Elegant Legal Writing is a free blog and newsletter sharing tips for writing clear, logical, and inviting legal prose. Its author is litigation attorney Ryan McCarl (of Rushing McCarl LLP). McCarl’s book Elegant Legal Writing will be published on February 6, 2024 by the University of California Press.
Elegant Legal Writing provides practical tips to help lawyers make their writing as readable and engaging as possible, elevating it from passable to elite.
Legal readers (especially judges) are overwhelmed with boring reading tasks and have limited time or appetite to slog through documents such as procedural motions. A client’s litigation objectives often depend on their lawyer’s ability to get the judge’s attention and tell the client’s story concisely and compellingly. Elegant Legal Writing addresses that need.
Elegant Legal Writing originated in the curriculum McCarl developed for an Advanced Legal Writing seminar at the UCLA School of Law. McCarl read many books on writing style, then condensed what he had learned into resources for his students. He continues studying legal writing and experimenting with argument techniques through his litigation practice at Rushing McCarl LLP. The firm’s unorthodox filings — which stand out for their storytelling, document design, and readability — have helped it build a reputation as an elite litigation boutique.
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Ryan McCarl, a founding partner of the business boutique Rushing McCarl LLP, has taught legal writing to audiences including the ABA Litigation Section and State of Texas Office of the Attorney General. His book Elegant Legal Writing is forthcoming from the University of California Press in February 2024.
Before co-founding Rushing McCarl LLP, McCarl researched artificial intelligence and taught Advanced Legal Writing as a fellow at the UCLA School of Law, clerked for the Honorable David M. Ebel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and worked as a litigation attorney at WilmerHale and Hueston Hennigan. He has published articles about complex topics ranging from AI to claim preclusion in outlets including the Stanford Journal of International Law and Cincinnati Law Review.
McCarl earned a J.D. with Honors from the University of Chicago Law School and holds M.A. degrees from the University of Chicago and University of Michigan as well as a B.A. from the University of Chicago.