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One of the best resources for learning the writing and research norms in your court will be the existing work product of the clerks and staff attorneys in your office. Most courts have example work product readily available and often have an internal manual with grammar and citation formats preferred by the judges.
- Ask about sample documents and formats
- Ask if there are internal guides for writing
- Ask if the court librarian is available to answer research questions
- Ask about the confidentiality of the work product shared by and with you
Opinion Writing by
Call Number: KF250.A35 2012
Publication Date: 2012-08-20
This Third Edition of Opinion Writing breaks new ground for all writers of trial and appellate opinions-trial and appellate judges, administrative law judges, arbitrators, as well as current and aspiring law clerks.
Judicial Writing Manual
The Federal Judicial Center has prepared this manual to help judges organize opinions and improve their opinion writing. Prepared with the assistance of judges, law professors, and writers, the manual offers advice on writing tailored to the needs of the federal judiciary.
"Members of the general public will rarely read opinions. But reporters from the media will communicate what they believe to be the substance of an opinion that strikes them as being of public interest. When an opinion addresses an issue of general public interest or is likely to attract media attention, it should be written in a manner that will ensure it cannot be misunderstood. The mark of a well-written opinion is that it is comprehensible to an intelligent layperson."
Federal Judicial Center, Judicial Writing Manual 6 (2d. ed. 2013).
Most of the commercial legal research platforms have a practice-driven section that students may miss if they don't attend training sessions or take an upper-level research class. They often contain drafting tools and sample documents that can help ease the transition between doing legal research and creating a legal document.
- Use West's Practical Law to see standard documents and clauses, or upload a document to Drafting Assistant to get citation and resource feedback. Navigate to these features by clicking the arrow next to "Westlaw Edge."
- Use Lexis' Practice Advisor for similar sample drafts and clauses as well as articles and practice notes.
Rule 9.800: Florida Uniform Citation System
Court-mandated rules for Florida citations as they appear in the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. These rules are considered the standard citation form in Florida courts; the Florida Style Manual and Bluebook supplement these forms.
You must purchase a subscription to access the Bluebook online, however, if you bought a copy of the 20th ed. Bluebook for class, a code for the trial of the online version may be available in the front of your book.
Florida Bar Reporter's Handbook
A guide to legal citation for the media issued by the Florida bar to help them accurately report on legal documents.
Legal Citation: Which Guide Should You Use and What Is the Difference?
This article by Wendy S. Loquasto explains the difference between various legal citation guides.
Legal Style Manuals
The Florida Style Manual
A guide to legal drafting and citation in Florida, this manual was created to supplement the Bluebook and FRAP 9.800 in crafting legal citations for the courts and for legal academic writing.
Federal Courts Style Resources
A variety of resources on drafting court rules.
Effective Court Practice
Recent scholarship from court clerks includes recommendations on writing briefs for the court that focus on clarity and simplicity.