For Law Students

Join Now

Category: Legal Writing

Virtual Office Hours

Get answers on legal writing in our first Virtual Office Hours replay

September 18, 2020

Legal writing, analysis and research are the most critical lawyering skills taught in the law school.  It’s as hard as it is important. We’re here to help!  Join us for tips that will help strengthen your legal writing skills and impress your professors. Our first

Legal Writing

10 top tips for legal writing

November 07, 2019

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

IoT3: Your fate awaits in the 3nd annual Artificial Intelligence Writing Competition

October 15, 2019

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.


3 personas to create when building your credibility as a legal writer

September 03, 2019

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


DC Bar writing competition examines the 19th Amendment

August 29, 2019

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


You should apply to our Law Student Editorial Board now—here's why

April 02, 2019

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


A law blog about nothing: Meet SeinfeldLaw

January 14, 2019

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.

Cleaned Up

Use (cleaned up) to make your legal writing easier to read

October 03, 2017

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


A young attorney’s most important writing: Emails

September 14, 2017

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


Add reverse outlining to your writing toolbox

September 05, 2017

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

Work Product

You will feel stupid (part 1): Work on your work product!

July 31, 2017

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


A link to the future of legal citations?

May 22, 2017

“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

The art of legal writing: How to find your voice

March 01, 2016

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

Writing Style

6 Tips for Developing an Informal Writing Style

December 01, 2015

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

Arguing Your Authorities

April 01, 2015

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

Common Sense in Letter-Writing

March 14, 2015

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

A paperless world? Not so fast

December 14, 2014

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

The Case for Streamlining Citations

November 01, 2014

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

Why, As a Legal Writer, You Must Research in Two Realms

September 01, 2014

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

Eliminate Zombie Nouns and Minimize Passive Voice

May 01, 2014

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