Legal Argumentation (2021 ed., fall 2020 version)

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OK, who needs another legal writing textbook? Absolutely no one, except me. I love Chris Coughlin, Joan Rocklin, and Sandy Patrick’s A Lawyer Writes (3d ed.), but it does not do some things exactly how I want them done, and it does not do some other things at all. As textbooks go, it’s not expensive, but it is another $50-60 out of students’ pockets. And I would prefer students to have an electronic text, simply because it means fewer books to carry around (though they may very well print it out anyway).

I finally decided this spring to bring together all my handouts, musings, components of my old course packs, and everything else, to create my own text. I wanted it to be an open educational resource (OER), meaning that it’s free for folks to use, remix, etc. So I’m making it available here with a Creative Commons—attribution, non-commercial, share alike—license.

It’s still a draft: In fact, parts of it are what Anne Lamott calls a ‘shitty first draft.’ But in my judgment, it’s good enough to use this fall. (My students will let me know if I was wrong.) There are some chapters just not written yet, but those cover things I teach in the spring, so there will be a spring 2021 version to remedy that. Next summer, when the text is fully drafted and cleaned up, I’ll also post the source files to Github. It’s typeset in LaTeX, so making the source code available will be helpful for other geeky types like me but possibly make things much worse for normal folks. Consequently, I may run it out to html then, too, just so it’s easier for others to use.

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