If you’re a lawyer, there are probably a few things that make you cringe. And one of them is probably writing legal briefs. It’s not exactly the most creative thing to do and it can quickly become repetitive if not done correctly. That’s why many lawyers write their legal stuff in Word templates or outsource it altogether.
If this sounds like something that would be helpful for your career and/or business, then keep reading! We’ll discuss what makes good legal briefs stand out from the crowd, and how to learn more about this unique form of writing so you feel confident doing it yourself (and saving money in the process).
plus share some examples of great legal briefs along with tips on how they work their magic (hint: it’s all about clarity).
|– Enhance your legal writing skills for effective communication.|
|– Explore techniques to create clear and authoritative legal documents.|
|– Avoid common legal writing mistakes through careful review.|
|– Understand the elements of expert legal writing for professionalism.|
|– Improve your legal memorandum skills for concise and structured content.|
1. Show Your Readers That You Empathize With Them
You should show your readers that you empathize with them. You can do this by:
Showing that you understand their problem. For example, if you are writing about a car accident, explain the circumstances of the crash and how it has affected the victims’ lives.
Showing that you care. This can be done through compassionate language or a tone of voice that sounds like it comes from someone who cares about others (not just about themselves).
Showing that you are not just trying to sell something or take advantage of people’s misfortune for profit you’re just trying to let them know what’s going on so they can stay informed and make sure they get fair treatment from insurance companies.
Lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are involved in their affairs after an accident occurs during which someone was injured or killed by another person driving under impaired conditions while operating his/her vehicle without having obtained proper training before doing so.
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2. Look Your Target Readers In The Eyes
You want to write in a conversational style.
I’m going to let you in on a secret most lawyers do not have particularly good writing skills. To be fair, though, I’ll add that most of them are also not used to being taught how to write well. But that doesn’t mean they can’t learn! If you ask any lawyer what the biggest problem with legal writing is, they will almost universally tell you it’s “boring.
Of course, there are exceptions: some lawyers have strong writing skills and an interesting perspective on life (and law). But most don’t have either of those things.
The majority aren’t trained writers and their ability to communicate through words is often limited by their education or experience as well as by how much thought they put into every word before hitting “send.”
3. Detail The Benefits Of Getting The Job Done Right
To put it simply, the purpose of this section is to make sure that your reader understands the benefits of getting it right.
What’s in it for them? If you don’t make this clear, your readers won’t be convinced that it matters. Why does getting this job done right matter to them? What’s their motivation? How will they benefit from doing what you’re asking them to do?
Why is it important? Make clear why following through on this request is vital and why failure would result in serious consequences (including losing a lot of money or time).
What does it mean for them if they get this done wrong or fail to follow through on what was requested by someone else who knows better than they do? Just imagine how happy people around you would be if all written communication was as effective as possible!
You’d also save yourself some trouble by putting things into writing instead of trying to explain something verbally over and over again!
Crafting good legal writing involves understanding the 12 essential elements that contribute to clarity and precision. These elements guide legal professionals in conveying complex information effectively.
4. Focus On What’s At Stake For Your Readers
The next step is to focus on what’s at stake for your readers. This can be as specific as “I’m going to advise my client on how to avoid a lawsuit,” or as broad as “I want my writing to influence the way people view lawyers.
Once you’ve identified this goal, write down every single benefit that comes with achieving it. How will they save time? Money? Get more clients? Feel better about themselves?
Once you’ve got those benefits in mind, ask yourself: What do they stand to lose if they don’t get this information? What will happen if they don’t change their behavior based on the advice I give them here? What are some likely consequences of not taking action now (or later)?
5. Break Down Complicated Projects Into Bite-Sized Pieces
This is a great way to turn a project that’s intimidating into something you can handle. It also helps make sure your writing makes sense and it’s easy for people to understand you.
For example, if you have to write an article about how a new law affects small businesses, first break down the article into sections:
What is this law about? (In this case, it would be about how owners of small businesses can’t get tax deductions for personal expenses.)
How does this affect me? (In this case, if you own a business but don’t have any employees or pay yourself wages, then no matter what kind of business you run from selling tacos out of your truck at farmers’ markets to owning hedge funds you won’t be able to take most tax deductions.)
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6. the Riff Off Your Audience’s Feelings And Experiences
A good way to do this is to use what lawyers call the second person point of view, which means addressing your readers directly using words like you and your.
You can also incorporate more powerful language that uses the word yourselves. Using these words creates an emotional connection with the reader because it makes him or her feel as though you’re speaking directly to him or her and no one else.
When using these pronouns in your writing, make sure they are written correctly: “you” should be capitalized; “yourself” should not be capitalized (unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence); and “yourselves” should always be followed by an apostrophe s: Yours truly.
7. Sprinkle In Personal Stories When Appropriate
When you’re writing about personal, legal, or financial issues, personal stories can help your readers relate to you, understand the topic and remember your message.
If you have a client who has experienced a problem that illustrates a point you’d like to make in an article or blog post, consider sharing their story with them. If this is not possible, then write about something that happened to you or someone close to you. For example:
> “I recently had an experience where I didn’t know how much money should be put aside for taxes when making my financial plan.”
> “My mother died when she was 45 years old after she was diagnosed with cancer.”
> “My son was in a car accident last year while driving home from work.”
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8. Give People Concrete Examples Of How To Do Something
- Give people concrete examples of how to do something
This is a great way to help your readers understand the point you’re trying to make, especially if you can use an example that’s relevant to them. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using analogies: for instance, imagine that you’re explaining how to build a fence using wood and nails.
You could say something like this: “You need two pieces of lumber: one long piece which will be used as the base and another shorter piece which will be used as the top.” This has been very effective in my writing.
9. Help Readers See What Success Looks Like In Their Jobs
You can use stories of personal success to help your readers see what success looks like in their jobs. You can also show how that kind of success will lead to other kinds of success in their personal lives.
For example, you might tell a story about how when you were working as a lawyer at a large firm, you were able to create an internal procedure for fighting sexual harassment cases that were so effective it got picked up and used by many other firms across the country.
That helped us win more cases, which made us money, but most importantly it also helped people who had been sexually harassed get justice.
It made me feel good knowing that what I did could help people who had been mistreated on the job because they were women or minorities or gay men or lesbians in short: everyone deserves an equal opportunity at work without being harassed!
10. Be as clear and concise as possible
- Be as clear and concise as possible. Use simple language and avoid jargon.
- Short sentences are better than long ones; short paragraphs are better than long ones; bullet points break things up nicely.
- Headings and subheadings help create structure, which is good for readers and search engines alike.
- Tables can “break up” text that’s too dense or wordy (and tables are great for conveying information visually). The same goes for graphics: they’re visual aids that provide a useful alternative to paragraphs of text, so use them judiciously!
11. Welcome Feedback And Act On It
If you want to learn how to write legal stuff, one of the best ways is to make sure that you welcome feedback and act on it.
Now, I know some people are defensive about their work and don’t like criticism, but it’s important not to take things personally when someone gives you feedback.
Remember that your goal isn’t just for them to say “this is good.” Your goal is also for them to say “this part could be improved” or “here’s how we might improve this part.
If they give you advice that doesn’t seem right at first blush (like “you should change this”), don’t dismiss it out of hand; instead, try considering whether there might be something valuable in what they’re saying, and then try implementing those suggestions! It helps if they’re specific as well (“I think this sentence could be clearer”) rather than vague (“You need more clarity”).
When it comes to writing a legal memorandum, a structured approach and clear communication are key. Dive into our guide to improve your memorandum writing skills and enhance your legal practice.
12. Instead of “write,” try “communicate” or “talk” or “explain”
Use a conversational tone. Don’t use the passive voice and don’t be afraid to show your personality in the writing you do.
Use active verbs instead of passive verbs. It can be easy to slip into the habit of using a passive verb, but it’s important to actively choose what you’re trying to say by going with an active verb instead. For example, “By sunset, we had eaten dinner” is a lot better than “Dinner was eaten by us at sunset.”
Active verbs are easier for readers to follow and keep things moving along quickly.
Stick with short sentences and simple words whenever possible — both will help keep things clear and easy to follow for your reader!
Legal writing is not as complicated as it seems. All you need to know are the basics, and then you can start writing well! It’s not that hard and we hope that our little guide has helped you get started on your way to becoming a legal writer extraordinaire (or at least not a terrible one).
Here are some additional resources to enhance your legal writing skills:
Improving Legal Writing Skills: Discover actionable tips and techniques for enhancing your legal writing proficiency.
Writing Good Legal Advice: Learn how to create effective legal advice documents that meet professional standards.
Legal Writing Tips for Lawyers: Explore valuable insights and strategies to improve your legal writing and communication.
How can I enhance my legal writing skills?
Improving your legal writing skills involves practicing clear and concise expression, understanding legal terminology, and structuring arguments logically.
What are some key elements of effective legal writing?
Effective legal writing involves precision, proper use of citations, organized structure, and adherence to relevant legal principles.
Are there resources to help me write good legal advice?
Yes, you can find resources like articles and guides that provide practical advice on how to craft effective legal advice documents.
What role does clarity play in legal writing?
Clarity is crucial in legal writing to ensure that complex legal concepts are easily understood by both legal professionals and laypersons.
How can legal writing tips benefit my career as a lawyer?
Improving your legal writing skills can enhance your ability to communicate persuasively, write convincing arguments, and provide accurate advice to clients, ultimately strengthening your legal career.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.