I’ve been poring over Legal Reasoning and Legal Writing: Structure, Strategy, and Style, by Richard K. Neumann, Jr. It’s one of the few books left over from my brother-in-law’s recent years in law school—too good to sell back.
I highly recommend this reference text for legal translators dealing with the US system. The first sections cover the basics of American law and lay out the names of the documents you find at various stages of a legal process. Neumann includes samples of each type of document in the appendix. He explains how a lawyer thinks about the case before he writes it down, and the reasons for using certain terms over others. You learn about what phrases are real terms of art, and what phrases poor drafters made up. There are lots of little “write this, not that” lists throughout the sections. Written for lawyers, but I can’t think of a better guide for a legal linguist!
What are your favorite reference works for your subject matter area? Share away!