Professional Legal Writing Preparation
Learning and implementing a writing style and terminology in preparation of various types of legal documents can be difficult for many legal professionals. In this article there are a number of suggestions which may be very helpful.
For those practitioners who find themselves spending more time researching and writing briefs than actually working with their clients, outsourcing to specialists can be a great option. With that being said, here are five simple suggestions for improving your legal writing:
Create an Easy Experience for the Reader
Remember that whoever is reading your briefs, be it a judge or anyone else, they are not looking for an adventure in language. They are looking to understand the summary of an argument in a clear and concise manner. They don’t want to have to ponder what you mean and “interpret” what you are saying.
Get to the Point Early
It is also important to remember that this is not some mystery novel with a surprise twist ending that you are writing. You don’t need to “lead” the reader to your point slowly or build up drama. These types of documents should always get straight to the point as early as possible while also being as succinct as possible.
Avoid Complicated Terms and Phraseology
Although there is a lot of legal terminology which may have to go into various kinds of paperwork in certain spots, it is very important that you do not overdo it. It doesn’t make the presentation of your case any more persuasive by littering it with large numbers of “hitherto” and “heretofore” when it is not necessary. This goes for adverb and adjective usage as well. Just because you write “obviously” does not mean that the statement is obvious.
Place Important Information in Strategic Locations
Research shows that people most remember the first things that they read and the last. Understanding this premise and letting it guide your legal writing can help you structure your documents in the manner which is most impactful to the reader. Try to put your most important points at the beginning of sentences and paragraphs. Likewise, use the end points to make summaries and reinforce previously stated facts.
Stay Mindful of Sentence Length
Warren Buffet is the master of this final point. It is reported that his investment presentations average thirteen and a half words and his average word contains 4.9 letters. While that may not be totally reproducible in legal writing due to the length of many of the necessary terms and statutes, the principle can still be followed. The idea is that it is more valuable to show clients that you can produce results from your skills in practice, rather than just impressing them with big words.
Regardless of whether you choose to handle your own legal writing or prefer to outsource it to experts who specialize in offering this and other types of support to attorneys, the main thing is that it needs to be done properly. Otherwise, you risk damaging your own case right from the start. To learn more about professional legal writing for your law firm, Contact or Call 1-800-366-0573.