Good legal writing is a lawyer’s stock-in-trade. Use these tips to up your writing game. Make it easy for your reader Legal readers are busy. They don’t want to have to stop and think to figure out what you mean or
Spoiler alert: Employers complain about new lawyers’ writing skills. Here’s how to strengthen yours.
Self-driving cars, literature produced by computers, autonomous military armaments, robotic child companions – and more – are already here. These developments and those to come all pose important legal issues, some of which are unprecedented. Luckily though, you don’t have to be a Silicon Valley wiz kid to enter this essay competition.
Law students and young lawyers often miss one of the most important parts of their writing: Credibility. Because with the right credibility, you can persuade even the most skeptical readers. Your reader can't see you; they can't hear you. Everything about who you are must spring from
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the right for women to vote became law in the USA. And the 19th Amendment is the topic of the DC Bar's writing competition. The D.C. Bar Communities Office is presenting this year's competition. The winner will receive
We're excited to announce that we're taking applications for our second Editorial Board of the ABA Law Student Division! Apply for a position on the Board by January 15. "Why apply for this law student editorial board," you ask? Sitting on an editorial board and earning publishing credits in law school is
What is the purpose of writing an article which interprets and analyzes current situations relating to the legal field?
Turns out that the show about nothing has a lot to say about the law. SeinfeldLaw is a blog that breaks down the law through the medium of Seinfeld and Seinfeld through the medium of the law.
Producing high quality legal writing is vitally important to your success—but it’s difficult to learn. We dedicate an entire year to learning legal writing in law school, yet most legal writing still isn’t good. How is that possible?
The first thing you will learn how to do in law school is how to brief cases. As you become familiar with this concept, you'll realize that it is much more of an art to be perfected than it is a simple skill to be learned on the weekend. So, you’ll want to spend some time (okay, lots of time) perfecting your craft.
Here's a solution to a legal citation problem that comes up all the time. Please bear with me for the intro. It will be worth it. While reading a court decision earlier this year, I came across a passage in which the court quoted authority from an earlier decision which, in
As a young lawyer or intern, most attorneys will judge your lawyerly skills not by reading your appellate briefs or summary judgment motions—but by reading your emails. A young associate’s life is full of quick-and-dirty email assignments. Research questions for partners, summaries of documents—you will spend many of your days
You probably know that outlining is an important part of the writing process. An outline helps you organize your writing and identify gaps in your analysis. The more complex the material you are writing about, the more important your organization is—and legal analysis is often complex. Most writers outline at
Looking out my office window toward the courthouse door, I am conflicted by the view of the gentleman entering. On one hand, I agree with his obvious belief that John Elway is the greatest quarterback in history (well, retired – Tom Brady may take his place), and I truly appreciate
It is not even halfway through 2017, and already, it has been a fascinating year for those practicing in fields of law that intersect with the law at the highest levels of government. We've had the continuing travels of President Donald Trump's executive order on travel limitations from several predominantly Muslim
“Have you watched that video I tagged you in?!” Within a few short years, clever memes and fail videos have taken over social media. If we happen to come across something worth sharing with our friends, social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow users to tag their friends
In most law school seminars, the instruction of legal writing usually gets broken down into technical details. However, legal writing—just like every other form of writing—is more art than science. You must learn how to tell a story, appeal to an audience, and—after you’ve gotten the mechanics of analysis down—trust your instincts. Over almost a decade of
There will be times when traditional legal writing won’t be the best way to get your point across. Here’s how to write informally and effectively. Picasso famously said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” Beyond the formal “rules” for office memos and appellate
As a lawyer in court, you’ll need two intellectual qualities: a head for the law and a head for the facts. Both are essential. You must be able to apply the right rule with common sense, and you must be able to show the
You’ll be judged by the letters you write—and the emails. That should come as no surprise. People will gauge your intellect, your care, your confidence, your poise, and your considerateness by your letters. Neglect the skill of letter-writing at your peril. Most law students, I’ve discovered in recent years, don’t know
Put down your iPad, your Kindle, or other “device”—just for a second. Recent studies have shown that reading in print leads to better comprehension and recall than reading on a screen. That’s according to Myra Orlen, associate professor of legal research and writing and director of academic success programs at Western
A pressing issue in legal writing: We must—absolutely must—develop a short-form method for citing cases, even in a first reference to a case. Given where things stood 20 years ago—when virtually all legal writers stuffed their cumbersome citations mid-text and often mid-sentence—I’m delighted by how many courts have taken to
Back in 1985, when I was deciding which law firm I wanted to join as an associate, a pivotal factor for me was that only one of them owned a full run of the Federal Supplement, or F. Supp. The firm was Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal in Dallas. The
One thing you’re certain to be doing in a law-related job is writing. So take every word you write seriously. You’ll be judged by your words. At the sentence level, two perils can spoil your writing: zombie nouns and passive voice. You need to be thoroughly familiar with them, or else
It happens every year. A student sits in my office and asks for a life jacket—figuratively, of course. They’re drowning in legal information. It’s a common problem. Legal researchers today deal with a rising sea of legal information. In 2012, for example, the US Courts of Appeals and District Courts published