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WSLL @ Your Service January 2018


Start Here: Briefs and Opinion Writing - Michael Keane

Our libraries have several resources which can help you hone your writing or prepare briefs and opinions. Everything listed in this Start Here guide is available at the David T. Prosser Jr. Library and can be checked out with one of our library cards.

Start Here guide

Rules and Court Procedure

Wisconsin Appellate Courts
Appellate Practice and Procedure in Wisconsin, by Michael A. Heffernan
State Bar of Wisconsin, 2016-17
Brief requirements for Wisconsin appeals are found in Chapter 11
Call Number KFW 2955 .W34 A647

Federal Courts - 7th Circuit
Practitioner's Handbook for Appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2017 edition
Available online

Federal Courts - Supreme Court
Supreme Court Practice, 10th edition, by Stephen M. Shapiro and others
Includes rules for written submissions to the Supreme Court
Call Number KF 9057 .S8 2013


The Oxford English Dictionary
Clarendon Press, 1989
Twenty volume dictionary of the English language
Call Number PE 1625 .O87 1989

Black's Law Dictionary
Thomson Reuters, 2014
Call Number K 50 .B53 2014

Prince's Dictionary of Legal Abbreviations, 7th edition, by Mary Miles Prince
William S. Hein & Co., 2017
Call Number: KF 246 .B46 D5 2017


Scribes Journal of Legal Writing
Available through HeinOnline from 1990

Legal Writing: The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute
Available through HeinOnline from 1991

Legal Communication and Rhetoric, Journal of the Association of Legal Writing Directors
Available through Index to Legal Periodicals from 2011

Brief writing

The amicus brief: how to write it and use it effectively, by R.W. Simpson and Mary R. Vasaly
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association, 2010
Call Number KF251 .R42 2010

The winning brief: 100 tips for persuasive briefing in trial and appellate courts, by Bryan A. Garner
Oxford University Press, 2014
Call Number KF251 .G37 2014

A brief guide to brief writing: demystifying the memorandum of law, by Janet S. Kole
American Bar Association, 2013
Call Number KF251 .K65 2013

Opinion writing

Opinion writing, by Ruggero J. Aldisert
Carolina Academic Press, 2012
Call Number KF 250 .A35 2012

Legal opinion letters: a comprehensive guide to opinion letter practice, editing by M. John Sterba
Aspen Publishers, 2003
Call Number KF250 .D73

Judicial opinion writing handbook, by Joyce J. George
Hein & Co., 2007
Call Number KF250 .G46 2007


Legal drafting in a nutshell, by Thomas R. Haggard
Thomson/West, 2007
Call Number KF250 .H33 2007

Hereof, thereof, and everywhereof: a contrarian guide to legal drafting, by Howard Darmstadter
ABA Section of Business Law, 2008
Call Number KF250 .D37 2008

Legal writing

Legal writing in context, by Sonya G. Bonneau
Carolina Academic Press, 2017
Call Number KF250 .B66 2017

Legal writing for the rewired brain: persuading readers in a paperless world, by Robert Dubose
Texas Lawyer, 2010
Call Number KF250 .D83 2010

The redbook: a manual on legal style, by Bryan A. Garner
West Academic Publishing, 2013
Call Number KF250 .G37 2013

Legal writing by design: a guide to great briefs and memos, by Teresa J. Reid Rambo. Durham
Carolina Academic Press, 2013
Call Number KF250 .R35 2013

Advanced legal writing: theories and strategies in persuasive writing, by Michael R. Smith
Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2013
Call Number KF250 .S62 2013

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New Books - Kari Zelinka

New Title! Legal Writing in Context, by Sonya G. Bonneau and Susan A. McMahon
Call Number KF250 B66 2017

This book teaches you how to take multiple cases and weave them into a rule of thought. The authors draw from the expertise of top legal writing professors, legal theorists, cognitive psychologists, and philosophers. This book challenges readers to go beyond applying legal rules to sets of facts. Instead, the authors intend to teach advocacy for changing rules and recognition of when a changing society requires a new approach.

The first unit, Law and Legal Reasoning, gives an overview and lays the framework. The second unit, Communicating Legal Reasoning, discusses how to organize your thoughts on the issues. It all culminates in the final chapter, Legal Documents, which leads the reader through memos and briefs from introduction to conclusion.

Featured Title! Legal Writing by Design: a Guide to Great Briefs and Memos, 2nd edition, by Teresa J. Reid Rambo and Leanne J. Pflaum
Call Number: KF250 R35 2013

This thorough guide on legal writing breaks down the process into sections on legal reasoning, predictive and persuasive analysis, how to get started writing, and how to refine and revise. The authors aim to show the readers how to apply their legal writing and reasoning skills. Whether writing predictively or persuasively, lawyers must evaluate the strength of their client's legal situation and how to best communicate their case. Accuracy and thoroughness are of utmost importance, as it is necessary to play by the rules, and be both concise and convincing. This may sound like a tall task, but the authors have laid out the steps along the way and added exercises and chapter reviews.

The last section includes the following useful samples:

  • Court opinion
  • Legal memo
  • Appellant's brief
  • Appellee's brief
  • Reply brief

new book shelf
New Titles RSS Feed See our latest New Titles list for a list of new books and other resources.

For assistance in accessing these or other resources, please contact our Reference Desk.

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Tech Tip - Heidi Yelk

Lexis Advance now available

The law library is starting a new year with a new service: Lexis Advance. This database is now available to walk-in users at our David T. Prosser Jr. Library in Madison.

In addition to primary law, such as state and federal case law, Lexis Advance offers access to content published by Matthew Bender. The library's subscription includes access to Appleman's on Insurance, Nichol's on Eminent Domain, Larson's Workers Compensation Law, and Rabkin & Johnson Current Legal Forms. Users can search, print, download, or email documents from these frequently used treatises.

Lexis Advance also offers extensive searching of Wisconsin legislative and administrative law, including bill tracking reports, historical administrative code, and registers.

Finally, access to Lexis Advance means access to Shepards Citations, used both for research and to verify good law. Do you need help with Lexis Advance? Ask a reference librarian and watch for upcoming classes in 2018.

Scientists develop interactive climate change map

Climate map screenshot

Wisconsinites have a new tool to project future climate conditions within the state. The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts has created an interactive climate map which shows likely conditions for Wisconsin in years to come. This freely available tool may be used for strategic planning, especially by farmers, landowners, business people, and conservationists.

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Library News - Carol Hassler

Upcoming classes

You can register now for the first of our 2018 CLE classes, which is our free class on the Wisconsin Legislature Website. In this hands-on overview of the Legislature's site you'll learn how to track legislative activity, locate bills and acts, and search the online Wisconsin Statutes. You'll also learn about the Legislative Notification Service, and where to find publications of the various Legislative Service Agencies. Register online or print and send in a registration form to sign up for this free class.

Donate hats, socks, and gloves

We're collecting donations of new hats, socks, gloves, and scarves for The Beacon through next Friday, January 12th, 2018. All sizes are welcome. Drop off donations in the collection box located inside the front doors of the David T. Prosser Jr. Library in downtown Madison. Thanks to everyone who has donated!

Hat donations

Party recap

We thank you all for attending 2017's winter open house last month! Attendees enjoyed fabulous food, great company, and challenging trivia about Wisconsin's Capitol building.

Hat donations food and drink aplenty a puzzling challenge

Chief Justice Patience Roggensack and party attendees enjoy food, puzzles, and trivia at our December gathering.

Building anniversary

The Wisconsin State Law Library has been in its current location for sixteen years as of January 22nd, having officially opened in January of 2002. The library moved from its original location in the Capitol during the Capitol's Restoration and Renovation Project. For more history about the library and our locations, see our timeline.

compact storage is installed microfiche ready to move

Compact storage is installed before other shelving; Microfiche is ready to move

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January Snapshot

Capitol papercut art in the reading room

Seasonal decorations at the library included flameless candles, fresh greenery, and Capitol cutouts in honor of 2017's Capitol Centennial celebration.
Photo by Carol Hassler

We are accepting snapshots! Do you have a photo highlighting libraries, attractions or points of historical interest? Send your photo the editor at carol.hassler@wicourts.gov to be included in a future issue.

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