Good editors don’t just see the sentence that was written. They see the sentence that might have been written. They know how to spot words that shouldn’t be included and summon up ones that haven’t yet appeared. Their value comes not just from preventing mistakes but from discovering new ways to improve a piece of writing’s style, structure, and overall impact.
This book— which is based on a popular course taught at the University of Chicago Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, and the UCLA School of Law— is designed to help you become one of those editors. You’ll learn how to edit with empathy. You’ll learn how to edit with statistics. You’ll learn, in short, a wide range of compositional skills you can use to elevate your advocacy and better champion the causes you care about the most.

An All-American soccer player in college who holds both a PhD in English and a JD, Professor Patrick Barry joined the University of Michigan Law School after clerking for two federal judges and working in legal clinics devoted to combatting human trafficking and reforming the foster care system. He is the author of several books on advocacy—including Good with Words: Writing and Editing, The Syntax of Sports, and Notes on Nuance—and regularly puts on workshops for law firms, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations. He also teaches at the University of Chicago Law School and has developed a series of online courses for the educational platform Coursera.