Legal Writing Tips

    Derek Byrd Lawyers are often judged not only by their oratory and interaction skills in the courtroom, but also on their writing capabilities.  Someone’s legal writing style differs due to a wide range of circumstances, such as the size of the firm they work for and the amount of resources offered, as well as the magnitude of the case and its specific requirements, which differ case by case. Bryan A. Garner has an extensive career as a lawyer, guest speaker and writer. He is well known for his LawProse CLE seminars that are available in your city by popular demand. During his litigation career Garner has come across some helpful guidelines to keep in mind for a more productive work flow.

    1. Understand your Client’s Needs
    When someone has been practicing a specific area of law for a long period of time, they might think that they have seen it all and most cases might start to look similar. Garner explains that its very important for litigators to truly understand their client’s situation and needs. During the interview session take good notes and come prepared with your own questions. A thorough briefing session is necessary in order to compose an all encompassing memo and case abstract.

    2. Use all Available Resources
    Today’s technology has made it very easy for attorneys to solely rely on online resources for their research. Publications such as  Corpus Juris Secundum and
    American Jurisprudence
    are obvious sources of knowledge, however they are still overlooked by many attorneys. Google books is also an option for those who want to pull from a wide and diverse variety of law journals, cases and books from all over the world.

    3. Grammar and Spelling
    This may be an easy one, but is overlooked by a lot of lawyers. Invest in a dictionary and be careful with your writing. If you turn in work that has a lot of grammatical errors, judges might think that you carry that type of carelessness in other areas of your job.

    4. Find a Mentor
    Don’t underestimate the power of mentors. This is a great way to have a pair of fresh eyes that can look over your work and give you some constructive criticism. Identify the great writers within your firm and close networking circles and reach out to them for help and some inspiration.

    If you are a fan of these simple tips mentioned above, Garner  has a wide variety of legal books that offer more helpful tips on legal writing and courtroom etiquette.