CONTRIBUTOR RESOURCES
Drafting Guidelines

Scope

An ICLE book chapter is an authoritative and continually updated legal analysis of a particular area of law or legal topic. Your goal is not to write an academic treatise. Rather, a book chapter should provide a complete picture of the area of law that goes beyond the cases, statutes, or court rules to include insights and practice tips that you’ve honed throughout your career.

Process

You will draft a chapter outline, which will be reviewed by the ICLE lawyer and contributing editors. When everyone is in agreement on the outline, you will do a first draft of your chapter, which will also go through this review process. The ICLE lawyer and contributing editors will often have particular questions or suggestions, and you can expect to go through several rounds of communication concerning the draft. If responding to questions or making revisions to a prior draft, please use the Track Changes function in Microsoft Word so that the editing process goes smoothly. The ICLE lawyer working with you will give you deadlines at each step in the process. It is extremely important to adhere to these deadlines, since the work of our copyeditors and other staff depends on the previous deadlines being met.

Length

In general, we ask that the length of a complete chapter be no more than 40-50 double-spaced Microsoft Word pages. Of course, sometimes the subject matter dictates a longer or shorter chapter. Talk with the ICLE lawyer working with you about the length of your chapter.

Citations

Please provide accurate citations, but note that ICLE staff will double-check their accuracy, add parallel citations, and make sure they conform to our style guidelines. You are not responsible for “citechecking.” ICLE uses LEXIS rather than Westlaw citations. We use pinpoint cites only for quotes; it is not necessary to provide pinpoints for parallel cites.

Format

ICLE staff will take care of a lot of the formatting issues. Please note the following:

  • Use Microsoft Word for your draft if at all possible.
  • Do not use footnotes, to support a better user experience.
  • Do not worry about the particular style for numbering of subsections; ICLE staff will standardize this according to our style guidelines.

Language Style

Remember that your chapter is not an academic treatise and need not be dry or overly formal (though you should avoid contractions). Simple, concise, and straightforward language is best. Avoid legalese and the passive voice.

Practice Tips

Our book chapters often include practice tips set off from the body of the text. This is especially useful when you have anecdotal information to share, or where the law is uncertain and you want to advise on best practices.

Forms and Checklists

One of the most important features of an ICLE book is its set of sample forms and helpful checklists. Please include or suggest necessary checklists and drafted or government forms that should be included in the chapter. ICLE staff will create links to all forms in the chapter. Users will be able to view the forms online and, for drafted forms, download a word-processing version to customize for their own matter.

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