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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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 […]

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Expert Witnesses Who Think Money Probably Grows On Trees Or Something

How come so many expert witnesses don’t know or care how much they make? Do you know anyone who has no idea how much they make? The jury doesn’t know anyone like that either. Featured image: “green plant on gold coins” from Shutterstock.

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How To Be Better At Cross-Examination Than The Lawyer From Serial

Sometimes the best way to figure out how to do something is to first figure out how not to do it. If you want to learn how to cross-examine, why not start with listening (ending at 30:30) to how Cristina Gutierrez cross-examined Jay Wilds in the Adnan Syed case (the topic of last year’s Serial […]

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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.

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Irving Younger’s 10 Commandments Of Cross Examination

If you will put these suggestions to use, if you will cross-examine in accordance with these suggestions, I can virtually guarantee — not that you will be a brilliant cross-examiner, but that you won’t be ashamed of yourself, you won’t be a buffoon in that courtroom. Whenever you do not comply with them, you will […]

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Could a Video Game Be a CLE?

Video games are fun. Continuing Legal Education, however, is not. What if there was a way to combine the two into something even mildly interesting, instead of just playing Candy Crush on your phone during a CLE lecture. A company called TransMedia Inc. developed a game several years ago called “Objection!” From the game’s description: The murder […]

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How to Have a Collegial Relationship with Opposing Counsel

It's easy to feel sorry for lawyers whose only claim to fame is their reputation for being difficult. But you have a reputation too, and a reputation for getting along is a valuable commodity. Continue to work at it, and you will see the benefits.

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12 Terrible CLE Audience Members (and How to Handle Them)

CLEs sometimes play host to strange audiences, especially as “reporting deadlines” loom. You may have lawyers in attendance who aren’t all that interested in what you have to say. Here's how to deal with the worst of them.

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How to Deliver Bad News to Clients

There is never a good time and it is never easy to deliver bad news to clients. Unless you have a 100% success rate, at some point you will be the bearer of bad news. Here are some tips for making a bumpy ride just a bit smoother.

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How Many Requests for Admissions Are Too Many? 2,265?

That’s from a memorandum (pdf) in Ashker v. Schwarzenegger, and it seems like the the defendants just might have a point here: The plaintiffs are apparently members of the Aryan Brotherhood, a white supremacist gang, and file quite a lot of lawsuits.

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How to Avoid Spam Emails

Spam is difficult to get rid of once you’re on the spammers’ lists. However, it is relatively easy to avoid in the first place.

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You Have a Meeting and Your Car Won’t Start. Now What?

There is no other feeling quite like the anxiety that arises when a turn of the ignition results in the silence. Here is what you need to do to make sure you get to your appointment on time.

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How to Take a Deposition Like a Pro

Even if you are just starting to take depositions, you can become a pro by being well-prepared and focused.

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Stop Folding Under Pressure: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

It’s happened to every lawyer. You think of the perfect follow-up question after the deposition ends. Often, we perform well below our best in high-stakes situations, despite hours of dedicated preparation. Here is what’s going on in your brain and what you can do to perform closer to your potential, even when the pressure is on.

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Write Better Legal Documents with an Editing Checklist

Your first draft is never perfect. Better your writing and arguments with an editorial checklist.