Top 11 Things That Will Make You A Better Legal Writer

Legal writing is one of the most difficult types of writing there is. It requires a lawyer to write in a very specific manner, and that style has to be evident throughout their work so that it’s clear they’re qualified to practice law. If you’re looking to improve your legal writing skills, here are eleven things that will make you better at them:

Write Like the Best Legal Writers Part 1 of 2 – YouTube
1. Master the art of concise legal writing.
2. Understand your target audience and tailor your content.
3. Use clear and logical structure in your legal documents.
4. Embrace plain language to enhance readability.
5. Proofread meticulously to eliminate errors.
6. Develop persuasive writing techniques.
7. Incorporate storytelling elements for impact.
8. Utilize legal research effectively.
9. Emphasize accuracy and precision in your writing.
10. Collaborate and seek feedback from peers.
11. Stay updated on legal writing trends and developments.

Figure Out What You Want To Say

Know your audience. If you don’t know who will be reading your writing, it’s unlikely that they will read it.

Know your purpose and argument. The purpose of legal writing is not to win an award for the most beautiful sentences; it’s to achieve a goal (i.e., persuade someone or something). 

In addition, knowing what you’re trying to say upfront before starting helps focus on what matters most in each paragraph and keeps you from rambling on about irrelevant topics to fill space.

Know your evidence and how it relates to those purposes and arguments. 

Before starting work on a piece of writing, think about what facts or data will support its conclusions and whether these sources are reliable enough for others’ trustworthiness later down the line if needed as proof that those conclusions are true beyond reasonable doubt (or whatever standard applies).

If you’re new to legal writing, don’t worry! Our guide on Legal Writing 101: A Guide to Getting Started provides essential tips and techniques to help you embark on your legal writing journey with confidence.

Write Quickly

A timer is your best friend. Set it for 60 minutes (or whatever period you’re comfortable with), then write without stopping or getting distracted by anything else in the world until the timer goes off.

Use a word processor instead of pen and paper.

This can be helpful because you won’t have to worry about making mistakes or rewriting lines if you don’t like how they sound/looked when written down on paper. 

The only downside is that sometimes it’s easy to get distracted by things like grammar checkers, which are especially problematic if they’re built into your word processor! If this happens to you, try switching over to Google Docs so that there aren’t any built-in features distracting from what should matter in your writing!

Write in a distraction-free environment as often as possible (and definitely at least once per day). Distractions are everywhere these days from cell phones ringing off the hook while someone tries calling their mother while also trying to figure out what kind of cake would best suit their needs after having won some big award at work but only one thing matters: writing! 

If there are distractions around us, we may find ourselves unable to focus properly on our task at hand; therefore we must find ways around them so that we do not become distracted ourselves! 

For example: if someone were crying outside my window right now about how much money she lost gambling last night (which happened because she wanted nothing more than buying me flowers but knew herself better than anyone else ever could).

I wouldn’t be able to remind myself why I’m sitting here writing instead of looking out my window so I could maybe offer her some advice or comfort…thoughts like those make no sense because thinking about something else while working doesn’t help anyone

Use Short Sentences And Basic Words

  • Use short sentences and simple words.
  • Use active voice.

Simplicity is key when it comes to conveying your message in writing. People are busy, and they don’t want to read a bunch of long-winded sentences that take forever to get their point across, so keep your sentences short and sweet. 

Active voice means that you use the subject of the sentence as the agent performing the action, rather than using passive voice (for example, “The cat was eaten by a dog” vs. “A dog ate the cat”). 

Active voice allows for greater clarity because it emphasizes who/what is doing something rather than what is being done to someone or something else; however, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid using passive tense altogether it just means that you should use it sparingly and carefully so as not too obscure meaning or harm clarity unnecessarily

Crafting a compelling legal memorandum requires precision and clarity. Learn how to effectively structure and present your arguments by following the guidelines in How to Write a Legal Memorandum for a stronger case.

Use Headings, Lists, And Spreads

Think of headings, lists, and spreads as your best friends. They’re the ones who will help you get through the day. They are there to support you when times are tough, they’ll cry with you when things don’t go your way and they’ll even let you borrow their pen if yours runs out of ink!

Headings help readers locate information quickly in a document. They also give your writing some flow, making it easy for your reader to follow what’s going on in the document without being too distracted by formatting changes that could otherwise make reading a chore rather than an enjoyable experience.

Lists are important because they allow readers to easily understand what is happening in a sentence or paragraph by breaking it down into small pieces that make sense together—and which can be read individually without having any idea about what comes before or after those parts of text!

Get Rid Of Clutter

We’ll start with the obvious: clutter is a collection of words that don’t add to the meaning of a sentence. For example, “In conclusion, it can be said that…” adds nothing to the reader’s understanding of what you’re trying to say. 

Clutter can also be a symptom of a bad sentence or paragraph for example, if you’ve written something like “the plaintiff raised several points in support of its position,” then you shouldn’t just delete “several points” because it isn’t adding anything meaningful; 

Instead, try rewriting your sentence as “the plaintiff argued that its position was supported by [list all relevant arguments].”

Clutter can even be present at an organizational level: if your document reads like an unstructured list or random notes rather than an organized argument (or vice versa), then consider whether there are places where you need more structure or organization throughout your writing.

Even the best legal content can benefit from expert copyediting. Discover the nuances of refining your legal writing in our comprehensive guide: Legal Writing: A Guide to Copyediting for Lawyers, ensuring your documents are polished and impactful.

Make it Readable

The goal of any good legal writing is to make the reader understand your point and get on with their day. No one wants to spend time reading something difficult to follow or uninteresting in its content. That’s why you should keep your sentences short, use simple words, and make sure that what you’re saying is interesting and relevant (more on these later).

The best way to achieve this is by using the active voice over the passive voice whenever possible. 

The active voice is much more engaging than the passive: “Jane Doe was bitten by a dog” vs “A dog bit Jane Doe.” You’ll find yourself using fewer words when working in the active voice as well: “Jane Doe was bitten by a dog” vs “It was determined that Jane Doe had been bitten by a dog.

By keeping things short, interesting, and easy for people who aren’t lawyers themselves (which includes most people) you’ll be able to write accessible documents that are easier for everyone involved!

Make It Understandable

Write in a way that is easy to understand. Use short sentences, active verbs, and simple words. Make sure the sentence structure is logical and clear; don’t confuse your readers by mixing up tenses or parts of speech.

Write short paragraphs so that people can easily find their place on the page when reading a document for the first time. Write short words whenever possible–people will have no problem understanding them!

Striving to become a better legal writer? Our article on the Top 11 Things That Will Make You a Better Legal Writer outlines essential strategies and practices to enhance your legal writing skills and stand out in the field.

Make It Concise

When you write, you should be concise. Clarity is key and you don’t want your reader to have to work too hard to understand what you’re trying to say. Here are some tips that will help:

  • Avoid wordiness and redundancy
  • Use the active voice
  • Use short sentences
  • Use the Oxford comma (and other punctuation marks) properly

Make liberal use of a thesaurus so that you can find more accurate synonyms for words that don’t fit your message as well as possible but still convey meaning clearly. For example, “deliver” could be replaced with “transmit” or even better “transport.

You can also lookup phrases like these online or in Google Translate if needed! When possible try using contractions such as “I’m” instead of “I am,” which makes things sound less formal while still being clear enough so people won’t mistake it for something else entirely either…

Make It Logical

Logic is the structure of an argument. When you’re writing, several things can go wrong with a logical structure.

Circular reasoning: A circular argument is one in which the conclusion is supported by the premise or vice versa. This type of logic might seem harmless, but it’s a big no-no in law because it makes your argument less persuasive and more confusing (and possibly even incorrect). 

In legal writing, as with most writing, you need to be as clear as possible so readers can understand what you’re saying without having to puzzle over it too much.

Fallacies: Fallacies are errors made when a person doesn’t accept something that should be accepted or rejects something that should be rejected based on poor logic or faulty reasoning. 

Legal writing abounds with fallacious arguments, especially ones based on false dichotomies (two options presented as mutually exclusive when they’re not) and slippery slopes (a claim that one thing will lead inevitably to another thing). 

For example: “If we allow dogs at restaurants then we’ll have to allow cats next; soon there will be rats everywhere!” That’s an example of a slippery slope fallacy because there aren’t any valid reasons why allowing dogs would automatically lead us down said slope it’s just someone jumping from point A (allowing dogs) straight over into B (allowing rats).

Make It Compelling

To make something compelling, you need to make it interesting. You must make it relevant to the reader, the situation, and the audience. You need to make sure that your writing is relevant to the purpose of what you’re trying to achieve with your document. 

And finally, you have to be able to convey this information concisely and succinctly while still being able to speak with authority on the topic at hand (which brings us back full circle back around again).


If you’ve been asking yourself these questions, then you are in the right place.

The best way to write a legal document is to have a clear understanding of what your client needs and be able to find the information that supports those needs. The following tips will help you do just that:

Use plain language – Your writing should be easy for anyone who reads English (or whatever language) to understand. Avoid using jargon or confusing terms unless there’s no other option. Even if what you’re trying to say is straightforward, make sure it’s not unnecessarily complicated by using unnecessarily long sentences or words that are too specific or obscure.

Avoid ambiguous pronouns – Avoiding ambiguous pronouns will not only make your writing clearer but also more persuasive because it shows readers how confident in its case the writer is (and they’ll like that). 

If there are any chance readers might not know who “he” refers back up earlier paragraphs, replace him with some other noun person/people/individuals instead so as not to leave him hanging.

Use lists whenever possible – Lists help break up blocks of text while still providing information clearly and efficiently at once, which makes them an excellent tool when it comes time to explain something complex like estate planning agreements!

Accessing valuable resources for improving your legal writing doesn’t have to come at a cost. Explore our compilation of free legal writing guides to gain insights and techniques that will elevate your proficiency in legal writing without spending a dime.


There you have the top 11 things that will make you a better legal writer. We hope you found this article helpful and informative. We know there are so many other things we could have included as well, but we wanted to keep these tips simple and easy to follow.

Further Reading

Legal Writing Tips for Lawyers: Explore this article for insightful tips and techniques to enhance your legal writing skills, helping you communicate effectively and persuasively in the legal field.

Designing Your Way to Better Legal Writing: Discover how thoughtful design choices can complement your legal writing, making your content more engaging and accessible to your audience.

How to Improve Legal Writing Skills: If you’re looking to refine your legal writing skills, this resource offers practical advice and strategies to help you become a more effective communicator in the legal profession.

And here’s the “FAQs” section:


How can I improve my legal writing skills?

Improving your legal writing skills involves practicing clear and concise communication, familiarizing yourself with legal terminology, and seeking feedback from peers or mentors.

What role does design play in legal writing?

Design can enhance the readability of legal documents. Thoughtful formatting, headings, and visual elements can make complex content more approachable for readers.

Are there any online resources for legal writing tips?

Yes, there are various online platforms that offer valuable insights and tips for enhancing legal writing, such as blogs, articles, and career development websites.

How do I effectively communicate legal concepts?

To effectively communicate legal concepts, break down complex ideas into simpler terms, provide clear examples, and use headings and subheadings to structure your content.

What are some common mistakes to avoid in legal writing?

Common mistakes include using overly complex language, lack of organization, and failing to proofread. Clear and concise writing with proper grammar is essential in legal documents.