LawProse Lesson #341: A Lesson from Professor Lawrence Friedman.

LawProse Lesson #341: A Lesson from Professor Lawrence Friedman.

In April, the acclaimed legal historian Lawrence Friedman of Stanford Law School celebrated his 90th birthday. We applaud his many contributions to legal literature.

In 1993, Friedman wrote an essay for the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, at the invitation of its founding editor, Bryan A. Garner. Here’s part of what Professor Friedman said then:

Style is inherently personal; we all have to work it out for ourselves. Only a handful of people can be great writers, with a great style. But—and here’s the hopeful part—anybody, I’m convinced, can be a good writer, if he or she works at it. One key to good writing is to be natural. Don’t try to write like somebody else. The second key to good writing is clarity and simplicity. All children are good writers: they write the way they talk, and what they communicate is direct, simple, unadorned, often charming or even insightful. Somehow they lose the knack as they grow older; and by the time these children have matured into law students (or later, into lawyers, jurists, and law professors), they seem incapable of producing anything but a thick, unreadable sludge.

The mission of the Scribes Journal has been to combat this unreadable sludge that surrounds us. In fact, that’s Bryan Garner’s main mission in life.

Join Bryan Garner this fall in “Advanced Legal Writing & Editing” to see how you can do your part—not only for your own but for your clients’ benefit.

Live seminars this year with Professor Bryan A. Garner: Advanced Legal Writing & Editing

Attend the most popular CLE seminar of all time. More than 215,000 people—including lawyers, judges, law clerks, and paralegals—have benefited since the early 1990s. You'll learn the keys to professional writing and acquire no-nonsense techniques to make your letters, memos, and briefs more powerful.

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.

Register to reserve your spot today.

Have you wanted to bring Professor Garner to teach your group? Contact us at for more information about in-house seminars.

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