An Observance of Independence Day: Tips to Improve Your Skills as a Legal Writer
For a bit of historical trivia in observance of the Fourth of July, as you'll find (according to scholars) from reading through the chronology of events surrounding the Declaration of Independence, today is the actual day Congress declared independence, whereas the document itself wasn't signed until a month later and the Fourth of July is when Congress adopted it.
Having said that, in the spirit of the Fourth of July, if you're a legal writer and seeking to improve your skills in this area, Sally Kane has seven tips for you:
"Although mastering legal writing skills takes time and practice, superior writing skills are essential to success...Every word you write should be tailored to the needs of the reader. Documents that embody the same research and message may vary greatly in content and tone based on the document’s intended audience...Always keep your audience in mind when crafting any piece of writing...Organization is the key to successful legal writing. Create a roadmap for your writing by using visual clues to guide the reader...Limit each paragraph to one topic and sum up your message with a concluding sentence or paragraph. Organizational structure guides the reader through your text and promotes readability...Ditch unnecessary legalese and other jargon in favor of the clear and simple. To avoid legalese and promote clarity, try reading your sentence to a colleague or substituting abstract words with simple, concrete terms...Every word you write should contribute to your message. Omit extraneous words, shorten complex sentences, eliminate redundancies and keep it simple...Omitting unnecessary words helps clarify the meaning of the sentence and adds impact...Action words make your legal prose more powerful, dynamic and vivid. Add punch to your writing with verbs that bring your prose to life...Passive voice disguises responsibility for an act by eliminating the subject of the verb. Active voice, on the other hand, tells the reader who is doing the acting and clarifies your message...Edit your writing ruthlessly, omitting unnecessary words and rewriting for clarity. Careful proofreading is particularly important in legal writing."
Leave a Reply.
Writing and editing can be pretty rigorous processes if you want to do them well, but that's what this page is here for. Check out the latest tips here.