The University of Chicago Press,
Exercises from LEGAL WRITING IN PLAIN ENGLISH, Bryan A. Garner

§ 2. For maximal efficiency, plan your writing projects. Try nonlinear outlining.



While planning and researching a legal memo, fill out a whirlybird. (You're ready to begin once you know enough about the problem to have an idea or two.) Use unruled paper. Take your time. Fill as many major and minor branches as you can, and feel free to add more branches. Then, when the paper starts getting full--and only then--create a linear outline using bullets. Remember that you're working on the basic unit of organization: once you have that, you'll organize further according to issues and answers.


Do the same with a trial or appellate brief.


Do the same with a journal article or continuing-legal-education paper. For this one, you might need a large sheet of butcher paper.

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© 2001, Bryan A. Garner

These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and on the Web at