Elegant Legal Writing book now available for preorder

Ryan McCarl’s book Elegant Legal Writing is now available from the University of California Press. I’ve pasted the jacket copy and blurbs below.

I’ll continue to post excerpts and other useful content on the Elegant Legal Writing blog and on LinkedIn. By sharing posts you find helpful, you can help me spread the word about a book that can do a lot of good in the legal profession. It will help many attorneys, law students, and others write more confidently and persuasively.

About Elegant Legal Writing

Ryan McCarl’s Elegant Legal Writing helps attorneys elevate their writing from passable to polished. Drawing on ideas from cognitive science, stylistics, and litigation strategy, the book teaches practical techniques by example using fast-paced chapters. Readers will learn the essentials of effective legal composition:

  • Writing clear, efficient prose
  • Crafting strong arguments
  • Telling a client’s story through a compelling narrative
  • Overcoming procrastination and drafting more productively

Readability, aesthetics, and argumentation are intertwined. Ryan McCarl shows how litigation documents that are easier and more pleasant to read are more likely to persuade judges and other busy readers. The book also discusses parts of legal writing that many guides overlook, including sentence mechanics, writing technology, and typography.


“Elegant Legal Writing is a book to study and savor. Its non-intimidating and readable format exposes law students and lawyers to a plethora of crucial concepts to transform their writing from passable to great. Although the substance of legal writing is important, Ryan McCarl reminds us that persuasiveness requires more: style.” — Peggy Kline Kirkpatrick, Legal Writing Instructor, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

“Elegant Legal Writing is a terrific addition to the field. Bristling with sage advice and generous examples, this book will help you navigate nearly every legal-writing hurdle in your path.” — Ross Guberman, author of Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates“This clear and straightforward guide will be tremendously useful for any law students or lawyers who want to improve their writing—something that all but the most gifted few should want to do.” — Eugene Volokh, author of Academic Legal Writing

“In this elegant guide, McCarl covers the good, the bad, and the ugly of legal writing. Packed with real examples and road-tested tips, this book is a lifeline for busy lawyers and law students who need to communicate clearly, effectively, and ethically under tight time constraints.” — Lee Fennell, Max Pam Professor of Law, University of Chicago Law School“The Elements of Style for the legal profession. McCarl’s tips will make your legal prose sing.” — Clifford W. Gilbert-Lurie, Managing Partner, Ziffren Brittenham LLP

“An excellent resource for legal writers at all stages of their careers, from law students to experienced litigators. Writing with the elegance that he advocates, McCarl instructs with clear explanations, helpful examples, and practical suggestions. He succeeds in demystifying the art of legal writing.” — S. Elizabeth Gibson, Burton Craige Professor of Law Emerita, University of North Carolina School of Law

“Keep McCarl’s tips in mind and judges will read your briefs with appreciation rather than frustration—which in turn makes for more auspicious oral arguments and results.” — Tim Kowal, appellate attorney and co-host of the California Appellate Law Podcast

About the Author

Ryan McCarl is a founding partner at Rushing McCarl LLP and an adjunct professor at LMU Loyola Law School. Previously, he was a research fellow in AI law and policy at UCLA School of Law, where he designed and taught a course on advanced legal writing. He has given talks about litigation writing, motion strategy, and appellate advocacy to audiences that include the American Bar Association Litigation Section and the Texas Office of the Attorney General.

Purchase and Media Information

You can order Elegant Legal Writing here. Discounts are available from the University of California Press for bulk purchases.

I will be promoting the book through media appearances and seminars, including by offering workshops at law firms and elsewhere. Please email info[at]rushingmccarl.com if you are interested.

Ryan McCarl is the author of Elegant Legal Writing (Univ. Cal. Press 2024), which is available for preorder through Amazon. McCarl is a founding partner of Rushing McCarl LLP; previously, he researched AI and taught advanced legal writing courses at the UCLA School of Law and LMU Loyola Law School. For more writing tips, subscribe for free to the Elegant Legal Writing blog and follow McCarl on LinkedIn.