LRWA – LEGAL DRAFTING Formbooks and Drafting Resources
LRWA – LEGAL DRAFTING
Formbooks and Drafting Resources
General Formbooks. These include sample forms for a wide range of topics. All are
located on the Law Library First Floor, Range 107.
American Jurisprudence Legal Forms, 2d ed. Updated annually. Available on Westlaw:
Current Legal Forms with Tax Analysis, by Rabkin & Johnson. Updated quarterly. Available
on LexisNexis: Rabkin & Johnson Current Legal Forms with Tax Analysis.
West’s Legal Forms. Updated twice per year. Available on Westlaw: WEST-LF.
Subject-Specific Formbooks – Contracts. The Contracts section is on the Law Library Third
Floor, Range 319.
Drafting and Analyzing Contracts: A Guide to the Practical Application of the Principles of
Contract Law, by Scott J. Burnham. KF807 .B87 2003.
The Elements of Contract Drafting: With Questions and Clauses for Consideration, by
George W. Kuney. KF807.2 .K86 2003.
A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, by Kenneth A. Adams. KF807 .A33 2004.
Subject-Specific Formbooks – Employment Agreements. Labor and Employment Law
books are shelved on the Third Floor, Ranges 326-327. Employment agreements are also
covered in the Contracts collection, Range 319, Law Library Third Floor.
Consultant & Independent Contractor Agreements by Stephen Fishman. KF898 .F567
The Employment Contract: Rights and Duties of Employers and Employees
by Warren Freedman. KF3319 .F74 1989.
Subject-Specific Formbooks – Legislation. Law Library First Floor, Range 112.
Drafting Legislation and Rules in Plain English, by Robert J. Martineau. REF KF4950.M375
The Legislative Drafter’s Desk Reference, by Lawrence Filson. REF KF4950.F55 1992.
Understanding Common Law Legislation: Drafting and Interpretation, by F.A.R. Bennion.
REF K284 .B46 2001.
Subject-Specific Formbooks – Wills. The Estate Planning collection is located on the Law
Library Third Floor, Ranges 318-319.
Drafting Wills and Trust Agreements, by Robert P. Wilkins. KF748.1 .W55 3d.
Estate Planning and Drafting, by Regis W. Campfield. KF750 .C25 1995.
Virginia Formbooks. These are located at the Circulation Desk, in Law Library First Floor,
Range 121, or on the Second Floor, Range 228.
Virginia Forms KFV2468 .V57.
Virginia Legal and Business Forms. RESERVE KFV2468 .V58.
Michie's Forms on Disc: Virginia Edition. RESERVE KFV2930.A65 M53.
Virginia Employment Practices and Forms, by Edward Lee Isler, Steven W. Ray. KFV2731
Popular Works. Many titles intended for the layperson have forms that are useful to law
students too. These are located in the Reference Section on the First Floor, Range 112.
101 Law Forms for Personal Use. REF KF170 .L46 2004, plus CD at Circulation Desk.
Nolo’s Simple Will Book ELECTRONIC RESOURCE (AVAILABLE THROUGH INTERNET/WWW – SEARCH
THE GMU LIBRARY CATALOG FOR THE LINK)
The Employer's Legal Handbook REF KF3455.Z9 S74 2004.
Estate Planning Basics ELECTRONIC RESOURCE (AVAILABLE THROUGH INTERNET/WWW – SEARCH THE
GMU LIBRARY CATALOG FOR THE LINK)
Drafting Guides. Legal drafting titles are located on Reserve at Circulation Desk, under
Professor Price’s name.
The Fundamentals of Legal Drafting, by Reed Dickerson. KF250 .D5 1986.
Hereof, Thereof, and Everywhereof: A Contrarian Guide to Legal Drafting, by Howard
Darmstadter. KF250 .D37 2002.
Legal Drafting in a Nutshell, by Thomas R. Haggard. KF250 .H343 2003.
LexisNexis. On Lexis, forms are organized by jurisdiction and/or subject. Use “Find a
Source” to locate the applicable database.
LEXIS Clause Library - Corporate Law: "[C]ontains clauses from thousands of different legal
instruments covering the following topics: close corporations, corporations, partnerships,
limited partnerships, LLCs, LLPs, Professional corporations, professional partnerships and S
LEXIS Clause Library - Labor and Employment Law: "[C]ontains clauses from Matthew
Bender treatises and form publications drafted by practitioners covering the following
topical areas: Benefits-Administration; Employment; Independent-Contracting; and
LEXIS Clause Library - Real Property Law: "[C]ontains clauses from thousands of different
legal instruments covering the following topics: condominiums; cooperatives;
construction; financing, leasing and managing property; and sales, exchanges and
Westlaw. On Westlaw, there is a comprehensive database of all forms, as well as smaller,
subject-specific databases. Search the Westlaw Directory to locate the applicable
FORMS-ALL More than 50 treatises and collections containing forms.
CMLFORMS-ALL All State and General Contracts/Commercial Forms, Clauses and
RPFORM-ALL All State and General Real Property Forms, Clauses and Checklists.
Other Online Resources. In addition to Lexis and Westlaw, other commercial websites
offer legal forms. Some of these charge a fee, others do not. The most important
consideration when using an online form is the credibility of the source. Be certain that
you are working with a reputable legal publisher.
CALI Lessons in Contracts: Includes lessons on drafting a contract.
FindLaw for Corporate Counsel: Free forms, organized by industry and by type.
Internet Legal Resource Group: Boasts the web’s largest collection of free forms for
business and personal use. http://www.ilrg.com/forms/
FindForms: Most forms require a fee, but some are free. Most are state-specific.
Virginia Forms: Forms used by Virginia state agencies.
LexisONE: Selected Lexis databases for small firms and solo practitioners. Some free
forms are available but most require a fee.
Updated: Spring 2005 GMU Law Library Reference Staff
Form books are available in print and online. When we refer to “form books”
we also mean online forms.
I Two types of formbooks:
Pleadings and practice forms -which typically include documents that will be
filed with the court (complaints, answers, replies, counterclaims, etc.)
Instruments - that are not necessarily litigious in nature and include model
documents such as leases, contracts, and will provisions. We will discuss this
II Form books:
provide aids for drafting legal documents
provide samples of a wide variety of substantive and procedural forms
include drafting guides, checklists, sample clauses, and examples of entire
III. Locating Legal Forms
review the basic facts about your situation and determine the subject area
does the jurisdiction or governing body have specific requirements?
consult the Formbooks and Drafting Resources to get started, and search
the GMU catalog for additional resources
search the index to the book, or the database online
you may have to be creative in your search in order to find a desired form.
Before searching the index you may want to make a quick list of all the topic
headings you can think of on your particular subject. For example, if you were
looking for a jury instruction concerning guaranteed freedom of speech and
its effect as a defense, you could look under several different topics --
“Defenses,” “Truth,” “Libel and slander,” and “Constitutional law.”
IV. Using Forms
when using the books, be sure to check for a pocket part or supplement
when using an online form, be certain that the source is a reliable legal
publisher, or the governing body itself
always read the form completely
carefully adapt the form to your situation – proofread repeatedly to be sure
you have made all the necessary edits to personalize the form for your client
The most important skill in using form books is knowing how to modify the
sample form(s) to fit your particular situation.