We continue this month with more from Melvin Mencher’s News Reporting and Writing, my journalism textbook that, in my opinion, should be required reading for lawyers too. In Chapter 7,…
Category Archives: Legal Writing Tips
One of my chief editing tips is to read your document repeatedly, each time scanning for only one thing – excessive commas, unnecessary capitalization, throat-clearing, etc.
The first scan should probably be devoted to eliminating passive voice.
Leslie A. Gordon I’ve long recommended that lawyers get a second pair of eyes on important documents, either a professional editor or a trusted colleague. Ideally, within the bounds of…
You’re a lawyer, not an academic. In briefs, opinion letters and client communications, you must convey your expertise simply, even when describing something complex. Consider yourself a technical writer, a knowledge expert just like a software manual writer, whose job is to assimilate information for the reader.
To boost drama or emotion in briefs, client letters and other writing, pepper your narrative with short sentences. Easy to read, short sentences focus readers’ attention, helping them retain information. Part style, part literary technique, short sentences control your reader’s pace and add an artistic twist to otherwise bland documents.
We all have words and phrases we use repeatedly. Sometimes, they’re good – specifically and as a result are two of my regulars. But others are crutch phrases or lazy words that dilute the power of writing. While you might not notice how frequently you use certain words, your reader will.