7 Ways To Improve Your Legal Writing Skills

Every word you write ought to be tailored to the desires of the reader. Documents that embody the identical studies and message may vary greatly in content material and tone primarily based on the file’s intended audience. For example, a short submitted to the court docket ought to suggest and convince. A memorandum to a patron must analyze the issues, record the state of the regulation, and advise the right path of movement. Always maintain your audience in mind while crafting any piece of writing.

Organize Your Writing

Organization is the key to a success criminal writing. Create a roadmap to your writing through using visible clues to guide the reader. Introduce your challenge in an introductory paragraph, use transitional phrases (“furthermore,” “but,” “similarly,” etc.) between each paragraph, introduce each paragraph with a subject sentence, and use headings and subheadings to break up blocks of textual content. Limit each paragraph to 1 subject matter, and sum up your message with a concluding sentence or paragraph. Organizational shape guides the reader through your text and promotes readability.

Ditch The Legalese

Legalese — specialised felony phrases and jargon — could make your writing abstract, stilted, and archaic. Examples of legalese encompass words consisting of aforementioned, herewith, heretofore, and wherein. Ditch useless legalese and other jargon in desire of the clear and simple. To keep away from legalese and sell readability, try analyzing your sentence to a colleague or substituting summary words with simple, concrete terms. For instance, in place of the use of “I am in receipt of your correspondence,” use “I obtained your letter.” It's clearer and extra succinct.

Be Concise

Every word you write have to contribute on your message. Omit extraneous words, shorten complex sentences, remove redundancies, and hold it simple.

Consider the subsequent sentence:

“Due to the reality that the defendant has now not tried to pay back the money owed to our customer in the quantity of $three,000 it has turn out to be in reality critical that we take suitable legal movement with a view to reap payment of the aforesaid amount.”

A more concise version reads: “Since the defendant has not paid the $three,000 owed our consumer, we are able to report a lawsuit seeking compensation.” The latter sentence conveys the identical information in 18 phrases versus forty four. Omitting pointless words helps clarify the meaning of the sentence and adds effect.

Use Action Words

Action phrases make your legal prose extra powerful, dynamic, and bright. Add punch on your writing with verbs that carry your prose to existence. Here are a few examples:

Weak: The defendant turned into now not honest. Better: The defendant lied.

Weak: The witness quickly came into the court docket. Better: The witness bolted into the courtroom.

Weak: The decide become very indignant. Better: The choose turned into enraged.

Avoid Passive Voice

Passive voice disguises responsibility for an act by using doing away with the subject of the verb. Active voice, alternatively, tells the reader who's doing the appearing and clarifies your message. For instance, as opposed to “the filing cut-off date become neglected,” say “plaintiff’s suggest overlooked the submitting closing date.” Instead of “a crime turned into devoted,” say “the defendant dedicated the crime.”

Edit Ruthlessly

Edit your writing ruthlessly, omitting needless words and rewriting for clarity. Careful proofreading is especially critical in criminal writing. Spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in a report submitted to the courtroom, opposing counsel or a patron can undermine your credibility as a legal expert.