The Secret to Better Legal Writing

Do you want to know the secret to making any legal writing stronger? Check out this video with specific tips for improving your next legal brief.

CEB has great On Demand programs to help you improve your legal writing, including Smith on Legal Writing and Myron Moskovitz on Winning Appeals and Writs. Check out these and all other CEB programs at ceb.com.

Related CEB blog posts:

© The Regents of the University of California, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

7 Ways to Get Sexism Out of Your Writing

Whether you are drafting a contract or a brief, be conscious of and avoid sexist language. Sexist language can be distracting and/or offending, and may even turn off your reader to your content altogether. Continue reading

A Brief Browse on Briefs: Writing Tips from a Judge (part 3)

Here are the remaining 5 tips from Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division 6.  In A Brief Browse on Briefs: Writing Tips from a Judge (part 1) and part 2, we gave the first 10 of 15 writing tips from the judge . Continue reading

A Brief Browse on Briefs: Writing Tips from a Judge (part 2)

Last week, in A Brief Browse on Briefs: Writing Tips from a Judge (part 1), we gave the first of 5 of 15 writing tips from Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division 6. Here comes — you guessed it — 5 more writing tips gleaned from the judge’s years of experience and reading so many briefs. Continue reading

A Brief Browse on Briefs: Writing Tips from a Judge (part 1)

Writing briefs — indeed, writing generally — is an area in which most attorneys can use help or at least a refresher. In a recent case (.pdf), some attorneys learned this the hard way when the  judge called their grammatical errors “so egregious and obvious that an average fourth grader would have avoided most of them.” Those attorneys could have used the following brief-writing principles excerpted from an article written for CEB by Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of the Second District Court of Appeal, Division 6.  Continue reading

13 Tips for Creating a Clear Train of Thought

One of the essential qualities of all legal writing, clarity, is created by a clear train of thought. No matter how clear your sentences are, readers will not feel that they add up to a clear message unless they can see how the sentences hang together. It is your job as a writer to bring the reader along with you on your train of thought. Continue reading

Make It Clear to the Judge

Too many lawyers write in a style not persuasive to a busy judge. We learned this unpersuasive style in college and law school — ­ it’s called the academic style. Academic style is marked by mind-numbing details, bloated sentences, and meandering paragraphs. Exactly what you don’t want when writing for a judge. Continue reading

Six Tips to Writing A More Persuasive Brief

Persuasive sentences make for a persuasive brief. The following six tips will allow your readers to easily sail through your briefs as you persuade them along the way. Continue reading

Writing for the Online Reader

As more courts are requiring or permitting electronic filing (see Cal Rules of Ct 8.212(c)(2)), briefs will be increasingly read online. The ABA Journal reports that even Supreme Court Justices Kagan and Scalia are using electronic readers to read briefs on the go. Because reading documents online differs in some significant ways from reading hard copies, you need to draft your briefs with these differences in mind. Continue reading

5 More Creative Writing Techniques for Your Legal Briefs: Drafting a Story

This post is adapted from an article written for CEB by attorney Mary-Christine (“M.C.”) Sungaila.

Using basic storytelling principles from creative writing can inform and improve legal writing. In a recent blog post, we discussed building a brief like building a story, from the characters to the language. In this post, we focus more on drafting the brief, using five more techniques from creative writing.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: