Author Spotlight: Wayne Schiess

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This week we feature Wayne Schiess, author of Better Legal Writing: Fifteen Topics for Advanced Legal Writers.

Guest post:

I direct the David J. Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy at the University of Texas School of Law, and I’ve been teaching legal writing at Texas for 23 years. Here’s how I got there.

I grew up in a small town in Idaho and attended a small high school that offered no Advanced Placement courses. When I got to college, my roommate was surprised I was taking freshman English. “Didn’t you take A.P. English?” he asked me. “What’s A.P.?” I replied.

This wasn’t auspicious for a future writing teacher, but despite this lack of early opportunities, I knew I liked writing and writing clearly. I had come to value clear writing through the influence of my mother, who returned to college to finish her English degree when I was 17. That’s right. My mother was an English teacher, although by the time she finished her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and began teaching freshman English at Boise State University, I had gone off to college.

I attended Cornell University School of Law and took a job in the Dallas office of Baker Botts, where I tried a transactional practice and later did some bankruptcy work. Mostly, I wrote a lot of memos. In 1992, I was lucky enough to land a job teaching legal writing at Texas Law, and I’ve been there ever since. I now devote myself in a nerdy, mildly obsessed, and always enthusiastic way to legal writing and nothing but. Professionally speaking, of course; in my personal life I’m a devoted husband and father.

At Texas I teach analytical legal writing, persuasive legal writing, legal drafting, and plain English. I’m a frequent seminar speaker, and I’ve written dozens of articles on practical legal-writing skills. Every summer I teach a course called Advanced Legal Writing, and the textbook for that course is the Wm. S. Hein-published Better Legal Writing. I blog about legal writing at LEGIBLE.

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Better Legal Writing: Fifteen Topics for Advanced Legal Writers

This book is an advanced legal writing text designed to improve the writing skills of lawyers, paralegals and law students by giving them a readable and accessible book with lots of practical writing advice. It is further written to motivate lawyers, paralegals and law students to take legal writing seriously as a distinct and important discipline, worthy of concentrated and consistent study.

Price: $34.95
Item #: 1211
ISBN: 9780837737034
Published: Buffalo; William S. Hein & Co., Inc.; 2005

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