This book has been replaced by a newer edition:
Plain English for Lawyers, Sixth Edition
by Richard C. Wydick, Amy E. Sloan
2019, 178 pp, paper, ISBN 978-1-5310-0699-0
Teacher's Manual available
Plain English For Lawyers
Tags: Introduction to Law, Lawyering Skills/Study Aids, Legal Writing, Pre-Law
Teacher's Manual available
152 pp $22.00
The National Jurist featured Plain English for Lawyers in its August 2021 list of "Three Books to Read During Law School," saying, "This one speaks for itself. The book is a quick punch of information: it provides helpful tips to improve your legal writing while familiarizing you with many of the terms of art you are likely to see down the road as a legal professional."
Wydick's Plain English for Lawyers—now in its fifth edition—has been a favorite of law students, legal writing teachers, lawyers, and judges for almost 40 years.
In January 2005, the Legal Writing Institute gave Wydick its Golden Pen Award for having written Plain English for Lawyers. The Legal Writing Institute is a non-profit organization that provides a forum for discussion and scholarship about legal writing, analysis, and research. The Institute has over 1,300 members representing all of the ABA-accredited law schools in the United States. Its membership also includes law teachers from other nations, English teachers, and practicing lawyers.
The LWI award states: "Plain English for Lawyers … has become a classic. Perhaps no single work has done more to improve the writing of lawyers and law students and to promote the modern trend toward a clear, plain style of legal writing."
The National Jurist recently featured Plain English for Lawyers on its list of "Three Books to Read During Law School," saying, "This one speaks for itself. The book is a quick punch of information: it provides helpful tips to improve your legal writing while familiarizing you with many of the terms of art you are likely to see down the road as a legal professional."
How does the fifth edition of Plain English for Lawyers differ from its predecessors? It remains (in size only!) a little book, small enough and palatable enough not to intimidate over-loaded law students. "Most of the text remains the same," Wydick says, "but in the past seven years I've learned some new things about writing in English, and I want to share that with the readers." In addition, the exercises at the end of the chapters are different (a welcome change for long-time teachers who are tired of the old ones). Finally, the teacher's manual includes additional exercises that teachers can give to students who want or need extra practice.
"[P]robably the most popular legal text today…"
— The New York Times
"[A] survival kit for the profession. It should be on every lawyer's desk."
— New Jersey Lawyer, on an earlier edition
"Plain English for Lawyers is a classic that deserves a place on every lawyer's shelf. It is everything that a writing book should be — clear, concise, spirited, practical, accessible, and sound."
— The Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, on the fourth edition
"Wydick's Plain English for Lawyers is the most practical book of its kind, following in the fine tradition of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style."
— The National Law Journal, on an earlier edition
Comp Copy If you are a professor teaching in this field you may request a complimentary copy.