Learn From The Experts

The Legal Writing Institute

Tips to Make The Writing Process Less Painful

Eight Easy Rules for Persuasive Legal Writing, Shauna Curphey, Medium, Nov. 15, 2017. Start writing with these rules in mind, but don’t be afraid to deviate from time to time. For example, constructing a sentence using the active voice is typically more persuasive, but passive voice construction may be the better choice depending on your goal. Good advice on choosing between active versus passive voice can be found here and here. Purpose and balance is key.

Another example: I can’t “edit as I go” in the early stages of writing like the author does because I get stuck. I get a lot farther by just throwing something on paper to see where it leads. I’ll worry about polish in a later draft. Experiment with different writing processes to find your own personal style and a strategy that works best for you.

Forget legalese. Catch your reader’s attention with sharp and simple writing:

The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing, by Victoria Clayton, The Atlantic, Oct. 26, 2015.

Writing in Plain English, Columbia Law School Writing Center.

Painting With Print

Painting with Print: Incorporating Concepts of Typographic and Layout Design into the Text of Legal Documents, Ruth Anne Robbins, 2 J. Ass’n Legal Writing Directors 109 (2004). Words matter, but so does the way they appear on paper or a computer screen. Font, line-spacing, and white-space all play a role in how a reader receives the point you are trying to make. Who knew!?!