Higher Education

Practical Legal Writing for Legal Assistants, 1st Edition

  • Celia Elwell University of Oklahoma Law Center
  • Robert Barr Smith, J.D. University of Oklahoma College of Law
  • ISBN-10: 0314061150  |  ISBN-13: 9780314061157
  • 608 Pages
  • © 1996 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $177.75



This text is designed to cover all aspects of paralegal writing. It is intended not only as a text for paralegal instruction, but as a desk reference tool for practicing paralegals. It includes many practice examples and exercises in both the text and in the appendices.

Features and Benefits

  • Provides a straightforward, down-to-earth presentation of legal writing concepts. The text is non-intimidating and the frequent examples and assignments build students confidence as the assignments increase in difficulty.
  • Unique Fact Scenario presents a case in Chapter 1 that is then used throughout the text, in the exercises, and in the appendix. Students can follow a civil lawsuit from beginning to pretrial which gives the chapter concepts a context for application and understanding.
  • Practice Tips offer brief, helpful on-the-job tips such as common pitfalls to avoid, shortcuts, and time-savers in legal writing. They range from four secrets to good writing in Chapter 3 to the importance and purpose of follow-up letters in Chapter 5.
  • Exhibits provide frequent samples of legal writing that illustrate chapter subjects and serve as references for assignments: Example of a long-winded legal letter and a revised concise letter (Ch. 3); examples of internal memorandums and scheduling a deposition (Ch. 5); good and bad examples of case briefs (Ch. 8).
  • Key Terms are emphasized in boldface with definitions located in the margin. Terms are also listed at the end of each chapter. A glossary at the end of the text also defines all key terms.
  • Extensive exercises at the end of each chapter provide self-tests and writing assignments to allow students to practice with chapter material. (Cases to be used for analysis and writing assignments are included in an appendix.) Self-tests check understanding of concepts and terms. Assignments ask students to edit and revise writing samples, analyze case problems, draft legal correspondence and bri
  • UNIQUE! ~ Appendices provide excellent references and examples such as a sample legal memorandum, sample case brief, sample trial brief, Which Preposition?, Commonly Misspelled Words, and Verbose or Stuffy Words. Also, a Brief Cheat Sheet gives examples of brief cover sheets, tables of contents, and tables of authorities.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Communication Skills. Legal Writing- The Basics. Grammar, Punctuation and Capitalization. Correspondence and Internal Memorandums. Legal Research. Citation Form. Legal Analysis. Legal Memorandums. Drafting Briefs. Pleadings. Motions and supporting Briefs. Drafting Discovery Documents. Appendices. Glossary. Index.

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Celia Elwell

Celia is a PACE Registered Paralegal, and is employed as a professional title opinion analyst in Oklahoma City, OK. She regularly conducts continuing legal education seminars for attorneys and paralegals for the Institute of Paralegal Education and member associations of the National Federation of Paralegal Associations. Celia writes on a regular basis for several newsletters and listservs distributed to the Oklahoma Bar Association, the Rhode Island Paralegal Association, the Kansas Paralegal Association, and the Arkansas NFPA Member Association.

Robert Barr Smith, J.D.

Robert Barr Smith, J.D. is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Director of the Law Center, Professor of Law, and Director of Legal Writing at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. He is a retired Army Officer, a recipient of the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Awards.