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How Blogging Can Improve Your Legal Writing

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By Casey C. Sullivan, Esq. on March 09, 2017 2:57 PM

You all know the maxim: the best bloggers are the best lawyers. Alright, maybe that's not a widely adopted saying just yet. But, when it comes to your writing, lawyers could learn a thing or two from blogging.

No, we're not suggesting that you format your next motion for summary judgement as "56 Reasons Defendant Is Entitled to Judgement as a Matter of Law -- Number 27 Will Shock You!" But there are a few bloggy skills that can improve most lawyers legal writing.

Writing for a Distracted Audience

The blogging-legal writing connection came to us when we were reading through a recent piece by John Balestriere, a trial lawyer, on Above the Law. Balestriere's legal writing tip is straightforward: Write like no one has time or attention to devote to your work.

The judges, arbitrators, and juries who will decide your cases may be brighter and more open minded than you, but they will never devote the time to your cases that you do. Advocate accordingly in your writing.

This principal isn't just applicable in court or arbitration. Throughout litigation, Balestriere writes, "assume you will get very little time at that status conference, at that argument, on that call, at that hearing, or at that trial."

That means grabbing attention, starting out strong, getting your points across clearly. And if you want good practice, try blogging. Few readers have so little attention as online readers, and writing for the internet can force you to really hone in on the needs of your readers.

Other Blogging Benefits

Getting a point across quickly and clearly isn't the only skill blogging can help you develop, nor is it the only benefit to blogging. In fact, blogging can help you improve pretty much any writing skill you want to work on. Looking to test out a new rhetorical approach? Write a blog. Want to focus on developing your voice? Write a blog. Want to convey your expertise? Write a blog.

Writing is a skill you develop through practice. But most legal writing, whether for clients, colleagues, or the court, is relatively high-stakes and highly formulaic. Blogging is low stakes, quick, and voluminous, giving you plenty of time to practice, make mistakes, or play around. You can even write under an absurd pseudonym if you want.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

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