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This section of the guide lists selected resources that are available for free on the Internet. Many of the sites cited here include numerous links to additional free resources.
Associations and Organizations
ALWD (Association of Legal Writing Directors)
ALWD is an organization of legal writing program directors from the United States, Canada and Australia. Its website includes useful resources related to legal writing education, particularly for those interested in comparing programs from school to school.
Legal Writing Institute (LWI)
LWI is a large organization of law professors, so its website resources are aimed at those who teach legal writing. Most, including a syllabus bank and plagiarism and grading resources, are grouped under the "Member Resources" link.
Scribes (The American Society of Legal Writers)
Scribes (The American Society of Legal Writers) strives to improve legal writing and thereby "spread the growing scorn for legal writing that is archaic, turgid, obscure and needlessly dull." It offers yearly awards to law review notes/comments, briefs, and books that further its cause. Choose the "Media" tab for links to publications and videos.
General and "How To" Resources
"How To Write Good Legal Stuff"
Written by well-known UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh and Indiana University law professor J. Alexander Tanford, this slightly tongue in cheek guide includes concrete examples of bad legal writing and offers specific advice for improving them.
75 Online Legal Writing Resources ...
As its title suggests, this April, 2010 post on the Going Paperless (One Lawyer's Quest to Make Work Easier) blog is a lengthy list of links to legal writing resources. It was originally compiled for summer associates at the Young Conaway law firm in Delaware.
Drafting Legal Documents (NARA)
This portion of the National Archives and Records Administration's site comes from the Office of the Federal Register. Its purpose is to offer guidance in the preparation of regulatory documents, but the general ideas there may also be helpful to those drafting mock legislation.
"Painting with Print" Article
A 2004 article in the Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors offered novel ideas about using typography and layout conventions to improve the impact of legal documents. This online copy is posted on the website of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
"The Elements of Clunk" (from The Chronicle Review)
This Ben Yagoda article is about collegiate writing, but his observations about common errors and the need for streamlined writing have broad appeal.
Although The Bluebook is not available online for free, the "Blue Tips" and "Bluebook Updates" sections of its website offer useful supplemental information about legal citation questions.
Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (LII)
Posted on Cornell's Legal Information Institute (LII) website, this guide aims to explain the purpose of legal citation norms and to provide examples. Cross references to the Bluebook and the ALWD Citation Manual are included.
Bluebook Abbreviations of Law Review Titles
The Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington School of Law maintains this handy list of Bluebook abbreviations for the titles of legal journals and reviews.
Bluebook 101 (U of W Law Library)
This page from the Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington offers some helpful hints and shortcuts for finding and applying Bluebook rules. Several short PowerPoint presentations are included.
Baby Blue's Manual of Legal Citation
An open implementation of the Uniform System of Citation, not affiliated with or authorized by the Harvard Law Review Association
Legal Writing Prof Blog
Part of the Law Professor Blogs Network, this entry is the closest thing there is to a "must read" on issues of interest to legal writing professionals. Students can also benefit from perusing the posts for links to examples of good and bad legal writing.
The author of this blog, Wayne Schiess, is on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Law. His blog posts manage to combine succinct practical tips with a scholar's dedication to the finer points of the subject.
The (New) Legal Writer Blog
In this blog, a New Orleans appellate lawyer shares examples of bad writing and poor word choices that have annoyed him. In the process, he shares some useful tips about legal writing. Also helpful is the "Legal-writing blogroll" list that appears on his main page.
The Trial Practice Tips Weblog (Legal Writing Category)
You will get a practitioner's view of legal writing matters from this section of a Missouri trial lawyer's blog. It is not updated very frequently, but it is worth a look, particularly for the links to articles about legal writing, including several that appeared in the Illinois Bar Journal.