Publications

Articles on Legal Writing

Go Easy on the Legalese

By Justice Michael B. Hyman
September
2018
Column
Page 44
Precise and substantive legal prose does not require Latin or antiquated words. Practice eliminating them from your writing.

The Folly of Overemphasizing Emphasis

By Justice Michael B. Hyman
June
2018
Column
Page 44
A judge quashes all that is bolded, underlined, and ALL CAPPED.

From the Newsletters - Omit that Oxford comma at your peril

July
2017
Article
Page 47
Confusion caused by an omitted comma led to a huge judgment against a Maine employer. What do Illinois drafting guidelines say about Oxford commas?

Illinois Supreme Court Rule Changes: The Year So Far

By Michele M. Jochner
October
2011
Article
Page 520
From new IOLTA rules to a new official citation system, a range of important supreme court rule changes took effect from January through September of 2011.

The New, Online-Only Illinois Reports

By Tom Gaylord
September
2011
Column
Page 477
Now the supreme court publishes the official version of Illinois cases - here's what it means.

Briefer Briefs: Writing and Speaking Tips from the Supreme Court

By Tom Gaylord
July
2011
Column
Page 368
Interviews with Supreme Court justices about effective advocacy are themselves good models.

Federal Administrative Law, Part 2: Online CFR and LSA

By Tom Gaylord
March
2011
Column
Page 156
You can use the online CFR to find the very latest regs and the LSA to verify their accuracy.

What’s New at Illinois.gov?

By Tom Gaylord
November
2010
Column
Page 592
The recently redesigned Illinois state homepage is an improvement over its predecessor.

Need a Case or Statute on the Run? Fastcase has an App for That

By Tom Gaylord
September
2010
Column
Page 488
Fastcase's free application offers cases to iPhone and iPad owners.

“Cite,” not “cite to”

August
2010
Column
Page 390
See comments from our readers.

Can you cite to unpublished opinions?

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
June
2010
LawPulse
Page 286
In Illinois state court, no. In Illinois-based federal district courts, yes.

A judge’s guide to drafting orders

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
May
2010
LawPulse
Page 230
A bankruptcy judge's 18 guidelines for drafting orders are a surprise hit on the blawgging circuit.

Brief-Writing Tips for the Illinois Appellate Court

By Maria Pellegrino
August
2008
Article
Page 412
An appellate law clerk offers pointers and an insider's view of common brief-writing errors.

Using CFEs and Motions to Compel Disclosure in White-Collar Criminal Defense

By Frank S. Perri
August
2007
Article
Page 432
Expert help and skillful motion drafting can help defense counsel respond to prosecution "document dumping" in complex criminal fraud cases..

New rule allows citation of unpublished federal opinions

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
February
2007
LawPulse
Page 66
Federal appellate courts used to restrict or prohibit citation of unpublished opinions in arguments to the courts. That changed January 1.

Mentoring Writers

By Maureen B. Collins
September
2004
Column
Page 491
It takes time to train fledgling lawyers to write well. But the time you invest now will pay dividends later.

Order in the Court (and in Your Sentences)

By Maureen B. Collins
August
2004
Column
Page 435
Don't let convoluted word order tangle your sentences.

Of Pandas and Punctuation

By Maureen B. Collins
July
2004
Column
Page 371
These books and Web sites make mastering grammar…well, if not fun, at least less painful.

What Weblogs Can Do for You

By T. Evan Schaeffer
May
2004
Column
Page 269
Don't know about the great legal Weblogs out there? Don't know what a Weblog is? It's time you learned. You might decide to be a blogger yourself one day.

Untangle Your Web Site

By Maureen B. Collins and Hillary Altekruse Mann
April
2004
Column
Page 222
Yes, you really do need a Web site, and these FAQs will help you make the most of it.

Brief-Building: The Finishing Touches

By Maureen B. Collins
March
2004
Column
Page 153
You've built a well-reasoned, well-argued edifice; don't sabotage your effort by neglecting the final flourishes.

Building a Solid Foundation

By Maureen B. Collins
February
2004
Column
Page 105
Last month's column looked at the "prep work" necessary for a brief. This month, we focus on the framework.

Constructing an Argument

By Maureen B. Collins
January
2004
Column
Page 47
Like a house, a brief needs a solid framework, intricate inner workings, and an attractive appearance.

Communicating Your Authority

By Maureen B. Collins
December
2003
Column
Page 637
Sorry, but proper citation format really does matter. Here's why.

Being Right Versus Saying it Right

By Maureen B. Collins
November
2003
Column
Page 577
As this cautionary tale illustrates, sometimes what you say to a client is less important than how you say it.

To Speak or Not to Speak?

By Maureen B. Collins
October
2003
Column
Page 525
Sometimes 'tis nobler in the mind to keep thy mouth shut...

What I Learned from Television

By Maureen B. Collins
September
2003
Column
Page 471
The observant couch-potato can actually learn a lesson or two from the tube about effective communication.

First Drafts Made Easy

By T. Evan Schaeffer
June
2003
Column
Page 311
Using these six tips makes writing first drafts fun. Well, almost.

Conquering the Comma: Conjunctions and Essential Elements

By Lisa McGrady
May
2003
Column
Page 259
Is comma placement a lot like flower arranging for you ("let's see, one would look nice here")? If so, read on.

Adjectives, Adverbs, and More

By Lisa McGrady
April
2003
Column
Page 205
So when do you use "whom"? Our grammar review continues with adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and pronouns.

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