Legal writing is an exclusive niche of the writing world for the legal fraternity. It is technical in nature and has special tricks and tools for writing a coherent and harmonious piece of paper. Lawyers, law students, paralegals, law associates, judges, and even academics need guidelines for legal writing. This article deciphers significant and basic 5 tips to improve your legal writing. Let’s get into it.
Legal Writing; an Umbrella Term
Whenever you see lawyers in movies arguing you see the second half of the truth. Submission of the written documents is the first and most crucial part of the case, which is often omitted in films. It is pertinent to mention that legal writing is an ‘umbrella’ term. It covers drafting plaints, written statements, bench memorandums, case briefings, legal notices, legal emails, law writing, and judgments. All come under the zone of legal drafting.
Different tools are required
The legal nature of documents does not require the same tips as legal writing. Obviously, the nature of tricks a lawyer requires to write a complaint is different from writing a legal notice. This article unveils the tools and techniques that can be opted to improve the effectiveness of legalized script.
5 Tips to Improve your Legal Writing
If you are a fresh graduate or a newbie you need to know about these tips before entering into professional life. But before delving into the details of the legal writing tips make sure that who you are writing for. If a document is for the court or for the Judge you use legalese (legal language). On the other hand, for a client, you should use plain and simple language. Your purpose is to deliver the message or request and not to impress the client.
After solving the previous question move to the following tips to draft the best legal document.
1. Research the Relevant laws
For improved legal writing, you need to be a good researcher. If you are drafting a petition, complaint, or legal notice you don’t need to dive deep into the laws. Just focus on the material facts stated by the client. For drafting arguments, memorandums, briefs, and contracts rely on specific laws.
For instance, if you need to draft an arbitration clause in an agreement you must know the relevant clause of relevant law that provides you the right to go to arbitration. Similarly, to draft a case brief mention the laws relied upon in the original case.
2. Find out the Relevant Case Laws
Freelance legal writing, law school assignments and dissertations, written arguments, and the above-mentioned documents all come under the ambit of legal writing. After the previous tip, you should mainly focus on the case laws relevant to your matter. Case laws are the primary source of law. Moreover, they strengthen the authenticity of your work and enhance its reliability.
Such as, you need to support an argument of your thesis do not just say that it seems morally correct or politically right. In legal writings, you back your stance with the previous judgments of the courts.
If no judgment is available on an issue in your country, you may rely on the decision of a foreign court. This may persuade the reader, client, or judge as the case may be.
3. Manage your Biases
You can never be unbiased but you can try. In legal writings sometimes you need to sound biased and sometimes not. You do this on purpose. For instance, when you write a legal notice or a petition you need to be biased or partial because you represent the interest of your client. On the contrary, if you are writing a case brief or a policy brief stay impartial.
Similarly, when you work in the capacity of a judge and render a judgment, it must not implicate that you are prejudiced.
4. Follow Language Rules in Legal Writing
The following rules of the language must be followed.
- Use plain English language: prefer active voice over passive voice. It conveys the idea easily.
- Use proper punctuation: in legal writing, a comma (,) can change the meaning of the whole sentence. So, you must be careful while using punctuation.
- Comma for a list of items
- A period at the end of the phrase
- Semicolon when need to explain something
- Avoid small brackets to explain something. Prefer a comma to it.
- There must be coherence in the sentence. To develop that you must use conjunctions like but, whereas, etc.
- Avoid redundancy
5. Read the Work of Senior and Competent Lawyers
This is one of the best techniques to improve your legal writing. Renowned and good lawyers follow the best writing patterns. If you get the chance to read their work, look at the design of writing they have followed. If you cannot generate a roadmap then follow someone else’s idea.
Add your Best Tips
Legal writers develop the writing style that works for them. The above-given tips explained the primary sources of law for research and some tips to improve your legal writing. Nevertheless, this does not put a bar on adding new strategies, rules, and approaches for improved legal writing. In addition to following the above rules, you must focus on what has always worked for you.
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