Lawyering Skills

We have suggestions regarding legal writing, client communication, continuing legal education, and more. You will also want to review our posts on legal ethics, practice management, and legal marketing.

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Episode #44: Typography for Lawyers, with Matthew Butterick

Why should you care about typography? That’s like asking why you should practice for an oral argument or wear a tie to court. If you aren’t already using Matthew Butterick’s typography guide for lawyers, you’ll snap up a copy after you listen to this podcast. Crowdfunding Lawsuits Crowdfunding is all the rage, these days, and […]


What’s Equivalent to a Handwriting Expert for E-Signatures?

I think it is a lot harder to effectively forge someone's signature with a pen than it is to access someone else's email account using their computer.


Proper Deposition Objections

Whether you are defending (or taking) your first or your hundredth deposition, you must be ready to handle objections. That means knowing which objections are proper and which are not. Once you know, you can keep the deposition proceeding smoothly — and avoid embarrassing yourself.

make writing great again

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.


Practical Advice for Taking Better Notes

Establish a system, make a template, and convince yourself that taking good notes is important enough to do every time.


10 Takeaways from Typography for Lawyers

Matthew Butterick's Typography for Lawyers is a book about legal typography that every person serious about good legal writing should own.


Protect Clients from Irrational Judges, Juries, and Themselves

You cannot prevent the fallible human mind from influencing the outcomes of your matters. But you can make sure that you protect your clients.


Podcast #38: Brian Tannebaum’s Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering (Replay)

Brian Tannebaum’s book, The Practice: Brutal Truths About Lawyers and Lawyering is a collection of tough-love letters to the new generation of lawyers.


Poverty, Priorities, and Clients

When you represent impoverished clients, you need to think differently about your role and their priorities.

Steve Martin

Want To Destroy Your Case? Throw In The Kitchen Sink.

Before we were even lawyers, law school trained us to find the most creative arguments possible, and to never leave one out. That’s how we passed our Torts exam—we identified 18 causes of action in a simple slip-and-fall hypothetical. But now we’re in the real world of law practice. The Stakes Are High If your […]


How to Use Character Judgments to Win Arguments

There’s no getting around moral judgments. We all make judgments; juries are no exception. Trial consultant Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm describes how this works: …the ability to identify good people matters far more than the ability to identify good acts….[W]e often mix our views of consequences with our views of character. Even harmless actions are more likely to be worthy […]


How To Lose Your Case

I didn’t realize that attorneys would prefer to lose, not win, their case. But if your goal is losing, this article is for you. Be sure to incorporate these ideas from my law clerk friends into your motions and briefs — if you want to lose your case.


This Is What Happens When Lawyers Try To Be Funny

Attempts at humor usually fall flat. —Guide for Counsel in Cases to Be Argued Before the Supreme Court of the United States, Part II, pg. 10 (October Term 2014). So says the highest court in the land, but it hasn’t stopped lawyers from trying to be funny. This is what happens when they fail. Knock-Knock […]


How Cross-Examination Bullying Can Wreck Your Case

When a lot of lawyers think of cross-examination, they think of a fight-to-the-death cage match between the lawyer and the witness. They think of scenes like these from prosecutor Juan Martinez’s cross-examination of Jodi Arias: Those of you who don’t want to do cross-examination like this can breathe easy—there’s a better way. You’ve guessed it; […]

Justices of the Peace, Thomas Ryan, William Young and Frank Davis sit on the bench at the Drouin Courthouse,Victoria

Lawyers Whose Direct Examinations Sound Like James Joyce Novels

Direct examination is one of the most important parts of trial. It is your vehicle for establishing the key facts in your case, laying the foundation for your evidence, and connecting with a jury. An effective direct examination doesn’t happen by accident. As Gerry Spence notes, it must be part of a bigger narrative: If […]