A contract shouldn’t require a Latin-English dictionary to understand it! In fact, there’s generally no reason to use Latin terms or formal legal language (legalese) at all. Use plain English to be sure the contracts and other documents you’re writing are in a language that the parties can read and understand. Here’s a chart to keep handy next time you’re drafting a legal document (or to discreetly slip to a legalese-laden colleague). Continue reading
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 and McGinty on Legal Writing and Myron Moskovitz on Winning Appeals and Writs. Check out these and all other CEB programs at ceb.com.
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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
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
This post is adapted from an article written for CEB by attorney Mary-Christine (“M.C.”) Sungaila.
Good writing—whatever its form—is good storytelling. Although legal briefs have a different purpose than fiction or creative nonfiction, basic storytelling principles from creative writing can inform and improve legal writing. Here are the first five of ten techniques from creative writing that can greatly improve your briefs.