Write Better Legal Documents with an Editing Checklist
Your first draft is never perfect. Better your writing and arguments with an editorial checklist.
ClearText: Write with Words People Can Actually Understand
ClearText is a text editor that limits you to the 1,000 most common English words. I thought it would be fun to write this post in ClearText, but I gave up.
Lawyers, Stop Writing (and Saying) These Things Immediately
Wherever lawyers stand on legalese, they should, at least, stand on reason.
8 Best Practices for Law Firm Website Content
To ensure your website copy makes a positive impact on your audience, put the following best practices to use.
Spell-Checkers Won’t Catch These Usage Bungles
Does your spell- and grammar-checker proof your writing and make your usage decisions? Some common usage errors should make you think twice.
Write a Compelling Opening Line for Blog Posts
The opening lines of your blog post are the only thing most readers will see before they decide to stay or go. If it is boring, very few will stick around to find out of you had anything worthwhile to say lower down.
How the Solicitor General’s Style Guide Calls Out Bad Legal Writing
In addition to taking a stand in favor of the "case law" usage, the Guide makes some important recommendations in favor of the active voice, plain language, and more elegant typography.
We Tried to Create the Worst Legal Writing Possible
Legalese is awful. To prove it, Sam Glover, Lisa Needham, and I combined forces to write the worst piece of legal writing we could. Here’s what we came up with: Clarity in Legal Writing: Unattainable Goal or Necessary Component of Effective Advocacy? The issue of clearness and conciseness in writing and preparing legal documents, e.g. court filings, pleadings, […]
Lawyers Who Aren’t Sure How Modern English Works
You don’t have to look far to find legalese in legal writing. Just take the standard closings in affidavits and declarations. Here are three variations used in just one jurisdiction. We can do better. Start by reading Bryan Garner. As Mark Hermann notes, the jury needs to know that you sound like a human being: Remember: Deposition […]
Why Creativity is Important to Good Lawyering
Law is rarely considered a creative profession. Most of us think of creatives as being poets and artists, not rule-following lawyers. But creativity simply means you have the ability to think of new ideas, and that is something a good lawyer does every day. Whether you are interpreting a case in a novel way, trying to grow the pie in a negotiation, or reframing a bad fact, you need to hone your creativity.
Yes, You Can Touch Type on a Tablet!
Typing fast is a critical skill for lawyers, and there is no reason to let an iPad’s touchscreen keyboard slow you down (much).
Three Grammar Rules to Forget (Because They’re Wrong)
Remember those grammar rules you learned back in grade school? It's time to forget them.
Call for Submissions: Lawyerist’s 2nd Annual Short-Fiction Contest
Our short-fiction contest is open to all writers. If you have a story to tell (in 5,000 words or less), we want to read it! Submissions are due on June 1st, and the top two entries will receive cash awards and be published right here on Lawyerist.
How to Turn Lawyers into Better Writers
By and large, lawyers fall into two camps: those who loathe admitting that their writing needs help and, worse, those who do not even realize it. Set aside your ego. It’s time for some introspection and, hopefully, action.
The Enigmatic Em Dash
Don't fear the em dash—it can add energy and much needed variety to your prose.