Top 12 Legal Writing Tips For Students Who Want To Succeed​

Writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone. You just need to practice, practice, and keep practicing. If you want to get good at writing essays and legal briefs, here are some tips for how to do it:

Good Legal Writing Tips for Law Students – YouTube
1. Understand the Audience
2. Prioritize Clarity and Precision
3. Organize Your Content Logically
4. Master Legal Terminology
5. Use Effective Headings and Subheadings
6. Proofread for Errors
7. Balance Conciseness with Completeness
8. Cite Sources Properly
9. Craft Persuasive Arguments
10. Seek Feedback and Revise
11. Be Consistent in Style and Formatting
12. Practice Regularly for Improvement

1. Trust The Reader

Remember that your reader is a smart, capable person who can understand what you are saying if you explain it clearly and simply. This is especially true when you’re writing an essay or research paper, but applies to any type of legal writing. 

If a law student writes in legalese or uses complicated language that only lawyers and judges would understand, they risk alienating their audience and making themselves look foolish.

The reader is not a mind reader, so don’t assume he or she knows what comes next in your argument just because it’s obvious to you (or even your professor). 

The best way to make sure everyone understands what’s going on is by using simple language that everyone understands. Consider how journalists use terms like “theoretical” or “real world” when explaining concepts from their field these words help them explain things clearly without getting bogged down in jargon!

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2. Don’t Fall In Love With Your Writing

If you find yourself falling in love with your writing, it’s time to step back and put things into perspective. You don’t want to fall victim to the “writer’s trap,” where you get too attached to your ideas, words, and sentences.

Indeed, you should never get too attached and that means not even at first glance! As soon as one idea comes into view, another will appear right behind it: more appealing and also more familiar than the previous thought. 

The same goes for words: they come in all shapes and sizes but once written down they can stick around forever; so be careful how many times you use them! 

Paragraphs are easy enough to construct but when combined they become something greater than their parts; therefore when creating paragraphs try not to think too much about what came before.

What might follow because these thoughts could distract from whatever it is that drives you forward at any given point in time (such as when an argument needs defending)?

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3. State The Point

One of the most important legal writing tips is to state your point early.

Know what you want to say. Make sure that you know what you want to say in the piece of writing before starting. This will prevent any unnecessary rambling or extraneous details from getting in the way of your message as well as making it easier for your reader to follow along with what you’re saying because they can see where this is going from the start. 

It also makes it so that when someone reads over something later on and doesn’t understand something clearly, they can go back and figure out where their confusion lies (e.g., “I don’t get why we need all these definitions”).

State things clearly and concisely but not too concisely. A common pitfall for new writers is using too few words when trying to express an idea or concept; however, being concise does not mean being brief or terse at all costs.

Instead, think about ways in which a person could understand exactly what point you are making without having any doubts about it whatsoever; this often involves finding better ways of explaining things than just repeating yourself over again (“this means…”).

4. Keep It Simple

When you write legal documents, you have to be direct and to the point. The most important thing is to use simple words that convey your meaning. If there are any doubts about what you’re writing, then it can be misinterpreted by others who read it later.

Use specific words instead of general ones like “many” or “a few” when describing something in your document; for example, instead of saying “The defendant was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute,” say “

The defendant was arrested for possession of 67 kilograms (148 pounds) of marijuana with intent to distribute it.

This is more precise than using a vague term like “a few kilos” would be because there might be some confusion as to whether 67 kilograms constitutes as only a few kilos.

If this amount counts as many kilos rather than just a couple ounces here and there over time which together may add up into something substantial enough where someone could get arrested over possessing so much at once!

Another tip when writing legal documents: keep sentences short! Make sure each sentence has only one idea in it so that readers aren’t confused about what exactly they’re supposed to understand from each paragraph.

The section before moving onto another part of the text where different ideas are being discussed again etcetera ad infinitum forever until eternity ends forever…or until eternity becomes infinite…either way works great 🙂

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5. Only Use Words And Phrases You Are Familiar With Or Are In Your Vocabulary

The best way to be sure that you are using the right words and phrases is to only use words and phrases that you are familiar with or have in your vocabulary.

This means using words like “the”, “a”, and “of” instead of “this”, “an”, and “that.” It also means avoiding any word or phrase that isn’t in your vocabulary even if it seems like a good idea at first! For example, if you don’t know what ‘irreverently’ means then don’t use it because it will probably make your writing sound clunky.

The best way to avoid this problem is by reading more often so that you can expand your vocabulary beyond basic level courses such as English 101.

6. Take Out The Trash

When it comes to writing, there are a few things you might want to avoid. Filler words like “um” and “ah” are one example; they don’t add anything meaningful to your sentence, and can actually detract from what you’re trying to convey. 

Another poor word choice is using the word “that” when you could simply use “which.” This little trick can help tighten up your sentences and make them flow better. 

Finally, avoid using qualifiers such as “very,” as in: “The very first thing I did after I graduated high school took my first job.” A simple rephrasing will do in this case (e.g., “After graduating from high school.).

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7. Use Short Sentences, Short Paragraphs, And Don’t Get Too Fancy With Descriptions

In addition to the other tips mentioned above, here are a few more tips on how you can improve your writing by making it easier to read:

Use short sentences. Write sentences that are only one or two words long whenever possible.

Avoid overwriting and unnecessary descriptions. Avoid describing things in excessive detail; keep your descriptions short and simple so they don’t distract from the main point of your paragraph or essay. 

If you do need to describe an object or place, try using “this” instead of “that”; this makes your writing sound more professional and polished by avoiding colloquial speech patterns like “that” which tend to not be used in formal documents like legal documents.

Court briefs because they make readers think less about what those writers have said than about what those writers might be trying to say (or perhaps even failing to say).

Avoid passive voice whenever possible! Passive voice makes sentences longer without adding much meantointo them as active voice does (ehem..). Instead of saying that “The case was won by the plaintiff”, write instead “Plaintiff won the case”. 

This makes for shorter paragraphs overall which will make it easier for others who read them later on down the road when re-reading through their work again much easier than having one large chunk of text where everything happens at once in chronological order during just one sentence!

8. Use Active Voice Not Passive Voice

When deciding which voice to use in your writing, you should consider what you’re trying to say and how you’re going to express it.

Passive voice is a vague, indirect way of expressing an idea. It can be useful when telling stories or recounting facts, but for legal writing? Not so much. Active voice is more direct and clear; passive voice tends to be wordy and less readable. For example:

In the active sentence “The defendant broke into the bank,” we know exactly what happened because we see who did it and how they did it (by breaking in). The reader doesn’t have to work as hard with this sentence as they would with the passive version.

Breaking into banks was done by defendants.” The first sentence tells us everything we need to know; the second one leaves us hanging until we get through all those extra words before getting back around again at ‘breaking’ at the very end of an unnecessarily long sentence which is just annoying!

9. Cite To Your Authority, But Don’t Quote It In Its Entirety As A “Proof Of Fact”

This is a mistake that many writers make. They cite the authority, which is great, but they quote it in its entirety. They are citing to show their understanding of what the authority says, but they are not doing so in a way that supports their point or demonstrates an independent thought process on the subject. 

This is exceptionally dull and tedious to read. Instead of quoting an authority at length as proof of fact (which is what most people do), you should explain why you believe what a certain author says and then cite him/her later in your essay when making your argument or bringing up some other point from his/her article or book chapter.

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10. Avoid cliches at all costs

The first step is to avoid overused phrases like “at the end of the day,” which have lost their punch. You also want to avoid phrases that are not specific to your topic, such as being “in a good mood,” since they don’t help you make your point. 

Finally, be sure not to use phrases that are too general or too wordy; for instance, instead of saying “many people believe that,” say “studies show.” When it comes down to it, it’s better not to use cliches at all!

11. Proofread Your Work Three Times (At Least)

Read it aloud: This is the best way to find out whether your writing flows. Is it easy to understand? If so, you’re golden! But if not, then you do have some work ahead of you it’s time to go back and revise the piece until it sounds right.

Get someone else to read it: Getting someone else’s perspective is always helpful when proofreading your writing. Look for common mistakes (such as missing words or repeated words), unclear sentences, passive voice, and grammar mistakes (like “there” instead of “their”).

Look for typos/misspellings: Typos are easy to make when reading over something multiple times in a row so make sure that any spellings or typos are caught before submitting work!

12. Treat Writing As A Conversation With Your Reader

Treat writing as a conversation with your reader. 

To do this, you need to keep your language clear and concise, avoid jargon and acronyms (try to avoid any acronyms at all), be vigilant about using passive voice and clichés, refrain from using contractions, get rid of legal terminology when it’s not necessary and never use abbreviations unless they’re in standard use by all readers.


Hope,bully these tips will help to not only write better, but to feel more confident in your writing. Remember that it is okay if your work isn’t perfect. Everyone makes mistakes when they first start! If you are having trouble with any of these tips, feel free to contact us at our website or reach out via social media (links below) so we can help you out.

Further Reading

Tips for Effective Legal Writing Short Description: Explore practical tips and techniques to enhance your legal writing skills and communicate more effectively in the legal field.

10 Tips from Legal Writing Experts Short Description: Learn from the insights of legal writing experts with these valuable tips to improve your writing and advocacy skills.

Legal Writing Tips for Lawyers Short Description: Discover expert advice on legal writing tailored specifically for lawyers, including strategies to enhance your communication in the legal profession.


What are the key principles of effective legal writing?

Effective legal writing hinges on clarity, precision, and concise expression. It involves organizing ideas logically, using appropriate legal terminology, and providing well-reasoned arguments.

How can I improve the persuasiveness of my legal writing?

To enhance the persuasiveness of your legal writing, focus on crafting compelling arguments backed by solid legal reasoning, evidence, and applicable case law. Employ persuasive language without sacrificing professionalism.

What common mistakes should I avoid in legal writing?

Common mistakes to avoid in legal writing include using overly complex language, neglecting proper citation and attribution, and failing to organize your content logically. Proofreading for grammar and spelling errors is also crucial.

How do I effectively structure a legal document?

An effective legal document typically follows a clear structure, including an introduction, main arguments, supporting evidence, counterarguments, and a conclusion. Each section should be organized and presented in a coherent manner.

Are there resources for learning advanced legal writing techniques?

Certainly! Various resources, such as advanced legal writing courses, books by legal writing experts, and online writing communities, offer opportunities to refine your legal writing skills and explore more sophisticated techniques.