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Research Canons

Books and articles that are essential to a new academic in various areas of legal inquiry as suggested by contributors to PrawfsBlawg.


  1. Mary Beth Beazley, The Self-Graded Draft: Teaching Students to Revise Using Guided Self-Critique, 3 Legal Writing 175 (1997) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  2. Mary Beth Beazley, Teaching Students How to "Think Like Lawyers": Integrating Socratic Method with the Writing Process, 64 Temp. L. Rev. 885 (1991) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  3. Linda Berger, Applying New Rhetoric to Legal Discourse: The Ebb and Flow of Reader and Writer, 49 J. Legal Educ. 155 (1999) (suggested by Coleen Berger.
  4. Charles Calleros, Using Classroom Demonstrations in Familiar Nonlegal Contexts to Introduce New Students to Unfamiliar Concepts of Legal Method and Analysis, 7 Legal Writing 37 (2001) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  5. Suzanne Ehrenberg, Embracing the Writing-Centered Legal Process, 89 Iowa L. Rev. 1159 (2004) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  6. Anne Enquist, Critiquing and Evaluating Law Students' Writing: Advice from Thirty-Five Experts, 22 Seattle U. L. Rev. 1119 (1999) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  7. Anne Enquist, Critiquing Law Students' Writing: What the Students Say Is Effective, 2 Legal Writing 145 (1996) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  8. M.H. Sam Jacobson, Learning Styles and Lawyering: Using Learning Theory to Organize Thinking and Writing, 2 J. ALWD 27 (2004) (suggested by Coleen Berger)
  9. Joseph Kimble, Plain English: A Charter for Clear Writing, 9 Thomas M. Cooley L. Rev. 1 (1992) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  10. Pamela Lysaght & Cristina D. Lockwood, Writing-across-the-Law-School Curriculum: Theoretical Justifications, Curricular Implications, 2 J. ALWD 73 (2004) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  11. Carol McCrehan Parker, Writing throughout the Curriculum: Why Law Schools Need It and How to Achieve It, 76 Neb. L. Rev. 561 (1997) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  12. Phillip N. Meyer, Fingers Pointing at the Moon: New Perspectives on Teaching Legal Writing and Analysis, 25 Conn. L. Rev. 893 (1992) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  13. Richard K. Neumann, Jr., A Preliminary Inquiry into the Art of Critique, 40 Hastings L.J. 725 (1989) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  14. Laurel Currie Oates, Beyond Communication: Writing as a Means of Learning, 6 Legal Writing 1 (2000) (suggested by Coleen Berger.)
  15. Terrill Pollman & Linda H. Edwards, Scholarship by Legal Writing Professors: New Voices in the Academy, 11 Legal Writing 3 (2005) (it discusses legal writing scholarship and contains an extensive bibliography of scholarship by legal writing professors; suggested by Scott Fruehwald; I'd also like to emphasize the comprehensive nature of the bibliography appended to the Pollman and Edwards.  It contains hundreds of citations, some of which are classified by topic in the article; suggested by Judy Fischer). 
  16. Jill Ramsfield & Christopher Rideout, Legal Writing: A Revised View, 69 Wash. L. Rev. 35 (1994) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  17. Ruth Anne Robbins, Fiction 101: A Primer for Lawyers on How to Use Fiction Writing Techniques to Write Persuasive Facts Sections, 32 Rutgers L.J. 459 (2001) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  18. Joseph M. Williams, On the Maturing of Legal Writers: Two Models of Growth and Development, 1 Leg. Writing 1 (1991) (suggested by Coleen Berger). 
  19. Robin Wellford-Slocum, The Law School Student-Faculty Conference: Towards a Transformative Learning Experience, 45 S. Texas L. Rev. 255 (2004) (is a great piece on working with students one-on-one in conferences, drawing from the fields of cognitive psychology, rhetoric and composition theory, and psychotherapy. Our law school uses the article to help train all new LRW teachers and teaching assistants. The article can be viewed on the following link: ; suggested by Jayne Kacer).


  1. ABA Sourcebook on Legal Writing Programs (suggested by Linda Berger). 
  2. Wayne C. Booth, Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent (1974) (suggested by Peter).
  3. John Bronsteen, Writing a Legal Memo (2006) (for my money, the best text on legal writing. It's obviously a practical guide, meant to be read by students, but it nonetheless manages to describe an entire theoretical philosophy of legal writing; suggested by Jonathan). 
  4. Bryan A. Garner, Legal Writing in Plain English (2nd edition 2013) (suggested by David Zaring).
  5. Christine Hurt, et al. Interactive Citation Workbook for the Bluebook (2016 Edition) (I think that Christine Hurt, et al's interactive citation workshop makes for good pedagogy, but what to make of it for scholarship isn't clear - it's designed to be an teaching aid for students, and it is an invaluable one; suggested by David Zaring).
  6. Steven Mailloux, Rhetorical Power (1989) (suggested by Peter).
  7.  Chaim Perleman, The Realm of Rhetoric (1982) (suggested by Peter).
  8. ‚ÄčWilliam Strunk Jr.,  & E.B. White, The Elements of Style (1920) (no canon of good writing, legal or not, would be complete without Elements of Style; suggested by English major turned lawyer). 
  9. Peter M. Tiersma's, Legal Language (1999) (suggested by Patrick S. O'Donnell). 
  10. Eugene Volokh, Academic Legal Writing (5h ed. 2016) (suggested by David Zaring).
  11. James Boyd White, The Legal Imagination: Studies in the Nature of Legal Thought and Expression (1973) (suggested by Peter).
  12. Joseph M. Williams, Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace (2005) (Bronsteen's book draws upon Style, by Joseph Williams, which is another leading source in the field; suggested by Jonathan). 
  13. Richard C. Wydick, Plain English for Lawyers (5th ed.  2005)  (suggested by Judy Fischer). 


  1. Peter M. Tiersma &  Maria Mindlin, Scribes Journal of Legal Writing (V.10 2005-2006) (contains a complete ten-year index. For information on Scribes, visit; suggested by Jayne Kacer; Scribes generally suggested by Linda Berger).   
  2. Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research & Writing (suggested by Mary Whisner). 
  3. Law Library Journal (suggested by Mary Whisner). 
  4. Legal Reference Services Quarterly (suggested by Mary Whisner). 
  5. Journal of the Legal Writing Institute (suggested by Linda Berger). 
  6. Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors (suggested by Linda Berger).