Many consider legal writing to be an art form that takes years to master. That may be true, but lawyers and law students alike can improve their legal writing skills faster by focusing on one idea: get to the point.

State your conclusion first

IRAC works for the most part, but CIRAC is a better way of doing it. State your conclusion up front, then lead your audience through your reasoning.

Headings should summarize each section

Someone skimming your brief should be able to read your headings and get your main points. This does not mean each heading needs to be a paragraph. Make it short, sweet, and state your point.

Make every sentence count

Every sentence should serve a purpose. Get rid of filler. Get rid of sentences that make the same point. Make your sentences concise. For example, try and avoid “Therefore, for the reasons stated above, it is clear that BLAH.” Everything before BLAH is useless and unnecessary.

Say it!

Say what you want to say. Do not imply it, do not hint at it, just say it. This can be difficult at times, but it will improve your writing, and make your arguments more persuasive.

Randall Ryder
Randall sues debt collectors that harass consumers, assists consumers with student loan issues, and defends consumers in debt collection lawsuits. He is also an attorney instructor at the University of Minnesota Law School.

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