There’s plenty of conventional wisdom about what makes a good legal brief or court opinion. Judge Robert E. Bacharach of the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals says that when judges socialize, their conversations often devolve into discussions about language and pieces of writing they enjoy or revile.
But Bacharach decided he wanted to dive deeper, to see what the science of psycholinguistics could teach lawyers and judges about how written words persuade an audience. The result was his new book, Legal Writing: A Judge’s Perspective on the Science and Rhetoric of the Written Word, published by the ABA.
Legal Writing is a slim volume, but it’s packed with tips. It considers details as microscopic as a serif on a letter and as macroscopic as how to create an outline for an argument. In this episode of the Modern Law Library podcast, Bacharach chats about his own writing process; shares his top takeaways from the psycholinguists he consulted; and offers his advice for young litigators looking to hone their skills.