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Legal Research and Writing

Oregon Bar Bulletin’s Legal Writer

The Legal Writer column appears in each issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Authors include Elizabeth Ruiz Frost, Tenielle Fordyce-Ruff, Rebekah Hanley, Sam Jacobson, Megan McAlpin, Joan Rocklin, and Suzanne Rowe. The column was begun by Professor Rowe in 2006.


April 2015 — Brevity: A Challenge

February/March 2015 — Mental Shrinkage: The Many Costs of Multitasking

January 2015 — "C" Change: Compelling Compliments and Confrontations


December 2014 — Difficult Conversations: Talking About Bad Writing

November 2014 — Think Different: The End of the Adverb?

October 2014 — From the Mail Bag: Responses to Readers

August/September 2014 — Run-on Sentence Outbreak! Examine Emails for Infection

July 2014 — Keep Learning: Thinking About Writing, Part II

June 2014 — Avoiding Awkardness: Parallels in Grammar and Etiquette

May 2014 — Plainish English: Write As You Speak, Unless…

April 2014 — Finding a Good Book: Why Reading Good Writing Will Make You a Better Writer

February/March 2014 — Verboten: Vacuous Verbiage on Valentine's Day

January 2014 — Thinking About Writing: The Discipline to Become a Better Writer


December 2013 — Autoantonymns: Words That Mean Their Opposites

November 2013 — Why You'll Never Be a Good Writer: And Why You Should Still Keep Trying

October 2013 — Take Note! Creating Knowledge Through Notes

August/September 2013 — Wishful Thinking: If the Subjunctive Were Easy

July 2013 — Mentoring Legal Writers: Overcoming 'Illusory Superiority'

June 2013 — Breaking the Habits of the Inefficient: Procrastination and Writer's Block

May 2013 — Taken to Task: Touch Up Your "T" Words

April 2013 — Cutting the Clutter: Spring Cleaning for Writing

February/March 2013 — Pure Sentences: Punctuation Free

January 2013 — Readers' Pet Peeves: A Brief Collection of Annoyances and Goat-Getters


December 2012 — Future Shock: Writing in a Brave New World

November 2012 — A Matter of Style: About that Legal Writing

October 2012 — F Words: The First Flames of Fall

August/September 2012 — Happy Punctuation Day! Readers' Haiku Celebration

July 2012 — Adjective Order: A Quick, Easy Guide

June 2012 — "G" Is for Graft: A Gaggle of Great "G" Words

May 2012 — Primer on Pronouns: Common Mistakes

April 2012 — Commas for My Class

February/March 2012 — The Problem with Shall

January 2012 — Right as Rain: Remarkable and Revealing R Words


December 2011 — Web-based Authorities: Reliable Resources for the Wired Writer

November 2011 — Spell Czech: Amusing Mistakes Your Computer Won't Catch

October 2011 — Drawing with Words: Creating Clear, Colorful Writing

August/September 2011 — Let the Festivities Begin! National Punctuation Day

July 2011 — Building Bridges: Connecting Islands of Ideas

June 2011 — The Formula for Becoming – or Hiring – a Capable Legal Writer

May 2011 — Celebrating Dependence: The Joys of Subordinate Clauses

April 2011 — What's Your Point? Tips for Writing Clearly

February/March 2011 – Notes on Quotes: When and How to Borrow Language

January 2011 – Painful Prose: The Difficulty of Writing


December 2010 – Back to Basics: Subjects, Verbs, Complete Sentences, and Active Voice

November 2010 – Readers Write: Two More Years with Legal Writers

October 2010 — Word Choices V: Interesting Eyes

August/September 2010 — Are You Dense? Editing Obtuse Writing

July 2010 — Which is That? Restrictions for Clarity

June 2010 — Five Tools for Writing Fixes: Stocking the Legal Writer's Toolbox

May 2010 — Taskus Interruptus: Good Writing Requires Concentration

April 2010 — Conquering the Colon: The Adventures of Advanced Punctuation

February/March 2010 — Proper Placement: The Humor of Misplaced Modifiers

January 2010 — Appalling Etiquette: Writing as a Professional


December 2009 — Constructive Criticism: A Generous Bonus in Down Economy

November 2009 — Punctuation You Can Learn to Love: Six Simple Steps to Correct Commas

October 2009 — Perfect Tenses: The Timing of Verbs

August/September 2009 — Lessons from the Magic Kingdom: A Legal Writer Reflects on Summer Vacation

July 2009 — Running On?: Life Support for Sentences

June 2009 — Clear or Confusing?: When Repetition Works (and Doesn't)

May 2009 — Word Choices IV: Too Close for Comfort?

April 2009 — Word Choices III: Verb Pairs that Puzzle

February/March 2009 — Making it Plain: In Love with Legalese?

January 2009 — Resolutions: A New Writing Process for the New Year


December 2008 — Gifts for Your Legal Writer: A Shopper's Guide

November 2008 — Signaling Support: Linking Citation to Text

October 2008 — Silencing the Novelist Within: Squelching Creative Writing

August/September 2008 — Mea Culpa: Mistakes of a Legal Writing Column Writer

July 2008 — Reader-Friendly Transitions: Showing the Way From Here to There

June 2008 — Keep It Simple: "Short and Sweet" Brings Clarity to Legal Writing

May 2008 — E-Writing: tips 4 btr comm

April 2008 — Writing with Oregon Style

February/March 2008 – Problems with Pronouns: Replacing Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla

January 2008 – Word Choices II: More Pairs That Puzzle


December 2007 – A Parallel Universe: Keeping the Grammatical World in Order

November 2007 – Devilish Details: Legal Writing is Precise Writing

October 2007 – The Beauty of the Verb

August/September 2007 – Abuse of Discretion

July 2007 – Passive Voice

June 2007 – Finessing Gender Pronouns: When "He" or "She" Just Won't Do

May 2007 – Comma Power: A Punctuation Mark with Clout

April 2007 – Word Choices: Pairs that Puzzle

February/March 2007 – Concise Writing: Three Steps for Removing the Muck in Writing

January 2007 – Know Your Nouns — Perplexing Plurals and Possessives


December 2006 – Perfect Proofing: Ten Steps Towards Error-Free Proofing

November 2006 – Six to Nix: Grammar Rules to Leave Behind

October 2006 – Unblocking Writer's Block

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