Practicing law means writing. Lots of writing. Motions, demand letters, emails to clients, memos, you name it -- the practice of law is in many ways practice in writing. Which means, to be a better lawyer, you need to be a better writer.
Don't worry though, with some practice and a few tips, pretty much anyone can start writing gooder. To help you out, here are our top legal writing tips for lawyers, from the FindLaw archives.
You write for the court, clients, and other attorneys, but do you write for the public? You should. Whether you're writing blog posts, op-eds, or academic research, writing and publishing can help you build credibility as an expert in your field. And you might actually enjoy it.
Legal writing is rarely simple. After all, legal issues worth writing about are rarely simple themselves, and complex ideas can lead to complex sentences. But often, legal writing becomes so complex that it serves more to obfuscate than illuminate. Here's how you can avoid the trap of excess complexity and start writing better by writing simply.
Sometimes we get carried away. A motion for reconsideration becomes a cri de coeur against Orwellian dictatorship, an email to opposing counsel becomes a denunciation of "economic sodomy." And that sort of hyperbole isn't just bad writing, it's actually damaging for your case.
Lucky are the lawyers who get the occasional legal demand letter so lacking in merit and devoid of worth that the only appropriate response is "F-- off." Here's how you can master the form.
When it comes to writing for a living, many of us have editors. Journalists, authors, even legal bloggers have someone to look over their shoulder for split infinitives and shifting tenses. Lawyers? Not so much. So, next time you edit yourself, keep these common mistakes in mind.
When it comes to making an impact on the page, the words you write matter most, but how they look plays a role as well. And if everything you type is in Word or Word Perfect's default fonts, margins, and spacing, well ... You're missing some opportunities. Here's what you should know about typography and layout, for lawyers.