Best Practices for Lawyering: Parrish and Yokoyama on Effective Lawyering
Austen Parrish and Dennis Yokoyama of Southwestern Law School have a new book out, Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing & Oral Argument. The book takes its own advice. The writing is tight, and each section is almost sparse. Then again the introduction is quite clear. This book is designed as a tool for lawyers and students. It is not an extensive, exhaustive handbook. Instead, the book offers best practices. If one does not know the practices, the book helps identify them. If one knows the practices, the book presents a way to ensure that one follows them.
The first chapter sets forth the elements of effective writing and concludes with a checklist. The next chapters address trial court briefs, appellate briefs, effective oral arguments, interoffice memoranda, letter writing, and academic writing with checklists for all the topics. Each chapter has tips specific to the topic being covered. The tips are a great touch. They reveal fundamental insights that experience teaches and one usually must learn the hard way. The writing samples allow the reader to have a more solid grasp of the lean presentation of writing methods, and the bibliography provides the necessary readings for those who seek greater instruction on any of the covered topics. Without the samples and the bibliography, the text’s usefulness would be much less. With them, however, Parrish and Yokohama present a book that aids the novice, the expert, and anyone in between who strives to improve and maintain high quality skills in writing and all aspects of lawyering.