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Forms

Strategy 1: Start With a Guide

  • For procedural documents, try a procedural practice guide, which will help you identify all of the forms you need to file and when and how to file them, as well as pointing you to relevant court rules governing filings. 
  • For transactional documents, try a general guide to contract drafting.
  • Also consider general guides to legal drafting, for tips on writing clearly and professionally and avoiding common errors.

Strategy 2: Use a Subject Specific Form Book

Many subject specific form books provide detailed guidance for attorneys in specific practice areas.

Strategy 3: Use a General Form Book

Find a subject specific form in a general procedural or transactional form book. 

  • General form books collect thousands of forms in many practice areas, usually arranged alphabetically by subject.
  • Popular transactional form books include AmJur's Legal Forms and West's California Transaction Forms.
  • Popular procedural form books include Bender's Federal Practice Forms and California Forms of Pleading and Practice.
  • To find relevant forms, browse the index and table of contents; search electronic copies; and pay close attention to cross-references. 
  • When you already know that a specific California statute applies, try West's California Code Forms, organized by California code section. 

Strategy 4: Use a Transactional Database

Transactional databases such as Bloomberg's DealMaker Documents, the Practical Law Company, or Lexis's Practice Advisor are geared towards attorneys drafting contracts and other transactional documents and can help you locate and compare legal documents and clauses.

Strategy 5: Combine a Court-Specific Form with Legal Elements

Often there is no form that suits the facts and law of your case. In this scenario, a court specific form can help create a readable structure that complies with court rules, while other secondary sources can help fill in the elements of a specific cause of action or defense.

Good sources of court-specific forms include:

Good sources of elements include: