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The Pre-Writing Handbook for Law Students book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material
ISBN978-1-5310-1322-6
e-ISBN978-1-5310-1323-3

The Pre-Writing Handbook for Law Students

A Step-by-Step Guide

Second Edition

by Laura P. Graham, Miriam E. Felsenburg

2019 $29.00 160 pp paper

Tags: First Year, Law School Study Aids, Lawyering Skills/Study Aids, Legal Writing

Teacher's Manual available

Available on Kindle  Available on Kindle

Available on Redshelf  Available on Redshelf


The Pre-Writing Handbook for Law Students describes a detailed, systematic approach to the task of analyzing a legal problem. The Handbook is designed to help students focus on and become competent in the process of legal analysis that precedes their work on early legal writing products such as memos, case briefs, and other documents. The Handbook is designed with first-semester legal writing students in mind, but it is also suitable for use in academic support courses and in pre-law programs.

The Handbook teaches the process of legal analysis by walking students through a series of repeatable steps they can apply to any legal scenario. By practicing and internalizing these analytic steps, students will experience a smoother writing process that translates into a better written product.

Each chapter of the Handbook contains several useful features:

  • Frequent metacognitive “checkpoints”—text boxes that prompt students to pause or stop in their pre-writing work and assess their own efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Concrete examples of how the steps in the pre-writing process actually work in two fully developed recurring legal scenarios.
  • End-of-chapter recaps that summarize the desired results of the students’ work during each step of the pre-writing process.

The second edition includes three new Independent Practice Exercise sets (in addition to the one that appeared in the first edition). These Independent Practice Exercise sets reinforce the steps in the pre-writing process and encourage students to work on their own to internalize those steps. The Independent Practice Exercise sets, which increase in complexity, are ideal for classwork, for out-of-class assignments, or as vehicles for graded writing assignments.

The Teacher's Manual includes advice on how to incorporate the Handbook's new approach into an existing first-semester legal writing course; complete keys to all of the exercises within the text; pre-writing worksheets for each scenario and Independent Practice Exercise set; and samples of written products (objective memos, trial briefs, demand letters, and/or client letters) for use with the recurring scenarios and the Independent Practice Exercise sets. The thorough content of the Teacher's Manual should enable professors to use the Handbook effectively with minimal additional preparation.

Praise for the first edition:

“The Pre-Writing Handbook hits the nail on the head! It centers on exactly what is missing from all the other legal writing books: the deep thinking that is necessary before pen hits paper.” — Joi Montiel, Faulkner University School of Law

“Writing professors have claimed for years that learning to write is learning to think; legal writing professors have claimed for years that learning legal writing entails learning legal analysis. This book makes good on both claims and provides a welcome and useful tool for anyone trying to master legal writing.” — J. Christopher Rideout, Professor of Lawyering Skills and Associate Director of the Legal Writing Program, Seattle University School of Law

“You need to crawl before you can walk, walk before you can run, and run before you can fly. Professors Graham and Felsenburg will have fledgling students flying in no time.” — Louis J. Sirico, Jr., Professor of Law and Director, Legal Writing Program, Villanova University School of Law


Complimentary Copy RequestIf you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.

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