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Legal Writing & Drafting: Print & Online Resources   Tags: article, brief, citation guides, dictionary, legal drafting, legal writing, memo, plain english, style, thesaurus, usage  

Highlights resources available at/via Tulane libraries as well as on free, reliable websites. Feel free to contact me whenever you need more help with legal writing & drafting.
Last Updated: Feb 25, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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What & Why?

Legal writing (e.g., pleadings, memos, & briefs) usually deals with past events. And legal drafting (e.g., statutes, wills, & contracts) usually deals with future events. Both are vital, complementary skills every law student should start developing posthaste to become effective practitioners postgraduation. So with that in mind, use the tools–mostly books not available online–featured in this LibGuide.


Hong Kong's Top Judge Discusses Legal Writing (part 1 of 2)



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Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed.) - Bryan A. Garner, ed.
Call Number: KF156 .B53 2014
Since 1891. Latest edition of most widely cited lawbook in English-speaking world. [Also, on Westlaw.] Edited by world's leading legal lexicographer. Has more than 50,000 terms, including 7,500 new entries & 16,000 new definitions. See page xxx before using. Also has 9 appendices, including Appendix B with 4,000 Latin legal maxims translated into English.

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Oxford English Dictionary (2d ed., 20 vols.) - J.A. Simpson & E.S.C. Weiner, eds.
Call Number: PE1625 .O87 1991 [Reserve]
a/k/a "the OED." Aims "to present in alphabetical series the words that have formed the English vocabulary from the earliest records down to the present day, with all the relevant facts concerning their form, sense-history, pronunciation, & etymology." Has around 290,500 main entries. Also, updated online version available via Howard-Tilton Memorial Library website.

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Wolters Kluwer Bouvier Law Dictionary (compact ed.) - Stephen Michael Sheppard, ed.
Call Number: KF156 .W65 2011 [Reference]
Since 1839. 21st-century reboot of 1st law dictionary written for American lawyers. Earlier editions used by legal legends like John Marshall, Abraham Lincoln, & Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Has over 8,000 entries defining over 10,000 terms. Arranged by idea & topic as well as by alphabet. See page xi before using.



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Advocacy Words: A Thesaurus (3d ed.) - William Drennan
Call Number: KD50 .D745 2013 [Reference]
Expanded edition: 27% longer than before. Easy-to-use format. Has around 2,000 words arranged alphabetically in 2 parts: favorable-critical (part 1) & critical-favorable (part 2). Look in 1 column & see corresponding advocacy word(s) in opposite column. No cross-references.

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Burton's Legal Thesaurus (5th ed.) - William C. Burton
Call Number: KF156 .B856 2013 [Reference]
Latest edition of highly praised book. 1st & most comprehensive legal thesaurus ever published. Has 11,000 critical-to-know legal terms, synonyms, definitions, & parts of speech. Main entries arranged alphabetically. See page xiii before using. Also has comprehensive index.

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Roget's International Thesaurus (7th ed.) - Barbara Ann Kipfer, ed.
Call Number: PE1591 .R73 2010 [Reference]
Not law-specific, but still helpful to legal writers & drafters. Latest edition of venerable & innovative reference book. Has 464,000 words & phrases. Main entries not arranged alphabetically, but according to categories of ideas. 1,075 categories total. See page xii before using. Also has comprehensive index.



This information was published as a LibGuide by Roy L. Sturgeon in October 2015 for Tulane University Law School in Louisiana.


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