Legal professions thrive on effective communication channels. One needs verbal and textual proficiency to become a successful legal practitioner. Legal research is the linchpin of a paralegal’s career. It’s no secret that you must be capable of writing if you wish to become a powerful attorney.
While entering the profession, individuals tend to brush up on their research work to become an asset to the firm. Let’s discuss some methods to sharpen your legal content writing capabilities for a flourishing law career.
Preparing a readable legal document isn’t child’s play. It requires specific content writing skills and comprehension of the legal documentation framework. There are a few tips you can use while writing any legal/non-legal content. Use bullet points where necessary and leave a lot of white margin for printing. Most companies appreciate a professional font. Adding visual aids (charts and graphs, and images and videos) makes a document easily comprehensible. Other tips are as following:
1. Keep Your Readers In Mind
You’re writing for the sake of your audience’s education. Consider future readers while you’re drafting a legal memo. We can divide the potential audience into two categories: internal and external. People who’ve assigned you the writing task are your internal audience.
Begin with reviewing some previously-drafted documents by the assignors. Your external audience comprises the document’s ultimate recipients. These final readers might be clients, judges, or some federal agency. Your content must be clear, concise, and complete. Organize your thoughts before you lift your pen. Even then, you’ll need to edit your content several times before submission.
2. Editing And Proofreading Are Must
Preparing the first draft is just a baby step towards task completion. Then, you begin to edit it multiple times before it becomes worthy of being presented and signed. You can self-edit and even proofread your content. But it’s often difficult to dig out one’s mistakes; let someone else proofread the work.
You can hire a legal editor to review your publication or documentation that can be statute or court’s order. You can also enroll yourself in an online course to become an editor for your company. The trick to effective self-editing is to read your content out loud. It’ll help you examine your draft’s readability. You can also remove any awkward phrasing from your document. Use short sentences and a bunch of bold headings.
3. Proper Understanding And Self-Learning
Comprehensively understand the subject matter before you start writing about it. You can’t begin running if you haven’t learned how to walk yet. It’s impossible to construct a valuable argument without proper research. You also need to review your grammar and vocabulary knowledge.
Use software tools such as Grammarly to check for grammatical mistakes. Make friends with a dictionary, and don’t hesitate to rely on the thesaurus. Purchase a copy of Strunk and White’s The Element Of Style. There’s no embarrassment in taking a language class if you wish to polish your language skills. Be careful about spelling and punctuation mistakes.
4. Use Everyday Language If Possible
Clarity of language is always appreciated. There’s no need to use legal jargon unnecessarily. Use easily understandable terms and avoid being too eloquent wth your wordings. Try explaining complex lawful terms in layman’s words. Your purpose is to convey information, not ascertaining your literary supremacy.
Be brief with your sentences, as described above. Avoid using passive voice sentences; they reduce your content’s overall readability. Use headings and subheadings. Write a clear-cut introduction and conclusion. Increase the usage of conjunctions and transitional phrases. They expand the meaning of your content.
5. Study Books On Legal Writing
Many decent, lawful writing books are available for self-study. Ross Guberman’s Point Made provides you several actionable techniques to improve your content writing skills. Bryan Garner and Antonin Scalia co-authored Making Your Case that explains the fine art of persuasion. As written in a conversational tone, this book clarifies how to make your case before a jury. Garner has also written Legal Writing In Plain English for improving law students’ communication skills.
You can benefit a lot from Richard Wydick and Amy Sloan’s Plan English For Lawyers too. Studying case laws and legal blogs also help in the development of lawful content writing skills.
6. Be Forward-Thinking And Use Actionable Words
Write as if you’re responding to future queries. Predict what sort of questions your potential readers are asking in their minds. Then answer these queries in the form of problem-solving mannerism. Your goal is to extinguish the fire of curiosity among the audience.
Write as if you’re solving legal problems and providing their simple but effective solutions. Bring more strength to your words and make them actionable. Be ruthless, and don’t sound weak. In other words, bring the prose to life with an influential set of terms. For instance, don’t write the judge was angry. Write, the judge was furious. Replace not telling the truth, but an abrupt, outright lying.
7. Adopt Extensive Reading Habit
You can’t achieve literary superiority even if you’re not a reading man. Be too bookish when you have the task of preparing a paralegal document. Read Supreme Court briefs and opinions. Learn and embrace the legal language the American justice system uses. Find authentic papers and pay attention to the structure of legal documents. Be concise with your argumentation. Don’t focus on writing more words; focus on writing legitimate content. Prepare an outline before you SWScommence drafting the memo. Choose an eye-catching title and make subheadings attractive to a reader’s eye.
There’s truth to this statement: “One needs to write regularly to become a good writer.” Efficient lawyers possess a diverse set of skills that enables them to succeed in their careers. Excellence in oral/written communication is an essential skill to acquire. Legal speech is more complex, formal, and to-the-point than a commoner’s tongue. An attorney needs to be careful about his/her grammar and vocabulary. Developing one’s legal content writing is crucial for success in one’s profession.