Tuesday, November 29, 2005

My book: Writing for the Legal Audience

My first book, published in 2003, is--

Writing for the Legal Audience

Click on it to get the book from Amazon.com.

It's probably the most modern and readable book on legal writing today. But don't take my word for it:
  • "The writing tips in this book work. . . . It is easy to read, easy to use, and--especially considering the type of book it is--surprisingly enjoyable." Susan Wawrose, Book Department: Writing for the Legal Audience by Wayne Schiess Trial 67 (Jan. 2004).

  • "Wayne Schiess is one of the foremost legal writing experts out there, and his book is a "must have" for those who are serious about improving their legal writing." Amazon.com reviewer.

  • "[F]illed with sound, progressive advice about writing for many different legal audiences. Schiess is squarely on the side of plain English--bless him. He will show you the way to better legal writing." Professor Joseph Kimble.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Squinting modifiers

Do you know what a "squinting modifier" is? Read the quotation below and avoid squinting modifiers.

    A word capable of being read as modifying either the word it follows or the word it precedes is called a squinting modifier. Consider ambiguity this can produce:

    • The candidate the audience was applauding enthusiastically went to the podium.

    Was the audience applauding enthusiastically? Or was the candidate enthusiastically going to the podium?

    • The lawyer who can write well deserves her fee.

    Does "well" relate to her accomplishment or her entitlement?

    • The doctor agreed eventually to do the operation.

    Does this mean that the doctor took a long time to agree? Or does it mean that he agreed to do the operation at some uncertain future date?

    • My lawyer told me in August I would be released.

    Did the lawyer say that in August, or is August the projected date of release?
Thomas R. Haggard, The Scrivener: A Primer on Legal Writing 77-78 (2d ed., S.C. Bar 2000).

Monday, November 07, 2005

A word-and-sentence guide to legal drafting

Click here to get A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting.

Every serious transactions lawyer should have this book. The section on "material adverse change" alone is worth the price. It is the most thorough and careful book available today on legal drafting.