- Published on 14 September 2016
Judge Mark Painter is an experienced lawyer with a distinguished career, yet he can still add to resume daily through his published works. Three of Painter’s five books have been published through Cincinnati Book Publishing, and he is currently in the process of creating the fifth edition of The Legal Writer: 40 Rules for the Art of Legal Writing.
Painter first decided to write The Legal Writer because he had already complied the material throughout his career. He said, “I was doing a number of seminars on legal writing, and I had overhead slides – oh so long ago when there used to be overheads – and I had done so much work on that, rather than hand out copies on pieces of paper, it seemed sensible to grow it into a book. So I did.”
"Certainly if you include on your resume the number of books you've published, that adds to you credibility," Painter said.
The Legal Writer has been through four editions since its original publication in 2002, but still maintains its original goal. The book, and Judge Painter’s writing philosophy, is about the necessity of clear, plain language in legal writing. For Painter, writing the book was mainly about formalizing his previous notes and slides, and making sure he followed his own advice throughout the writing process. Painter emphasized that the book is brief, and he intends it to be read in one sitting. He said, “Of course, when I’m telling lawyers to be concise and keep their writing short, I don’t want a very long book.”
Publication has given Judge Painter additional credibility, reaffirming his status as an expert in plain language, and opened doors to many new opportunities. Thanks to his book, Painter has been able to teach classes and give seminars all across the United States, and even some internationally. He said, “Because of the book I got invited among four international experts to speak about plain English writing in Malaysia.” Painter explained that Malaysia had recently updated all of their standard contracts to plain English, and asked him to instruct groups of lawyers and writers.
Thanks to his book, Painter was also asked to edit and write the foreword for Jeremy Burnside’s book, Look to your Left.
From the success of The Legal Writer, Judge Painter also wrote Write Well: 25 Rules for Business and Professional Writing. “I started getting asked by non-legal groups for advice and seminars,” Painter said, “so I revised the book and took all of the specific legal things out. A lot of the principles are the same.”
The fifth edition of The Legal Writer will soon be available through Cincinnati Book Publishing, and feature updated examples along with revisions.