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The Legal Writing Teaching Assistant:

The Law Student's Guide to Good Writing


Professor Marc A. Grinker

Copyright (c) 1994 by Marc A. Grinker.

Version 1.1


This guide provides explanations of the rules of grammar, punctuation, and good writing that are most important to legal writing. It also includes exercises (with answers) on each of the topics discussed. Because efficiency in use is an important goal, it is by necessity not a complete reference to good writing. For such a reference, you may want to consult one of the commonly utilized style guides, such as the Chicago Manual of Style. You will also find help in the required legal writing text, Richard K. Neumann, Jr., Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing (2d ed. 1994).

This guide has three parts plus a table of contents. Part I contains explanations of the rules relating to each topic listed in the table of contents; Part II provides a series of exercises testing your knowledge of those topics; and Part III provides answers to those exercises.

A computer-software version of this guide is available on the Kentnet system. If you are working in Windows, you may read the text of this document on line. You also may have this text running while you are writing a memorandum, brief, or other paper in a Windows word processor, such as WordPerfect for Windows. Thus, you can easily switch from your word processing file to this document, and back again, if you find you need an explanation of a rule of writing while you are preparing your paper. The exercises contained in this guide also are available on the Kentnet system in an interactive program. The program will ask you to rewrite the exercises on your screen. It will tell you whether you have rewritten them correctly and, if you have not, it will provide you with the correct response. You will find detailed instructions for use of the computer-software version on Kentnet.

Version 1.1 of this guide is the first edition, created specifically for use by the Chicago-Kent College of Law first-year class entering in August 1994. If you have comments or suggestions for improving the guide, please send them by e-mail to the author, MGRINKER on Profnet. Your input will be sincerely appreciated.