Category Archives: Legal Writing Tips

Legal Writing Tip: In Praise of The Elements of Style

Savannah Blackwell, BASF Bulletin Contributor Fifty-eight years ago, the Macmillan Publishing Company commissioned famed essayist and children’s book author E.B. White to revise The Elements of Style, the “little book”…

Legal Writing Tip: Write Like a Reporter

Savannah Blackwell, BASF Bulletin Contributor Editor’s note: We are excited to welcome attorney/researcher/writer Savannah Blackwell as she takes over the Legal Writing Tips Column.   Write for the court like…

Legal Writing Tip: Avoid Losing Credibility When Writing Your Brief

In law school, we’re taught to zealously advocate for clients. But in brief writing, attorneys shouldn’t resort to hyperbole, sarcasm and exaggeration to achieve that goal. When seeking to persuade,…

Legal Writing Tip: Communicating Effectively

Grammar debates can be epic to those who care. Can interface be used as a verb? Are double negatives really prohibited? Can “that” and “which” or “further” and “farther” be…

Legal Writing Tip: Write Your Briefs with a Sense of Style and Drama

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,…

Legal Writing Tip: Get Active in Your Editing; Eliminate Passive Voice

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.

Legal Writing Tip: Don’t Be Lame

When finishing up a piece of writing, whether it’s a document to be filed with the court or even a short e-mail to a client, consult a master editing checklist to ensure you don’t have…

Legal Writing Tip: Avoid Legal Clichés

Clichés in writing extend far beyond stories that begin, “It was a dark and stormy night.” Legal writing, too, is often loaded with overused phrases that have lost their oomph,…

Legal Writing Tip: Tackling Problematic Words

Here’s more on the ever-popular topic of easily confused words. Email me your own problematic pairs – they could end up in a future column. Preventative, Preventive Both mean devoted…

Legal Writing Tip: There’s an App for That Too?

Leslie A. Gordon There’s an app for everything these days and writing is no exception. Here are a few that might appeal to legal writers. Index Card www.denvog.com/app/index-card This digital…