Highlighting new books at the Law Library, part 1

For the next few weeks we will be highlighting new books at the Law Library which may prove useful to you.  Today’s focus is on a superb guide to legal composition. 

Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review
By Eugene Volokh
New York, NY: Foundation Press, 2010
Law Study Skills Collection KF250 .V65 2010

Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review by Eugene Volokh is written for law students doing scholarly writing, and provides detailed instructions for every aspect of the writing process.  Major sections in the book cover seminar term papers, researching, writing, using evidence correctly, cite-checking others’ articles, publishing and publicizing, entering writing competitions, and getting on law review.  This edition also includes examples drawn from student notes, and detailed explanations of the examples – what worked, what didn’t, and how they can be improved.  It has three useful appendixes as well: clumsy words and phrases, answers to exercises, and sample cover letters (for such things as sending your article to law reviews). 

This new edition of Academic Legal Writing has gotten rave reader reviews.  One reviewer had these words of praise for the book:   “Unlike many how-to books in any field, Academic Legal Writing doesn’t waste time recycling conventional wisdom or dabbling too much in abstract talk of standards. It is full of fresh insights and eminently practical advice about the whole process of academic legal writing, from thesis selection to publication. An under-praised but no less valuable advantage of Volokh’s book is that it channels a genuine enthusiasm for legal scholarship that I found completely contagious. Writing a law review article is a grueling, difficult, and sometimes tedious process. I can be sure that the quality of my article improved drastically simply because Academic Legal Writing kept me motivated by holding up the image of a superb article and its value to the writer and to the scholarly community.”

If you are currently working on your seminar writing requirement, graduation writing requirement, or law journal note, Academic Legal Writing will be an excellent resource for you.  Also consider reading it if you are a 1L interested in joining one of the law journals on campus, as it offers information about write-on competitions, including what you should do before the competition starts and where to focus your energy once you begin writing.