The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, 3d edition, 2013
The Redbook had its genesis in repeated requests that Bryan Garner received from law firms wanting a style manual for their writers. Such guides are commonplace within specialties: book publishers have The Chicago Manual of Style, newspapers have the Associated Press Stylebook, dissertation writers have The MLA Style Manual, and so on.
A style manual ensures consistency by codifying the stylistic choices that reflect the judgment of professional editors. Once learned, the stylistic guidelines spare writers and editors from the hand-wringing that takes place when a fastidious writer or editor must deal with any one of the thousands of knotty questions that occur to an alert mind. Seemingly only alert minds even bother with these matters—hence, only alert minds write well or edit well. Style manuals are for those who seek to do that.
The third edition of The Redbook builds on the first two as a kind of “restatement” of legal style. The widespread adoption of the book has been gratifying. Even more gratifying has been the willingness of so many professional legal writers to act as contributors of ideas. The board of editorial advisers lent their talent and hard work by vetting the manuscript and offering voluminous suggestions for improvement.
If you’re editing something, you ought to know why your edits make sense. You should be able to justify every edit you make, even if it’s just a punctuation mark. The Redbook is intended to be the definitive guide for considering the soundness of your edits.