Got some holiday money or an Amazon gift card burning a hole in your pocket? Ross Guberman’s book Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates is worth every penny. It currently retails for less than twenty dollars on Amazon. If you’ve got a Kindle it’s only $3.79, although some reviewers criticized the e-book formatting.
The book repeats advice we have all heard before: don’t use block quotes, don’t use legalese, tell a good story, etc. But Guberman doesn’t just give advice. The value in this book comes from numerous examples from real briefs filed by writers like John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barack Obama, and others.
What I Like About Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates
I have read a fair number of books about legal writing. This one is my favorite by far. First of all, the examples are extremely helpful. Instead of simply saying “use short sentences” Guberman gives you two dozen examples of short, pithy sentences from different briefs. Guberman also includes tips from judges, usually from books they’ve written. He also includes a section on using punctuation properly and creatively.
The book is very well organized. Just as the author recommends for your briefs, it is broken down into sections and sub-sections. That makes the book easy to read through all at once, or digest piecemeal. Guberman also tackles tactical writing tips that other books don’t touch on. For example, how to distinguish cases your opponent cites without spending a paragraph on each case. He also touches on how to properly transition your paragraphs so that your entire brief flows better.
Especially at this price point, I strongly recommend Point Made. It’s the kind of book you will want to go back to time and again for inspiration from these famous writers.
What I Didn’t Like About Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates
There wasn’t much to dislike about this book. My biggest complaint is that at first glance it seems like there is more material than there really is. The author has an outline form of the book at the end, which is essentially the table of contents. He also consolidates “advice from judges” at the end, but they are the same quotes that are interspersed throughout the book. It really just seemed like padding at the end.
Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates
Reviewed by Joshua Camson on .
Summary: This book is a high recommend. It contains solid examples of strong legal writing tips at an affordable price.
Overall score: 4 (out of 5)