LawProse Lesson #103

LawProse Lesson #103

What’s the lawyer’s single best source for typography and document design? ANSWER: All the most important points of typography are covered in LawProse’s Advanced Legal Writing & Editing course. Professor Garner has also written a good deal about the subject in Garner’s Modern American Usage, The Winning Brief, The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, and Legal Writing in Plain English. But the very best in-depth treatment is to be found in Matthew Butterick’s Typography for Lawyers (2010). Traditionally, lawyers haven’t been greatly concerned about the look of their documents. Typewriters limited writing to monospaced fonts (such as Courier), using underlining for emphasis, and single or double spacing. But with the advent of word processing and all its options, document design has become an invaluable tool for persuading your reader — think judge — from the first glance. In his superb Typography for Lawyers, Matthew Butterick sets the standard for designing legal documents. From fonts to nonbreaking spaces to block quotations to the one-forward-space rule, Butterick gives clear, sensible instruction. If you don’t have it, get it. If you have it, follow it. You and your readers will be glad you did.

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You'll also learn what doesn't work and why—know-how gathered through Professor Garner's unique experience in training lawyers at the country's top law firms, state and federal courts, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.

Professor Garner gives you the keys to make the most of your writing aptitude—in letters, memos, briefs, and more. The seminar covers five essential skills for persuasive writing:

  • framing issues that arrest the readers' attention;
  • cutting wordiness that wastes readers' time;
  • using transitions deftly to make your argument flow;
  • quoting authority more effectively; and
  • tackling your writing projects more efficiently.

He teaches dozens of techniques that make a big difference. Most important, he shows you what doesn't work—and why—and how to cultivate skillfulness.

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