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Carolyn Elefant

Evan, thanks for the great resources. However, what I'd love to see are examples of great legal writing in briefs. Not just serviceable or workmanlike (which is how one of my former bosses complimented my work) but stuff that really stands out.

Carolyn Elefant


Carolyn: Good idea. I'll try to do that soon. In the meantime, Garner's "The Winning Brief," which I've written about before, has a lot of real-life examples.

Celia Elwell

You might want to look at the articles written by Kenneth Oettle

and Raymond Ward's blog, the (new) legal writer at

and these links:

Like Evan, I also recommend Garner. But I also like Judge Painter's book, "The Legal Writer," and Aldisert's "Winning on Appeal."


If you want to see great legal writing, just go to the U.S. Solicitor General's website ( and start reading. It doesn't get much better than Seth Waxman, Ken Starr, and Ted Olson. It's fun to read their briefs, as they all have unique writing styles. I also suggest reading anything by Miguel Estrada, formerly with OSG and now a partner at a large law firm. When I had unfetted Westlaw access in law school, I'd go to CTA-BRIEFS or SCT-BRIEFS and read everything by Estrada. Also, go to and read some of the briefs by partners at Mayer. Whenever I'm writing a brief in an unfamiliar jurisdiction and want to get a "feel" for how things are done, I see whether the lawyers at Mayer filed in a brief in that jurisdiction.


Mike: Great comment, thanks.

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