Some good news for Texas Law’s Wayne Schiess

According to a recent law-review article, the list below shows the most popular legal-writing advice books from 1998 to 2018 based on holdings in the global catalog of library materials (excluding textbooks and reference manuals). More information below the table.

Source: Alexa Chew, The Fraternity of Legal Style, 20 Leg. Comm. & Rhetoric: JALWD 39, 46-47 (2023).

Figure 1.1 | Legal writing books included in this study, listed by popularity

WorldCat Holdings Author(s) Title
986 Antonin Scalia &
Bryan A. Garner
Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges
965 Bryan A. Garner Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises
924 Bryan A. Garner The Elements of Legal Style
797 Bryan A. Garner The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts
755 Richard C. Wydick Plain English for Lawyers
538 Ross Guberman Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates
446 Tom Goldstein &
Jethro K. Lieberman
The Lawyer’s Guide to Writing Well
413 Stephen V. Armstrong & Timothy P. Terrell Thinking Like a Writer: A Lawyer’s Guide to Effective Writing and Editing
240 Lynn Bahrych, Jeanne Merino & Beth McLellan Legal Writing & Analysis in a Nutshell
238 Steven D. Stark Writing to Win: The Legal Writer
232 Wayne Schiess Preparing Legal Documents Nonlawyers Can Read and Understand
230 Sandra Oster Writing Shorter Legal Documents: Strategies for Faster and Better Editing
227 Lenné Eidson Espenschied The Grammar and Writing Handbook for Lawyers
223 Marie P. Buckley The Lawyer’s Essential Guide to Writing: Proven Tools and Techniques
211 Jane N. Richmond Legal Writing: Form and Function
205 Judith D. Fischer Pleasing the Court: Writing Ethical and Effective Briefs
196 Wayne Schiess Writing for the Legal Audience
175 Jayne Kracker ABA Basic Guide to Punctuation, Grammar, Workplace Productivity, and Time Management
173 Austen L. Parrish &
Dennis T. Yokoyama
Effective Lawyering: A Checklist Approach to Legal Writing and Oral Argument

Prof Chew’s article proves that in legal-writing advice books (which she calls “legal style books”) the sources cited and the examples given are mostly produced by men. In proving this claim, she created a list of the most popular legal-writing advice books for the period of 1998 to 2018. (She excluded legal-writing textbooks and legal-writing reference manuals.)

Ultimately, she produced a list of the most popular books for that period and then assessed the sources and examples in those books … and I was flabbergasted to see that I had two books on the list! Bryan Garner has four–hardly surprising–but I’m the only other person with more than one. Wow!