This book has been replaced by a newer edition:

The Complete Legal Writer cover

The Complete Legal Writer, Second Edition

by Alexa Z. Chew, Katie Rose Guest Pryal

2020, 522 pp, paper, ISBN 978-1-5310-1942-6


Teacher's Manual available

Includes Core Knowledge for Lawyers online content

The Complete Legal Writer

by Alexa Z. Chew, Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Tags: First Year, Legal Research, Legal Writing

Table of Contents (PDF)

Teacher's Manual available

480 pp  $58.00

ISBN 978-1-61163-812-7
eISBN 978-1-5310-0233-6

Please note: The second edition of The Complete Legal Writer will be out in August.

The Complete Legal Writer lives up to its name, providing everything legal research and writing professors and students need in a textbook, including citation literacy, research skills, writing process, a wide range of legal documents, and more. Using the cutting-edge Genre Discovery Approach, this book teaches students to guide themselves through the process of writing unfamiliar legal document types and thereby prepares students to write independently in upper-level classes and the workplace.

To aid in teaching Genre Discovery, the authors provide three exacting samples of each document type covered in the book, a rhetorical analysis of each document type, and specific questions to guide students as they study the samples. The Complete Legal Writer covers document types that are traditionally taught in the first year, such as office memos and appellate briefs, as well as document types taught in upper-level and non-traditional first-year curricula, including trial briefs, demand letters, and employer blog posts.

Furthermore, this book covers an essential skill for all legal writing classes: giving and receiving feedback. In addition to explaining how to give feedback to and receive feedback from peers, an important skill given the rise of peer-feedback practices in the LRW classroom, The Complete Legal Writer also covers how to receive and implement feedback from professors and workplace supervisors in order to improve both a particular document and future documents.

"The Complete Legal Writer lives up to its name: it presents a comprehensive, fresh, and intuitive approach to teaching legal writing that invites students to confidently and enthusiastically cross the divide between their prior writing experiences and the world of legal writing. By giving students the tools they need to critically examine the documents that lawyers write, the authors' genre-discovery approach empowers students to meet (and exceed) the expectations of their new reading audience, even when they are faced with the challenge of writing a document they may not have seen before. With the text's warm tone, humorous touches, and vivid examples, the authors have hit a homerun that will engage faculty and students alike while arming students with skills they will use throughout their professional lives." — Ruth Ann McKinney, Emerita Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law

"This uniquely reader-centered text indeed empowers students to grow into complete legal writers. The authors gently yet firmly guide students through "genre discovery": careful study of sample legal documents, by which students construct for themselves the conceptual frameworks that writers of such documents need. Students thus till the soil, plant seeds of understanding, and harvest their own insights—and thereby enjoy "ground-up" rather than "top-down" learning that is refreshingly autonomous and remarkably effective." — Craig T. Smith, Assistant Dean for the Writing and Learning Resources Center and Clinical Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law

"The Complete Legal Writer promises much and delivers more. The text covers fundamental concepts including legal logic and analysis, research methodology, the writing process, and citation literacy. The overall tone is refreshingly readable and will undoubtedly resonate with students. What sets the text apart is not the wide variety of sample legal documents offered, but its potential to equip students with a method of evaluating all documents/genres using an approach that will prepare them to write and ultimately to practice more effectively. The rhetorical legal genre approach is quite a discovery, and no law library collection would be complete without this book." —Marie Summerlin Hamm, Law Library Journal