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About the Book

So Ordered: The Writer’s Guide for Aspiring Judges, Judicial Clerks, and Interns

Front Cover - So Ordered: The Writer’s Guide for Aspiring Judges, Judicial Clerks, and Interns


Jill Barton
Professor of Legal Writing and Lecturer in Law
University of Miami School of Law

2017. 224 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4548-8333-3. 

About the Book

So Ordered: The Writer’s Guide for Aspiring Judges, Judicial Clerks, and Interns shows students how to write judicial documents using step-by-step instruction and real-world examples. The textbook offers concise guidance on how to become a successful judicial writer using common judicial documents, including bench memos, trial court orders, jury instructions, appellate opinions, dissents, and concurrences. So Ordered explains how to conceive, express, and revise each of the principal parts of these documents, from the case caption and introduction to the legal analysis and conclusion. Handpicked, annotated examples from the nation’s best judicial writers will inspire students to develop successful legal writing strategies and craft well-polished documents. A straightforward, accessible textbook that shows— rather than tells—students how to approach their writing assignments with care, So Ordered instills valuable lessons on lawyering that students can draw on throughout their careers.

Hallmark features of So Ordered: The Writer’s Guide for Aspiring Judges, Judicial Clerks, and Interns:

  • Practical, step-by-step, and concise instructions on how to write the most common judicial documents, including bench memos, trial court orders, jury instructions, appellate opinions, dissents, and concurrences
  • Annotated real-world examples of opinions drafted by trial courts, appellate courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court, which highlight judges’ diverse writing styles and demonstrate the best strategies
  • The most crucial rules of grammar, punctuation, style, and citation, to impress on students the importance of producing only polished legal documents
  • Meaningful overview of the judicial process, with topics that cover hierarchy of authority, stare decisis, standards of review, judicial ethics, and social media
  • Charts and diagrams showing the structure of federal and state courts and detailing examples of binding authority
  • Detailed checklists for each type of document
  • Writing tips and research tips in each chapter offering helpful, specific suggestions

Preface / Sample Chapters