Ryan McCarl discusses legal writing on the California Appellate Law Podcast
Ryan McCarl appeared for a second interview with the California Appellate Law Podcast to discuss legal writing tips, writing technology, and more.
I had a great time appearing on the California Appellate Law Podcast to chat with Tim Kowal and Jeff Lewis about my forthcoming book, Elegant Legal Writing (available for preorder here). We covered a lot of interesting ground, as the podcast’s interviews always do. You can listen to the episode here.
Topics discussed include these, which I’ve copied from Tim’s show notes:
🖋️ “Defer editing” and “second-guessing” until a later draft. Don’t be committed to your first draft. Just get into a flow state—keep the cursor moving!
🧠 Your reader allots you a very limited attention span or “working memory.” Budget wisely by cutting “research dumps,” and by using direct, familiar language.
📗 Don’t cite every authority. “The quality of your citations matters more than their quantity.”
👨💻 Make tech support your writing. Use keyboard shortcuts. Use text expansion. Get efficient. What would you think of a tradesperson who doesn’t understand the tools of the trade?
What is Ryan’s stance on the “cleaned up” parenthetical? You will have to listen to find out!
This was my second appearance on the podcast; I was previously interviewed in February 2022. I’m grateful to Tim and Jeff for the opportunity to exchange ideas and share my thoughts about legal writing and litigation strategy with their audience. They ask thought-provoking questions and produce a polished, information-packed podcast that every California litigator should subscribe to.
Ryan McCarl is the author of Elegant Legal Writing (U. Cal. Press 2024), which is now available on Amazon. McCarl is a founding partner of Rushing McCarl LLP and adjunct professor at Loyola Law School; previously, he researched AI and taught Advanced Legal Writing at the UCLA School of Law. He has taught legal writing and strategy to audiences including the ABA Litigation Section and the Texas Office of the Attorney General. For more writing tips, subscribe to the Elegant Legal Writing blog and follow McCarl on LinkedIn.
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