Date of this Version
Court Review, Volume 51, Issue 3 (2015)
With more than 30,000 judges in the United States alone, you’d expect to find an impressive array of judicial-training materials. And there are some good ones—the American Judges Association’s video training series for handling domestic-violence cases (education.amjudges.org) stands out as one recent example. But there’s not much out there specifically on judicial writing, and what’s out there is generally limited in scope (reflecting the idiosyncratic views of a single author or even of a committee), outdated, or . . . well, boring.
Legal-writing consultant Ross Guberman has entered the market with a new book on judicial writing. Any judge who writes opinions should read it.
Guberman organized his book, Point Taken: How to Write Like the World’s Best Judges, around opinion excerpts taken from 34 judges well known for their writing abilities. The chosen judges are mostly appellate judges (six are trial judges); mostly from the United States (six are from Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia); and mostly still on the bench (13 are no longer active). The current judges include John G. Roberts, Jr., Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagen from the United States Supreme Court; United States appellate judges Marsha Berzon, Edward Carnes, Frank Easterbrook, Brett Kavanaugh, Alex Kozinski, Richard Posner, O. Rogeriee Thompson, and Diane Wood; and Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. The former judges include Benjamin Cardozo, Lord Denning, Learned Hand, Robert Jackson, John Paul Stevens, Roger Traynor, and Patricia Wald.