Nafeesa – The Writer's Blog

My Writings and Tips for Good Writing

Ideas for a Legal Writer

Usually, the job of legal writing has already been presumed by the attorney. Increasingly now, however, paralegals are becoming expected by their supervising lawyers to prepare a variety of appropriate documents. Some papers are produced for interior purposes, relied upon by the attorney when preparing for litigation or an appeal. Other files are assessed by the attorney, modified, and finally submitted because of the court. In law offices of all of the of the sizes, it’s maybe not uncommon for experienced paralegals to create instance briefs, research memoranda, motions, memoranda of things and authorities, and even appellate briefs.

Legal writing can be intimidating when it comes to many seasoned legal professional. Nearing your then legal writing assignment doesn’t need to be an overwhelming knowledge when you can remember this pneumonic unit:

Every Outstanding Paralegal Is Able To Write Well and Effectively.

The very first page of every term corresponds with a tip to assist drive your legal writing abilities. If you stick to these ten tips, you’re going to be well on your method to torture-free appropriate writing!

Idea #1 – Establish a G.O.A.L. for your writing project.
Before you decide to place pen to paper or disposal to keyboard, you need to first gather some important info. This details is the GOAL of your task.

* G is short for the surface principles for the project. Whether you perform golf, Monopoly, or checkers, an extensive knowledge of the guidelines associated with the online game is paramount. Exactly the exact same principle holds true in legal writing. Familiarize your self with all the document format that should be used, the nature font and font size which are necessary, therefore the margins that are appropriate. If you are writing a document that’ll be made use of internally, be sure to follow the format favored by your attorney. Utilize letter examples of previously submitted work as a guidebook in completing your project. If you’re organizing an appellate courtroom brief, you must know the procedure for integrating references to your record together with transcript. For those who have any queries about the technical requirements for the document, ask your attorney or consult your regional guidelines associated with judge where the document is supposed to be filed. Or, phone the clerk of courtroom. Because failure to adhere to the judge principles may be grounds for the clerk to reject your filing, it is obviously wise to inquire about concerns to get it appropriate the first time.

* O is short for the objective of your project. Now which you understand the surface guidelines, you should know just how to “win” the video game. What’s the purpose of your assignment? Are you composing to inform or even persuade? Are you writing a research memorandum to inform your attorney about the client’s viable defenses under condition law? Or, will you be writing to sway the court to deny the opposing party’s motion for summary view? Understanding the goal of your project allows one to better approach how you conduct your research. Maintaining the goal in mind also helps you focus and design your writing, safeguarding up against the probability that essential details are going to be overlooked or omitted.

* an is short for your audience. Whether you are composing to your attorney, another paralegal, opposing counsel, the client, or to the courtroom, it’s crucial to modify your writing style, tone, and formality in a fashion appropriate for your desired market. For instance, the usage contractions is typically considered also casual whenever composing to the courtroom, but may be appropriate when writing a research memorandum to your attorney.

* L stands for the restrictions for the task. Whenever your attorney offers you a project, you need to verify the due day. If you should be organizing a document that will in the end be recorded with the court, it’s also wise to know the filing deadline. Based upon the kind of document you may be planning, it will be vital to know the applicable statute of restrictions when it comes to cause(s) of action being asserted. Furthermore, you need to consult the courtroom principles for almost any constraints on the number of pages your document may add additionally the number of exhibits that can be appended.

Idea #2 – Organize your research products.
Hours of study are meaningless if that seminal situation you’ll require is hidden someplace under the heaps of report and stacks of files on the desk. For simple organization and worry-free retrieval, hole-punch your study products and document them by category in a three-ring binder. Use color-coded tabs and especially marked dividers to split your products into primary and additional power, required and persuasive expert, and federal and condition power.

In the upper right-hand place regarding the very first web page of every case you pull, note the client-matter quantity, the day you retrieved the case, as well as the legal principle(s) which is why the situation is vital. Whenever you file the situation and need to pull it later on, you won’t need to re-read it to remember why you printed it out in the very first location. Create a list or table of items of the research materials and upgrade it as needed. Save the document on your own PC and put a difficult content in the binder.

Suggestion #3- Prepare an overview.
After you’ve finished your research, but if your wanting to start composing, prepare an outline of this details you’ll add in your document. Make use of the necessary format for your document as a device in creating your outline. For instance, if you should be composing an appellate quick, your outline should mirror each area of the brief, including the declaration of this problems, statement for the realities, and argument parts. In your overview, for each problem you intend to discuss, consist of an IRAC (Issue-Rule-Analysis-Conclusion) breakdown.

If you should be composing an appropriate memorandum or appellate brief, list the major things you can expect to deal with in your argument area while the subheadings that will go under these points. Remember that more powerful arguments should show up before weaker ones. After you’ve got prepared an initial overview, break it down more into section levels. Quickly identify the subject of each paragraph and list the data that will likely be incorporated into the paragraph together utilizing the appropriate references to authority you can expect to mention. This procedure may appear laborious, but spending considerable time for you to prepare your overview will in fact help conserve you amount of time in the extended term.

Tip #4 – maintain your writing basic and brief.
With apologies to your university English trainer, appropriate writing ain’t about utilizing flowery expressions or melodic prose to express your tips. On the contrary, legal writing is about decreasing the complex to the easy. The abstract to your concrete. Together with superfluous to your required. The range in Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If”, where he writes of walking with leaders but not dropping the typical touch, sums up exactly what ought to be your strategy to legal writing. Also though you may be handling lawyers and judges with numerous advanced degrees and countless years of legal knowledge, you need to create your document in a way that the typical individual can understand your message. Believe the individual that will read your document features not attended law school or graduated from a paralegal system. Hold your writing easy, but try not to give up precision. State the facts, raise the problems, support your debate with all the expert, and end with a suitable “call to activity.” This means…get to your point!

Great legal writing is additionally quick, or succinct. Eliminate using multisyllabic words whenever a shorter word choice will show simply like effective. Substitute a single word for a lengthier phrase. “Filed an action against” becomes “sue” and “with reference to” becomes “concerning.” Write in short sentences (25 terms or less) to increase your reader’s comprehension. Also, shorter paragraphs assist your reader much better digest your message. You don’t consume a steak all at when. Rather, you take some time, savoring it piece by piece in a number of bites. Likewise, you do not would you like to overwhelm the reader with a section that runs three-quarters for the page. Divide much longer paragraphs into even more palatable two or three short sentences.

Idea #5 – keep the reader’s interest.
Good writing captures the reader’s interest at the start, creates upon that interest throughout the middle, and satiates that interest at the end. Efficient legal writing is not a different. While you build your document, remove all obstacles and roadblocks to keeping your reader’s interest. we recommend you consist of a built-in navigation unit. At the start of your document, give your audience a roadmap of in which you are going and describe how you plan to get here. Throughout your document, place mile markers to orient your reader on exactly how the area he or this woman is reading fits within the bigger photo.

Avoid reading-induced hypnotherapy by different the duration of your phrases and paragraphs. Utilize headings and subheadings as appropriate to split up huge blocks of text regarding the page. Include adequate white area to provide your readers a graphic (and mental) resting place. Emphasize key things or phrases with unique formatting such as italics and bold, but be cautious not to ever overdo an excellent thing. Utilize bulleted lists as suitable. Strategically placed graphs, maps, and tables add substantive worth to your writing and also help further engage your viewer.

Idea #6 – link it collectively with topic sentences and change bridges.
The earlier tip mentioned the necessity of offering your viewer with direction during the outset of your document and guideposts along the method. A very good option to accomplish this might be to begin each section with a subject sentence to introduce the topic you plan to talk about. Stop each part with a change bridge to a higher paragraph. Terms such as “however,” “moreover,” and “in addition” often helps generate a smooth transition between independent, but associated, ideas. Using transition language as you move from a point to your then contributes into the general cohesiveness of your writing.

Idea #7 – Write in active sound.
It is definitely an excellent guideline of thumb to utilize energetic sound in any sorts of writing. To work on this, organize your phrase to ensure that the topic performs the action conveyed by the verb. Within the almost all instances, a phrase written utilizing energetic voice is much more clear and direct than one composed using passive voice. Notwithstanding this general concept, there may be times when the facts in your case determine the usage of passive sound. For instance, in an unlawful case where your attorney represents the accused, you certainly would not wish to create, “The defendant assaulted the victim.” rather, you would create, “The victim ended up being attacked.”

Idea #8 – Write in positive voice.
Use a glass half-full strategy in your appropriate writing by using good voice. Change unfavorable statements into affirmative statements. Compare “The defendant shouldn’t be prohibited from asserting a contributory negligence.” with “The defendant must be allowed to assert a contributory negligence defense.” Notice the way the second sentence checks out better and is more direct.

Idea #9 – prevent legalese and legal jargon as much as possible.
As creatures of routine, we quite frequently discover it challenging to embrace new means of doing things. We now have actually a propensity to fall back regarding the familiar. Thankfully, the foothold this sort of resistance has gained into the area of legal writing is certainly going the method of the pet stone. Law college teachers and appropriate professionals identical are eschewing the application of archaic legal jargon and legalese. Therefore in the event you. Legalese and jargon only function to confuse the definition of your message. Feature all of them only if absolutely needed. (If you come across an “absolutely essential” instance, let me understand.)

Idea #10 – Edit your writing when it comes to 7 Cs.
After you finish your very first draft, carefully review your work and edit for the following:

* Clarity – Aim for specificity. Include information if required to explain your point. Remove info that makes your point muddy. Rephrase or re-work passages to make certain your point is communicated plainly and meaningfully.

* Completeness – utilize the overview you prepared from Suggestion #3 as a list to see whether your document is full. Assessment your document to see if you included the desired elements and needed details.

* Conciseness – Eliminate unnecessary words and fillers. Remove redundancies. Remember to hold your sentences and paragraphs easy, quick, and also to the idea.

* Concreteness – Eliminate long appropriate expressions and replace shorter cement words and expressions. “Apprehended the suspect” becomes “arrested Mrs. Johnson.”

* Consistency – go through your writing to ensure your use of tenses and pronouns is steady from starting to stop. Inspect to see which you made use of exactly the same word or term each time you referred towards the same idea. For example, if you use your message “terminated” to define what took place to your customer within the first section of your writing, you’ll want to change any sources to your client being “dismissed” or “fired” that look later on in your document.

* Continuity – Review your work for business continuity. Sentences and sentences should flow logically from one to another. Review the very first and finally phrases of each section. If you should be ready to glean the main points by reading these phrases alone, your writing features outstanding continuity.

* Correctness – Verify the legal expert you cited is still appropriate. Double-look at your letter format. Review your work to see that you have actually precisely stated the realities. Eventually, carefully proofread your work for spelling, grammar, typographical and various other types of mistakes that will detract from your message.

After you’ve got made these revisions, ask a friend or household member which does perhaps not have a legal background to review your work. After that, listen towards the comments. Make a moment rounded of changes as required. And then? Breathe easy because you are done. Congratulations.


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