The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law

The Wall Street Journal law blog is featuring Mark Herrmann’s The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law this week.   The series started today with a review and an excerpt from the book on defending depositions, and the blog promises that excerpts will continue through the week.  If you’d like to go whole hog and buy the book now, you can find it on Amazon for a better price than the ABA website offers.  (As a sidenote, Amazon pairs it with Bryan Garner’s The Winning Brief: 100 Tips for Persuasive Briefing in Trial and Appellate Courts, another terrific resource.)   I’d resisted posting about this book primarily because it seems that everyone else has already done so, but the tidbits that the WSJ blog promises this week will likely help readers decide to purchase the book.

When I began working at Jones Day, Herrmann’s marvelous article This Is What I’m Thinking: A Dialogue Between Partner and Associate . . . From The Partner (published Fall 1998 in Litigation magazine and, sadly, unavailable online) was provided to all associates.  I can’t even guess how many times I referred to that article and several others Herrmann wrote about brief writing; The Curmudgeon’s Guide expands on the kind of tips provided in those articles and, indeed, attempts to introduce the reader with the principles that will permit her to have a successful and rewarding career.

I highly recommend the book because it’s an easy and enjoyable read, and it’s packed with useful advice.  And, in the end, The Curmedgeon’s Guide delivers an unwavering focus on the importance of excellent client service, an appropriate reminder for every lawyer.  Check out the excerpts on the WSJ law blog, and then pick up your own copy.  This is one of the rare law practice how-to books that belongs on every lawyer’s shelf.

3 replies
  1. Julie Fleming Brown
    Julie Fleming Brown says:

    Lorraine, thanks for your comment.

    I agree that the book ix expensive, but that’s almost always the case for books published by the ABA for reasons I’ve never quite understood.

    Care to elaborate on why you think the book is horrible and lacks substance? I’m all for discussion of its merits, but that’s tough to do without a bit more to go on. To quote Ezra Pound, “Any general statement is like a check drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what there is to meet it.”

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  1. […] One of my favorite parts of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law (previously reviewed here) is the section debunking the myth that a new lawyer is a potted plant.  It’s easy for a new […]

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