Beyond the First Draft helps law students and lawyers approach the often difficult task of editing their own writing. The book starts with the fundamental idea that good writing is organized, vigorous, clear, and polished. Its ultimate goal is to help students and practitioners understand that good writing cannot be accomplished in a single draft; good writers must be good editors.
Each chapter of the book is organized around one of the principles of good writing and begins with an editing checklist for accomplishing that principle of good writing. The book explains each item in the checklist, providing students and lawyers with the instruction and straightforward editing tips that they need to become effective editors.
Beyond the First Draft was written with law students, practitioners, and legal writing professors in mind. Its straightforward approach makes even those difficult-to-understand grammatical concepts accessible to students and practitioners through frequent, easy-to-understand grammar reminders, explanations, and examples. Students will benefit from the realistic editing exercises at the end of each chapter, which require them to edit full sections of a memo rather than simply doing sentence level exercises. Finally, professors can use the numbered checklists in each chapter to comment on student work, which will make commenting on writing more efficient and will create clear connections between the text and the professor's feedback.