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How to Write Effectively

When drafting any document—from a contract to a research memo—always remember: Effective documents are written in a way that the reader can easily read and understand. Here are eight techniques to make your writing as clear, and thus as effective, as possible. Continue reading

Oh, What a Difference Plain English Makes!

Any document you draft—from an email to a settlement agreement—should be written in plain, understandable language. But many attorneys still fall into the trap of using stilted, legalistic language, particularly in contracts and other transactional documents. Compare the following purchase agreement recitals and see what a difference plain English makes. Continue reading

You Should Have a Client File Retention Policy: Here’s a Sample

Attorneys maintain files on their clients’ cases with documents (and sometimes other property) that clients have provided in connection with those cases. These files have to be returned to the client, at a client’s request, when the attorney’s “employment has terminated,” subject to “any protective order or nondisclosure agreement.” Cal Rules of Prof Cond 3–700(D)(1). Given this rule, it’s imperative that attorneys establish an office policy on the retention and disposition (including destruction) of client files, and notify clients of this policy. Continue reading

5 Areas for Questioning an Expert at Deposition

Regardless of an expert’s particular specialty, there are five areas that apply to the questioning of most expert witnesses at deposition. Continue reading

What Expert Attorneys Do During Direct Examination

How the attorney and witness appear to the jury can be as important as the words that are spoken. Here are four tips from expert trial attorneys that will make your direct examination more effective regardless of what you ask the witness. Continue reading

5 Things to Include in Every Estate Plan

So you’ve gathered the client’s data—personal and financial—and know the client’s objectives. What do you do? Here are 5 typical documents you’ll need for the estate plan. Continue reading

3 Keys to Structuring a Contract

Before you draft any of the provisions, you need to consider how you will structure the contract. In a nutshell, think about what to include, how to organize it, and ease of reading. Continue reading

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