Students and What Lawyers Do In Practice

Professor Richard Epstein on Legal Education: A Reply

What Law Students Can Do To Further Legal Education Reform

Thinking-Aloud Techniques to Develop Problem-Solving Skills

A Novel Approach To Legal Education's Problems: The "Langdellian Bargain"

More On The Influence Of The Langdellian Tradition And Langdellian Bargain On Contemporary Legal Education

They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Law Schools That Have Adopted Significant Educational Reforms

What Law Firms and Attorneys Can Do to Help Further Legal Education Reform

Explanatory Synthesis

 The Two Faces of Teaching Professionalism

Review: Discovery Practice by David I.C. Thomson

Review: Contracts: A Context and Practice Casebook by Michael Hunter Schwartz and Denise Riebe

Teaching Law: A Reply to Stanley Fish

Improving Legal Education by Improving Casebooks

Do We Need To Change Our Teaching Methods?

Responses to New York Times Editorial on Legal Education

Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Website

Legal Skills Prof Blog 


Legal Writing Institute (LWI)
Association of Legal Writing Directors (ALWD)
Legal Writing Prof Blog
Plain Writing Association
Neurojurisprudence Blog
Barger on Legal Writing
Legal Writing Pro
Inside Straight: Mark Herrmann
Volokh Conspiracy
Prawfs Blawg
Law & Neuroscience Blog
Neuroethics & Law Blog

Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers

Law School 2.0

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning

Center for Excellence in Law Teaching

The Legal Whiteboard

Law Schooled Forum

This Website was created by Dr. Scott Fruehwald.

Bio: Professor Fruehwald has taught at the law schools of the University of Alabama, Roger Williams University, and Hofstra University. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Louisville School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the Law Review. He also has an S.J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York. He has published over 20 articles on law and behavioral biology, conflicts of law, federalism, and copyright. His book, Choice of Law for American Courts: A Multilateralist Method, received Hofstra University's Stessin Prize for Outstanding Scholarship in 2002.  He is a contributing editor to the Legal Skills Prof Blog, where he discusses legal education, legal skills, and other legal issues. He is currently writing a book on legal education.

 Available Here


Law & Human Behavior: A Study in Behavioral Biology, Neuroscience, and the Law by Edwin Scott Fruehwald  (Vandeplas Publishing 2011) (Barnes & Noble)


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