Legal reasoning and legal writing. Structure, strategy, and style

Legal reasoning and legal writing. Structure, strategy, and style


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Legal reasoning and legal writing. Structure, strategy, and style

Students learn legal reasoning and legal writing better when the two are taught together than when they are taught separately. The act of writing forces the writer to test thought in order to express it fully and precisely, and thus complex analysis cannot be said to be complete until it becomes written and written well.

This text is designed to help students learn how to make professional writing decisions, how to construct proof of a conclusion of law, and how to develop their own processes of writing. The writing process is introduced in Chapter 6 and developed more fully in the remainder of the book.

Part I of the text introduces students to basic concepts of law as well as judicial opinions and methods of briefing them. Legal writing in general is introduced in Part II. Part III explains how to write an office memorandum. A chapter on client interviewing is included for those programs that provide an assignment's facts through a simulated interview. Part IV explains general writing skills, including organizing proof of a conclusion of law, us- ing authority, analyzing facts, and using paragraphing, style, and citations. Part V covers two art forms that are together only because they do not readily fit elsewhere: client letters and law school examinations. Part VI in- troduces the advocacy skills of theory development, argumentation, and accurate handling of procedural postures. Writing a persuasive motion memorandum is covered in Part VII; appellate briefs in Part VIII; and oral argument in Part IX.

On the inside covers of the book is a list of questions that students should ask themselves while working through successive drafts of a document. Each question represents a recurring problem in student writing — the sort that a teacher marks over and over again on student papers. Students can use these questions to make sure they have attended to likely problems. And teachers can use them to ease the burden of writing so many comments on student papers. Rather than write the same or a similar comment over and over again on students' papers, a teacher can circle problem passages and write a question number ("9-A," for example) in the margin. The inside front and back covers will give a page number in the text,  where the student will find a complete explanation of the problem, what causes it, and how to fix it.

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